Section 8 - Shadowing

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Simultaneous Interpreting

Simultaneous interpreting is used in the courtroom to help an accused or other parties understand what other participants in the trial (witnesses, lawyers, judge) are saying. This interpretation is usually whispered to the accused and thus is often called "whispered interpreting." It is also called chuchotage; an expression derived from the French word for 'whisper.'

The main advantage of simultaneous interpreting is its speed. To become proficient in this mode, interpreters need training and practice.

When do you interpret simultaneously in court?

The majority of court interpreting is done in the simultaneous mode. Whenever you are interpreting in a court proceeding, you will be interpreting everything that is said so the party for whom you are interpreting can follow and understand.

What will be tested?

In the fourth part of the test, you will be shadowing a speaker. When shadowing, your task is to repeat in English everything you hear, shortly after you have heard it. Wait until you have heard enough to understand the speaker before you begin to shadow.

You will begin repeating everything you hear in English shortly after the recording starts to play. There will be no pauses.

The shadowing exercise will take about 10 minutes.

Practicing shadowing

You have been provided with three pre-recorded English monologues, plus written texts of the monologues, to help you practice shadowing. There is also a list of scoring units for the first monologue.

For additional shadowing practice, you can use English monologues, preferably from court-related documents, and record them, without any pauses, prior to practice.

You will also need two recording devices during the practice sessions: one to listen to the audio files of the pre-recorded exercises and the other to record your performance.

To practice shadowing, follow the stages identified below.

Stage 1: Preparation for shadowing

  • Have a notepad and a pen ready.
  • Start the device you will use to record your voice.
  • Start playing the recorded source text. You should listen to the recording using a headset.

Stage 2: Initial shadowing

  • Listen attentively to the start of the passage.
  • Once you have heard the first segment (a phrase, a clause, or a short sentence), start shadowing. You will continue listening to the speaker's next segment while you shadow the previous segment. While you are allowed to take notes, it is difficult to listen, speak and take notes at the same time; so limit your note-taking to important names, dates and numbers.
  • Repeat this step for each segment, until you complete the last segment.
  • Stop the audio file and the voice recorder.

Stage 3: Comparison of initial shadowing with recorded source text monologue

  • Replay the source text monologue from the beginning. Listen carefully to the first sentence. You may listen to the sentence as often as necessary to grasp its meaning and take notes. Stop the player before moving on to the following step.
  • Start the recorder at the beginning of your shadowing. Listen carefully to your shadowing of sentence 1 and compare it with sentence 1 of the source text monologue. Note all the elements of meaning that you have missed.
  • Repeat these steps for each sentence, until you complete the last sentence.

Stage 4: Comparison of initial shadowing with written text of monologue

This stage helps if there are parts of the recorded source text monologue that you have not heard well.

  • Start the recorder at the beginning of your shadowing.
  • Read the first sentence in the written text and compare your shadowing against it. Underline in the written text, the words, expressions and segments that are problematic.
  • Repeat this step for each sentence, until you complete the last sentence.

Stage 5: Analysis and resolution of problems

  • Examine the notes you took during Stages 3 and 4 and analyse any words, expressions and segments that you missed or think are wrong. Try to determine why they caused you problems.
    Was it because:
    • you did not understand the word or expression?
    • you did not remember something that was said earlier?
  • Think of ways you can correct these mistakes. Do any basic research required.

While some dictionary consultation may be necessary, avoid looking up too many words in dictionaries at this point. In an actual situation, you may not have an opportunity to consult a dictionary during simultaneous interpreting; so you should not rely on a dictionary for too much help during the shadowing practice. Try to understand words and expressions using the context (i.e. the surrounding text).

Stage 6: Checking scoring units

  • If you are working on a shadowing exercise with scoring units provided, examine them at this stage. Listen again to your recorded shadowing, paying particular attention to the scoring units. Note the units you got correct. Determine how to correct those you missed.
  • If you are working on a shadowing exercise without scoring units, examine the written monologue and underline words and phrases that could be considered scoring units. Then listen again to your recorded shadowing, paying particular attention to those words and phrases. Note the units you got correct. Determine how to correct those you missed.

Stage 7: Final shadowing

  • Redo the shadowing, following Stages 1 through 5, and try to deliver a more accurate and smoother rendition of the monologue.

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