Section 6 - Oral Recall

The oral recall exercise simulates consecutive interpreting, which is one of the three interpreting modes used in court on an everyday basis.

In the consecutive interpreting mode, the interpreter listens to the message in the source language and interprets it into the target language so that both speakers, who do not speak a common language, can engage in effective communication. Each speaker pauses while the interpreter interprets.

The oral recall exercise requires you to listen to a short recording in English from a victim impact statement or a pre-sentence report. The recording will be broken up into several short segments. After each segment, you will be given time to repeat or retell in English as much as possible of the passage you have just heard. The passages are 5 to 6 sentences long and are not difficult to understand.

As well as allowing you to demonstrate your interpreting aptitude, the oral recall exercise also tests memory, which is an essential skill for court interpreters. Your response must be accurate.

The oral recall exercise is an effective way of testing your ability to listen, retain and repeat information accurately without taking notes.

Note-taking is not allowed in this exercise so it is important to remember and repeat or restate as much of the original passage as you can.

What will be tested?

The oral recall section of the test will evaluate your ability to remember and repeat short utterances.

Memory is an important skill that all interpreters must develop, and active listening is essential to developing a good memory.

To help you concentrate on your listening and memory skills, you will not be allowed to take notes during this activity.

Practicing oral recall

This manual contains three practice texts for oral recall, and a list of scoring units for one of the texts.

Before you start your practice session for the oral recall exercise, you will need to open and start the audio files that accompany this manual.

You will also need a recording device to record your performance.

For additional practice in oral recall, you should look for short English newspaper articles (about 250 words), preferably relating to a court case.

To practice oral recall, follow the eight stages (each including several steps) identified below.

Stage 1: Preparation for oral recall

  • Start playing the audio file of the source text. You should listen to the recording using headphones.

Stage 2: Initial oral recall

  • Start the voice recorder. You will record your English repetition using this device.
  • Listen attentively to the first segment.
  • When there is a pause in the dialogue, repeat what you have heard, in English, to the best of your ability.
  • Repeat these steps for each segment, until you complete the last segment.
  • Stop the audio file and the voice recorder.

Stage 3: Comparison of initial oral recall repetition with audio source text

  • Replay the first segment of the audio file. You may listen to the segment as often as necessary to grasp all its meaning. To track your progress, you may take notes at this stage. Stop the audio file before moving on to the following step.
  • Start the voice recorder from the beginning of your recording. Listen carefully to your repetition of segment 1 and compare it with the source text. Note all the things you have missed. Also note any poor expression in English. Pay particular attention to:
    1. Content
    2. Grammar
    3. Pronunciation and Fluency
  • Repeat these steps for each segment, until you complete the last segment.

Stage 4: Comparison of initial oral recall with written text

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

  • Start the voice recorder at the beginning of your repetition.
  • Read the first segment in the written text and compare it with your repetition. Underline the words, expressions and segments that you have missed.
  • Repeat this step for each segment, until you complete the last segment.

Stage 5: Analysis and resolution of problems

  • Examine the notes you have taken during Stage 3 and Stage 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 resolve these problems. Do any basic research required.

Stage 6: Checking scoring units

  • If you are working on an oral recall exercise with scoring units provided, review the scoring units at this stage. Listen again to your recorded oral recall, paying particular attention to the scoring units indicated. Note the units you got correct. Determine how to correct those you missed.
  • If you are working on an oral recall exercise where scoring units are not provided, examine the written text and underline words and phrases that could be considered scoring units. Then listen again to your recorded oral recall, paying particular attention to those words and phrases. Note the units you got correct. Determine how to correct those you missed.

Stage 7: Final oral recall

  • Redo the oral recall, following Stages 1 and 2.
  • Try to perform a more accurate and smoother rendition.

Stage 8: Comparison of final oral recall with written text

  • Repeat all the steps of Stage 4.
  • Note improvements in comparison with the initial oral recall.

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