How To Take Interpretation Notes English Language Essay

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The scarcity of interpreters is leading people to be a interpreter,especially a professsional one .But to be a excelent interpreter seems not that easy.In this essy, we will discuss what is interpretation, and as a interpreter,how notes play an vital role in the process of interpretation. Are there any shorycuts and skills for note-taking? These two questions which are to be discussed below may provide certain references for a would-be interpreter.

Key words:

Interpretation; take notes; abbreviation


'. interpretation is indispensable now

Stalin have ever rose to propose a toast and said "to those whose work is arduous indeed. We relay on them to convey our every word, so that even tonight, as we relax and enjoy ourselves, they must labor on. Let us drink then to the interpreters." Therefore we can see how essential interpreters are at that time.

What about now? With the development of economic globalization, interpretation plays an important role in the communication of China and other countries naturally. It can be easily seen that increasing overseas enterprises, as well as their products, penetrate every corner in our country. With trade between overseas companies or domestic industry getting much more frequently, various competitions go extremely dramatic and furious. Under these circumstances, there is no company but requires more market share. When government-owned corporations or private companies try to joins hands with foreign companies, the low price and cost may be the most competitive conditions. But how to reveal our advantages and conceal our disadvantages, to a large extent, relies on the way negotiators communicate or how effectively and skillfully the interpreters can perform. If your would-be cooperative partner's satisfaction is guaranteed and the real purpose, how to benefit most, are best delivered, a contract will be easily concluded. It means that before signing a contract or maintaining a further relationship between overseas investments both require professional interpreters, even translation teams. This is one of thousands of roles translation and interpretation playing in every field including science, economy, politics, cross-cultural communication and so forth. However the translation teams now are still unable to meet the huge market demand. And most of them gather in development regions of the country .Under such a situation of lack of translators, the employment prospects of interpretation become very good inevitably.

â…¡. what is interpretation?

What is interpretation? People now do not know it clearly. Actually it is a special means of oral communication to transmit information between people from different language and culture. It also serves to eliminate the hamper of language among people in international exchange. Its style and use of words in oral communication tend to be less formal and more colloquial and the structures are comparatively simpler than those of written translation. Alternating interpretation, Consecutive interpretation and Simultaneous interpretation are three means of interpretation. Alternating interpretation is the most commonly used form which mainly used in political conference, banquets, reception, visits etc.

What is adequate interpretation? What is good interpretation? People tend to fall into the following misunderstandings when interpreting. Firstly, it is better to catch and write down all source messages as possible. And It is also regarded the same as class notes as well as shorthand. But how can the speed of taking notes be faster than speaking? Even if you can take notes very quickly, it is impossible to note every word. Therefore, with this wrong conception, you will be in a muddle. Secondly, translate the words of the speaker directly. There is a rule of translation that translation is to translate the meaning,not word by word. In other words, what an interpreter does is to change words into meaning, and then change meaning back into words-of a different language.

For instance, one person says 'you are an apple in my eyes', and you translate it into Chinese. You say "你是我眼中的苹果'. Does it sound weird? This is a word by word translation. On the other hand, sometimes it is found that you translate out the meaning, but it sounds coarse or without elegance. For example, translate the sentence 'a book, tight shut, is but a block of paper'. There are four kinds of translation following. 1)一本书,紧紧合上只是一叠纸。(信而不达,不雅)2)一本书,如果紧紧合上不读,只是一叠纸。(信而不全达)3)一本书,如果紧紧合上不读,只是一叠废纸(信且达)4)é-²ç½®ä¹‹ä¹¦åªæ˜¯ä¸€å åºŸçº¸ã€‚(信,达,雅)The fourth one turns out to be the best translation obviously. So now it is seen that translation focus on faithfulness, expressiveness, elegance.

Knowing what to interpret, next we turn to find out how to remember and clear up the information. Interpretation is, more or less, need of short-term memory. It helps to memorize things actively in a very short time. My interpretation tutor told me that a well-trained interpreter is usually able to continuously interpret a speech of 5-15 minutes accurately and completely. But in my perspective, human memory is limited after all. Although effectively intensified through training, the short-term memory cannot last long enough to assist the interpreter within the whole process. Moreover, interpreter can encounter message overmuch, message is mixed and disorder. At that time, taking brief notes begins to show its great importance when one dealing with extraordinarily complicated interpretation, for which the saying that the worst pen is better than the best memory may be the best proof.

â…¢. How to take notes

1. Preparation

Two steps of preparation are necessarily required before an event. The first is to prepare a small loose-leaf notebook mainly to avoid the disorder caused by amount of information flooding into your brain. The second, as well as the most significant one , is to collect and learn more materials relevant to the subject and to make full assumption about possible situations, which may , directly or indirectly, exert a great influence on your interpretation process or fluency you perform. Though a gifted interpreter or an highly experienced one, you still have to get everything well prepared before your interpreting. One of my friends embarking on interpreter who accepted a piece of interpretation work without any preparation because of her strong confidence, and never considered her being to screw everything up. Unfortunately, when her boss tried to introduce his new products with some proper nouns, which is unknown to her, to the foreign trader, she failed to express appropriately nor to explain those stuffs clearly. It can be easily imagined that how an embarrassed dilemma she deserted herself in. Thus great attention should be paid to the two steps, especially the latter one.

