Note-taking In Consecutive Interpreting
The Essential Part Of A Consecutive Interpreter's Work Is Done In The Activities Already Described: Understanding, analysis And Re-expression.
Notes Are An Aid To Enhance The Work Done On The Basis Of These Three Components, not Being An End In Themselves, but A Means To An End.
The Main Use Of Notes Is To Relieve Memory. Although An Interpreter May Have Understood The Main Ideas Of A Speech, it Is Almost Impossible For Him/her To Recall All The Elements Of A Five-minute Speech, particularly If It Contains Numbers, names, lists, since Such Elements Cannot Be Recalled On The Basis Of Analysis And Logic.
Moreover, through Notes The Interpreter Can Reproduce The Content And Structure Of A Speech, stressing The Main Ideas, the Secondary Elements And The Relations Among Them.
Reflecting The Speech Structure In Notes Forces The Interpreter To Make An Immediate, oral Analysis Of What He/she Hears, and Then, when Reproducing The Speech, the Written Structure Can Be Used As A Path To Verbalize The Speech Again.
Note-taking Is, among Other Things, a Mechanical Exercise, and A Number Of Practical Suggestions Are Needed.
Interpreters Must Take Notes Quickly And Write On Something Convenient And Easy To Handle.
A 15cm X 20cm Stenographer's Note-pad Is Recommended, and Loose Sheets Should Definitely Be Avoided.
Interpreters Should Write Only On One Side Of The Sheets, and These Must Be Clipped At The Top, so That They Can Be Turned Quickly And Easily. The Best Thing To Be Used When Writing Is Still The Good Old Lead Pencil.
It Is Fundamental That The Notes Should Be Easily Readable, in Oder To Allow Visual Contact Between Interpreters And The Audience. Therefore, notes Will Be Well Spread On The Page, written In Large Characters, and One Single Sentence Can Even Occupy One Sheet, without Ecological Concerns. Notes Must Be Unequivocal: For Instance, the Abbreviation -ind Must Be Always Used To Represent One Idea, be It Industrial Or Independent, without Inventing Symbols Or Abbreviations In The Course Of A Conference: If A New Symbol Is Used, it Must Be So Clear As Not To Create Problems.
2.2What To Note.
The First Thing To Be Noted Should Be The Main Ideas, first Because They Are The Most Significant Elements Of A Speech, and Secondly Because They Are The Pillars Of Its Structure.
It Is Also Important To Systematically Note The Links Between The Different Ideas As Well To Divide Them Very Clearly.
Another Element Which Has To Be Clear Is The Point Of View Being Expressed: The Audience Must Immediately Realize Who Is Speaking.
As Far As Verbs Are Concerned, there Are Two Basic Things Which Must Appear In The Notes: Verb Tenses, with Special Attention To Conditional Forms, and Modal Verbs, whose Semantic Role In The Sentence Is Always Of Paramount Importance.