Welcome

I’m Paula López Herrera

Conference interpreter, translator, language lover with a zest for helping others.

LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN WILD

When we think about interpretation, we often picture the interpreter in the booth, listening, analysing, and transmitting the speaker’s message in another language within a few seconds of each other. But what about the interpreters who sit next to the speaker during a press conference, jotting down weird symbols and illegible words in a notebook at near-lightspeed? Welcome to consecutive interpreting.

I can say without hesitation since I was able to experience this firsthand, that when one begins to study consecutive interpreting, we ask ourselves questions like these:

  • How will I write down everything the speaker says and interpret it at the end of their speech?
  • This speaker speaks too fast for me to write anything down, so I’ll have to rely on my imagination when interpreting.
  • What is this about symbols?
  • Why do we have to write diagonally? What is that for?
  • I don’t have a symbol for this word; let’s see how I remember that the speaker said it.
  • I don’t understand any of the notes I’ve taken. Send help.
  • Was this a noun, an adjective, or a verb?

I could go on, but the aim of this post is different. These uncertainties will fade with practice and patience, and we will feel confident and enjoy interpreting consecutively.

How can one recall what a speaker says by scribbling symbols on a notebook for 10-15 minutes and then interpreting the message into another language? It’s possible; it isn’t black magic (or who knows); the magic lies in learning how to do it.

Because the excellent note-taking technique requires the acquisition of multiple skills, let’s start by focusing on just one. Because, as the saying goes, don’t bite off more than you can chew.

I want to do my bit by showing you some symbols I frequently use, many of them created by me, some by my colleagues and professors, and yet others from the student’s manual Técnicas de interpretación consecutive: la nota de notas by Clara March. Also, the website http://www.symbolovnik.cz/en was a great source of inspiration for me when making my symbols.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. This list is just a small sample of the symbols that I most use; I hope you find them useful and use the ones you find interesting.

NOTES ARE A VERY USEFUL TOOL FOR CONSECUTIVE INTERPRETATION, BUT WE MUST NEVER FORGET THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WILL ALWAYS BE OUR MEMORY.

Do you need someone to interpret your event? Then, you’ve come to the right person. Please take a look at my interpreting services.

4 thoughts on “60 symbols for note-taking in consecutive interpreting”

  1. Good evening. I went out in the morning for a walk, so I decided I took picture of the rising sun. when I got home, I looked at the picture, then I saw something at the top of the picture, initially I thought it was a stain, not until I Zoomed it and behold it was a Symbol. Kindly help to interpret it.

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