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Presentation in Consecutive

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For the most part the rules of thumb for how to speak when interpreting consecutively are the same as those for public speaking in general. They are...


- Speak clearly, DON'T mumble,

- Speak fluently, pause between sentences and paragraphs not in the middle of them. DON'T say "um" and "err" all the time.

- LOOK at your audience, not at the floor. Engage them, consecutive is a communicative activity. Many colleagues go by the numbers 70/30. That is 30% of the time you are looking at you notes, 70% at the audience.

- Speak sufficiently loudly, don't shout and don't whisper.

Remember that your audience want to believe what you're saying and they want to see that you believe it. This doesn't mean you have to believe but you do have to be seen to believe it.

In some respects though the principles of good public speaking do not apply:

The consecutive interpreter should not engage in the gesturing that speakers are encouraged to animate their discourse with (cf Tony Blair) nor of course will the interpreter be directly and solely responsible for the content of his speech.

As you learn the different elements that go to make up consecutive you will forget about the principles of good speaking. Thinking about your notes or how to say something nicely in your own language AND speak well will initially mean you do one, both or all of the above less well than you do them individually. This is normal and the answer is to practise. Practise these elements in isolation and together and return regularly to these principles and evaluate your own work against them.


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