In the second part of her book, Konsekutivdolmetschen
und Notation, (2002, Peter Lang), Doerte Andres offers
probably the most thorough and systematic analysis of different
interpreters' note-taking techniques yet undertaken. A summary of the
conclusions is offered here.
In the second part of her book, Doerte Andres describes a
which 14 students and 14 professional interpreters were asked to
interpret the same speech, Jacques Chirac's New Year address 1996/7 (Part
1, Part 2), consecutively. Each was filmed taking
notes and giving back the speech and Andres has painstakingly noted the
exact second at which each element was spoken in the original, appeared
in the note-pad, and also was spoken by the interpreter. Large sections
of the notes are also recreated in printed and thus legible form for
the purposes of the analyses she them makes. Much has been written
about consecutive, but we interpreters tend to say what we think rather
than what we see and herein lies the beauty of this large empirical
study. We can see what really goes on.
For TEACHERS and interpreting researchers this body
is the single most valuable resource available for the analysis of
consecutive notes and the problems they pose. And it is available,
albeit in its rawest form, at the following web address.
For STUDENTS it represents an excellent opportunity
that other students have the same problems in consecutive, and why they
have them. There is also the invaluable possibility of seeing how
professionals solve the same problems.
Hopefully you will also find that many solutions to these
can be found on the ITR web-site.
||Konsekutivdolmetschen und Notation. Doerte
Peter Lang 2002.
The conclusions Andres draws from this exceptional study are extremely
interesting and as follows,
1. A clear system for notation which
includes fixed rules for abbreviation and a core of unambiguous symbols
can help save time, which can then be used for other operations.
2. Verbs and expressions of time are
significant in reproducing what was said.
3. According different weights to and
structuring the layout of elements within the notes serve to intensify
the operation 'comprehension' and facililitate the reproduction of the
4. The segmentation and arrangement of
notes on the page can facilitate assignation [of meaning] and have a
positive effect on oral reproduction.
5. Noting link words is an important
6. The time lag [between hearing and
writing] is dependent on and can be allowed to vary according to how
quickly something has been understood.
7. Everyone has to discover their own
[ideal] time lag
8. A continued time lag of more than 7
seconds causes gaps to appear in the comprehension or notation [of the
9. discontinued noting [noting
elements in a
different order to the order they are presented by the speaker - or in
practice, going back and adding something to your notes from a previous
section] can be helpful in structuring and completing the information
10. Rhetorical components are more
reproduced if they have been noted down.
11. Gaps in the comprehension or
processes among students reappear in the production phase.
These observations show clearly, how important and
is for students to deal in some detail with note-taking and how
important a component skill [Teiloperation] an in-grained, reliable and
efficient system for taking notes is. [It is] a skill which aids and
intensifies the comprehension process and thus has a decisive influence
on the target langauage output. (Andres p250, Translation into
( Note on the website. Students are numbered
and HD, representing the different schools they were attending. The
speech itself can be found under the first two links (Part
1, Part 2).