2.Ways of taking notes

It is a common belief that key words can, generally, help understand the main idea of a sentence. Here are some techniques of taking notes following, which can help interpreter record information better.

2.1 Abbreviations

Abbreviation is most frequently used in taking notes, which can be usually classified into five different types.

Keep the first few letters

Pleasure PL

Spectator/ spectacular spec

Information INF

Relationship RLTS

I love you I L U

As much as possible AMAP


Are R

You U

Bee B

Through THRU

reserve letters of the beginning and end

Week WK

Room RM

Please PS

Cool CL

Remove all the vowels

Forum FM

Amount AMT

Market MKT

Standard STD

Manufacture MNFT


American Accounting Association AAA

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC

United Nations UN

Annual general meeting AGM

Use the first letter

Power / people/ P

Welcome W

Use g to represent ing ending



2.2Abbreviation of a place names

In the first place, names of main countries and capitals should be understood clearly, and

every place name correspondences to its own abbreviation , for instance, American=AM, Japan=JP, Korea=K, Sweden=SD, Europe=EU.

Secondly, let's see how to use certain symbols to illukminate the rough direction which can locate a specific place. The arrows now play an particular and essential role in dealing with this special task.

…these arrows can represent different directions and can be put right beside the name of one specific places, Such as south Korea=↓Korea, the northeast of China=

China., Surrounding areas=


2.3Special signs

Obviously , different signs stand for different meanings, in addition to which, a sign can also represent various meanings in different sentences or context, for example:

√ :right support good etc.

Ã- : wrong refuse oppose bad forbid ugly etc.

∵ :because reasons

∴ : consequence

:vital crucial best brilliant star etc.

→ :in order to on behalf of diverting

↑ :outside increase superior out of

> : more than better larger

~ :about fluctuation etc.

& :and together

? : confused question issue

: among us meeting dinner looking around

2.4Use technical symbols



5)Format and structure of the notes

If messy or illogical, a note will become a stumbling block when interpreting. So

how to get your notes organized neatly and logically goes as follows:

â‘ Horizontal section

Every meaning used one line .

â‘¡stepped arrangement

It is used to represent the sequence and affiliation of information.

â‘¢Draw a horizontal line, vertical line or oblique line to finish a layer of information

â…£. simulate interpretation


Without notification, I organized seven classmates to have a present interpretation. They were instructed to interpret the following text.


I read their final notes and recorded all the data as below. With no preparation and nothing about how to take brief and clear notes, from the beginning to the end, there are four unreasonable and inappropriate ways they took notes, which is followed:

1) None of them has taken a notebook with them instead of a sheet of paper ,what's more , some paper was broken with a hole or badly pursed.

2) Three of them wrote down the text word by word just like that they were doing a dictation, which took them so much time on spelling that there isn't enough time for them to record the rest of the text.

3) Two of them have tried to write down key words , which ,actually, are not key words unveiling the main ideas or gist of the text.

4) The last two have gathered most of key words, but they failed to retell some vital information and lost some necessary details, the reason for which is that they were just focusing on their taking notes rather than making full use of their short-term memory to record the entire storyline or skeleton of the passage at the same time.

I also did the test .here is my notes.

Pl 口 fm 3 开 /

W 2 代 /

â-‹ O fds /

→2 pw , ↑P/

â-‹ std/


2. After trainning

After I explained matters need attention and techniques of taking notes to the seven students, we did a test again.

Here is the text: It is a sign for me that the forum goes from strength to strength and I believe it is playing a key role in the relations between our two countries as confirmed by the Prime Minister in our call on him this morning. This year, we have taken the theme "The Challenge of Globalization" for our meetings and discussions. This theme has a particular resonance for me.

To my surprise, most of them did a good job. They used symbols, abbreviation, lines into their notes.


S /

Fm 2 扮 ☆ /

M, Mt sur /

Thm C G

diS /

rena /

The above is note of a student. And most of them almost could interpret out the text. It is

seen that they did a good job after knowing how to take notes of interpretation.

â…¤. analyze the result

From the research it could be found out that the procedure of note-taking in interpreting follows the rules of:

1) be care about the informatation you need from the speaker

2) write down the key words

3) Record the information as quickly as possible by using special signs, simple words and abbreviations.

4) use the short-term memory at the same time.

Though there are kinds of techniques about taking notes, it is also flexible . The purpose of note-taking is not reviewing the text after the your work but for supplementing memory in a very short period. Note-taking is to help interpreters remember effectively and accurately what the speaker has said. Interpreter could writte down whatever they think is helpful to trigger their memery.


Notes of the same paragraph in a speech can be taken in different forms depending on an interpreter's personal experience. Interpreters may wish to create their own sets of abbreviations and symbols for various courses or subjects. In one word, notes vary from person to person,from habit to habit. Interpreters need to explore and find out the most suitable style for themselves continually. Neverthless,Interpreters require to study and train persistence so as to set up their notes system and improve their abilitys to interpret, and provide better service.