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Section 9

Further reading

You now, hopefully, possess some basic skills that will allow you to survive ad-hoc social forum interpreting in a booth. Now that you know what to do to be ready for a social forum, you may also want to learn about...


On this occasion, we are going to try to work with a speech that is much more difficult or specialised than what we are used to. You will try to cope with the difficulty, speed, accent and terminology of the speech. Some people will find it easier than others, but do not despair and keep on trying! Once you have finished this exercise, you can try finding other difficult speeches on the Internet.

  1. Find a speech similar to this one in your language combination (if you do not know how to find it, go to section 2.2).
  2. Listen to it once. Is it clear enough? Perhaps some parts of the speech are not easy to understand; the sound may be bad, the accent difficult, etc. This is normal. You will probably also be experiencing these difficulties in a social forum and it is good that you are not surprised by it when it does happen.
  3. Summarise/Paraphrase. Imagine you have to tell a friend who doesn't speak your language what this conference is about in a very simple way. Record yourself and try not to make long pauses in your speech. Remember to complete every sentence and not to make anything up. If it is too difficult, try to do it in the same language first.
  4. Listen to your performance and self-evaluate. Note down the difficult vocabulary and ask yourself why you made each mistake. Create a lexicon of the speech.
  5. Try to do it in simultaneous interpreting now. Record yourself. If it is too difficult, try shadowing (repeating in the same language) or paraphrasing (in the same language, in your own words), then try again in simultaneous interpreting. Always record yourself. Listen to your performance and try to identify your problems. Self-evaluate (see previous sections if you don't know how). Ask yourself or your language mate/lecturer/friend how you can improve. What specific steps can you take in order to avoid making the same mistakes the next time? If there is a problem with the sound, change to another speech, but really first try to do it without tricking yourself by saying it is the speaker's fault if you do not understand. What purpose would that serve? Many speakers are terrible, but the interpreter has to learn to cope...
  6. Please share your lexicons with other people who speak the same language(s).
  7. Please repeat this exercise as often as you can, every day if possible, with different speeches.
  8. Remember to send links and speeches to your specific language list for sharing lexicons and speeches (see section 8).

Case Study

Find information about Noam Chomsky. What subjects is he likely to talk about in a Social Forum? To the exercise detailed above with the video of his speech provided below. Be prepared for its complexity.

Video Chomsky
Copyright 2008, de los Autores de los Cursos. Cite/attribute Resource. Section 9. (2009, March 10). Retrieved February 17, 2020, from OCW-USAL Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License