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歐博思

Consecutive translation note taking techniques: where to begin?

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歐博思

I've been  asked by my company to do some consecutive interpreting at a get-together coming up soon. It's not particularly formal, but I'd still rather not make a muck of it. Does anyone have some good recommended resources for getting started in consecutive interpreting, maybe some general things to keep in mind, or particularly some basic symbol-based note taking tips?

 

So far I've looked through:
https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/57477-informal-interpreting-tips/?tab=comments#comment-445788

https://www.chinese-forums.com/blogs/entry/929-consecutive-interpreting-symbols-notetaking/

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歐博思

I started to dig for more info as soon as I was presented with this task. Lo and behold, I was told it will be easy and straightforward. So I may have to double check tomorrow. 😁

 

I've been through university and my shorthand strategy back then could be summed up as "I type really fast." Hoping it'll be a blessing in disguise to start from scratch, building on others' experiences/best-practices if I end up getting into interpretation more permanently.

 

I do have a touchscreen tablet with stylus, so maybe I can combine typing (doesn't seem ideal long-term) with a couple choice symbols, shorthand, and abbreviations drilled over the next few days (indeed only two days  -- meeting on Friday). 

 

Back to practicing. Big thanks for sharing your professional wisdom, Lu.

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Lu
37 minutes ago, 歐博思 said:

Lo and behold, I was told it will be easy and straightforward. So I may have to double check tomorrow.

😂

 

A few more:

- Some people are used to being interpreted, others are not. If you can, explain to the speakers beforehand that you'd like them to pause every few sentences. If a speaker goes on for too long, gently nudge them or get their attention to let them pause so you can interpret. (It's probably possible to nudge without causing a few people to laugh, but I don't often manage.)

- If someone suddenly starts quoting Tang poetry, the way out is 'the speaker just quoted a famous Chinese poem'. Stay calm, pick it up again as soon as you can.

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Tomsima
6 hours ago, Lu said:

If someone suddenly starts quoting Tang poetry, the way out is 'the speaker just quoted a famous Chinese poem'. Stay calm, pick it up again as soon as you can.

this is a pro tip I wish I learnt earlier!

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Moki

Great tips from the others. Since you won't have time to come up with a full set of symbols and shorthand one thing that I recommend is when practicing get in the habit of just writing the first few letters of words instead of scrambling to write the whole thing out. The less you know about what is being said, the more notes you will likely have to take to remember, but that doesn't mean you need to write everything down. For example, if some one says "we are planning to invest in facilities with cutting edge technology, if you aren't familiar with the discussion and its the first time you've heard this it should be enough to write "inv   fac  cut   tech" . If you were familiar with what they were talking about "inv" or "fac" alone would probably be enough to help you remember all of what was just said. For most words I would avoid writing down more than three letters, unless it is the name of someone or something that you have never heard before. 

 

Similarly, there are companies, place names or other proper nouns used that are very familiar to you, don't write the whole thing out. If someone mentions Alibaba, write "A" , if someone mentions the presidents name, write "X",  if Tencent and Twitter are mentioned, "T T" next to each other or above/below one another should be enough in context for you to remember both. This strategy can save you a lot of time for when people mention things that are more challenging to capture in your notes. If you already are in the habit of doing this great, if not, try it out when practicing and remember to stay calm and not rush to jot down things that don't need it. Focus on understanding the discussion/speech instead. There will likely be things that you do need to scramble to take down so save your energy and time for those. 

 

Consecutive interpretation is usually more challenging into your non native language, but the more freely you can express yourself in that language the easier it is. If you need to focus a ton of energy on remember what was said and expressing those ideas it will make the task twice as demanding and stressful. If you are very confident that as long as you understood and remember what was said that you can easily express it in Chinese, then you can focus more of your energy on your notes and memory and the delivery should come easily as long as you have that down. 

 

The last advice I have is not to get too caught up on the details if you are interpreting remarks, or a speech in front of an audience or something like that. There are times where it is better to confirm with the speaker about things you may have misunderstood, but there are certain situations where that would, especially if done multiple times, really interrupt the flow of the event and isn't worth it. In those situations don't sit there worrying or wondering what was said, because that will impact your delivery and likely your composure, making you and the audience uncomfortable. Instead focus on what you did understand and don't hesitate to leave things out and just keep going. If you are certain that it is essential information that the audience present must know, it is worth clarifying, otherwise in my opinion better to interpret smoothly in a way that makes the audience trust you and feel comfortable listening. If it is a small group discussion, it is much easier to interrupt and confirm little details here and there and totally fine to do that. If something comes up in a discussion like that that is essential and you don't seek to clarify it, it will likely end up causing confusion in the interaction anyway resulting in you eventually having to address it. 

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