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  • Writer's pictureNadine Hegmanns

Consecutive interpreting

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

Some of my clients are always curious to take a look at my notepad when I interpret consecutively, wondering what all these doodles could mean.

Today I‘m going to show you how I take notes to help me render the interpretation once the speaker has finished. So here are the first sentences of Joaquin Phoenix’s 2020 Oscar acceptance speech for best actor in „Joker“.

Taking notes is not the same as taking dictation. Instead, I pay attention to the speaker’s words, and then I will jot down a symbol, a name or a number as a memory aid. So, I note the idea, not the word. The skill of note-taking is taught at university and forms an essential part of consecutive interpreting. With every assignment we will adapt and individualise our very own symbols. And that’s all we need, together with the setting and our surroundings during the assignment, to fill in the gaps and recall what has been said.

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