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Copy of An introduction to note-taking for public service & community interpreters

Event report

In an online CPD event, CIOL Steering Group members welcomed Dr Kirsty Heimerl-Moggan on a Saturday morning to listen to her insightful presentation about note-taking, an essential skill for interpreters who need to render messages accurately and without omissions.

The development of a good note-taking system doesn’t happen overnight - it is developed over time. Kirsty kindly shared her slides with the online event attendees, including exercises for practice.

It is natural to panic at the time when taking notes during a consecutive interpreting assignment, as it is impossible to write at the speed of speech. To avoid this, it is important to develop an individual and workable system, using existing symbols, or even developing your own.

It is not necessary to write down every single word, only key words that will act as a ‘crutch’ for your memory, after all, that is what notes are for: to aid your memory.

Kirsty advised using sensible abbreviations, and gave a very useful technique for those occasions when a part of the message was not fully understood: using brackets and then proceed to ask the interlocutor for clarification (during consecutive interpreting assignments).

In terms of developing symbols, there should be a careful consideration about if it is worthwhile doing it or not, for example short words under four characters.

For interpreters who wish to take notes in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way, there is a possibility to go paperless by using Rocket Book, which is essentially a pad that can be wiped clean, and very appealing to reassure clients that interpreters respect the confidentiality agreement as specified in the professional code of conduct that all the public service interpreters must adhere to.

Another point to consider when taking notes is that English language uses a lot of words for embellishment. These don’t need to be written down because other languages rarely use this and the delivery of the message won’t be affected by those.

Florencia Pistritto DPSI MCIL
Member of the CIOL Scottish Society Steering Committee

April 22nd, 2023 10:00 AM
Online event (Zoom)
Events +
Category Scottish Society
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CIOL Scottish Society