It has been a long time since the summer of 1990 when I left my job at the United Nations Office in Geneva where I served as a staff interpreter to join the faculty at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Over these years, I have taught sight translation, consecutive and simultaneous interpretation, and briefly, translation. I have continued to work as a freelance interpreter for corporations, institutions, the United Nations and other international organizations. I have also ventured into academic research, and recently in training the trainers for translation and interpretation. Except for a few years when I served as dean of the school of translation and interpretation, I think I have been wearing three hats in my life at the Institute: a teacher, a conference interpreter/translator, and a practitioner-researcher, a profile that is much similar to many of my colleagues here at the Institute.
Like my colleagues, I have been trying to bring both my professional experience and research into the classroom, so that students will learn not only how, but also why as they tackle the difficulties in the training in translation and interpretation. One of the topics in my research is the cognitive process to Chinese into English translation and interpretation. As a native speaker of Chinese who has been in the profession for a while, I think I have built up some experience and theory that I can share with my students and help them develop an appropriate cognitive approach to translation and interpreting into foreign language. Nothing makes me happier to see my students making progress in an often frustrating and challenging but yet rewarding learning experience at one of the leading T&I programs of the world.
Simultaneous and consecutive interpretation and translation of Chinese and English
Diploma in Translation and Conference Interpretation, United Nations Translators and Interpreters Program (now the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation), Beijing Foreign Studies University; visiting student in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, Nanjing University, China; diploma in English language and literature, Xuzhou Normal University, China
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
TICH8502 - Intro to Interp into Chinese
Introduces students to conference interpretation in general and consecutive interpretation in particular. Lays a foundation for the development of professional skills in consecutive interpretation, emphasizing the ability to understand and analyze a message in the source language (SL) and convey it in the target language (TL) in a straightforward and clear manner. Develops students’ ability to identify, analyze, and paraphrase the meaning in the SL and establish logical relations between its components. Emphasis is placed on active listening and concentration skills, memory, the ability to abstract information for subsequent recall, and basic elements of note-taking. At the end of the course, students are able to interpret extemporaneous passages that are on topics familiar to them and are between three and five minutes in length.
In language-specific sessions and joint sessions with other language programs, students are introduced to the skill of consecutive interpreting in both theory and practice. They practice listening to and repeating the content of passages of increasing length and difficulty. Students hone their public-speaking skills by developing and delivering speeches. Content is interpreted on topics from daily life, current events and the media, and general areas of personal interest to students.
Course assignments include readings and research on class topics, presentations, practice, graded exercises, and peer and self-assessment. The frequency, nature, and structure of course assignments and examinations are at the discretion of the instructor(s) of record.
Fall 2014 - MIIS
TICH8513 - Intro Sight Trans to English
Introduces students to the basic theory and practice of translation, both written and sight. Students will learn to apply text analysis, text typology, and contrastive analysis of their working languages to identify, analyze, and resolve translation problems while independently developing an efficient and rational approach to the process of translation. The appropriate application of electronic translation tools will also be introduced. Fundamental translation theory will be emphasized at the beginning of the course and will be conveyed in the form of assigned readings, lectures, class discussions, and independent research. In addition, course assignments will include practice and graded exercises in sight and written translation, utilizing authentic texts drawn from an extensive variety of text categories that include, but are not limited to, current events, general political economy, general legal documents, and scientific and technical topics for general audiences. As the term progresses, student time and effort will increasingly be spent on the preparation and evaluation of written translation assignments. Students will be expected to take at least one midterm exam and one final exam, to be assigned at the discretion of the instructor(s) of record.
Fall 2014 - MIIS, Fall 2015 - MIIS
TICH8525 - Intrm Intrp-Consc into English ▹
Intermediate Interpretation – Consecutive and Simultaneous
Builds on the practical and theoretical foundation laid in Introduction to Interpretation. Consists of both language-specific and joint sessions with other language programs.
In consecutive, students learn to identify the implicit structural organization of an extemporaneous speech by presenting and interpreting speeches of this type. Reinforces ability to perceive essential meaning and further develops note-taking techniques. Emphasizes clarity of expression, correct style and grammar, proper diction, and polished presentation. Students also expand their active vocabulary to include the terms and idioms that frequently occur in extemporaneous speeches. At the end of the course, students are able to interpret passages that are delivered extemporaneously, are of moderate difficulty, and are derived from professional settings. These passages vary from one to several paragraphs in length depending upon language combination, direction, and source content.
In simultaneous, students are introduced to basic strategies of interpreting in this mode in the booth. Begins with a general introduction and follows up with a series of preparatory exercises helping students develop the concentration necessary for listening and speaking at the same time, mastering voice management, and acquiring smooth delivery techniques. Students learn to analyze discourse for meaning while rendering a coherent version in the TL with correct grammar, diction and style. At the end of the course, students are able to interpret passages that are between eight and ten minutes in length.
Content on a wide range of topics and current events is interpreted, with some emphasis placed on business and economics. Course assignments include readings and research on class topics, presentations, practice, graded exercises, and peer and self-assessment. The frequency, nature, and structure of course assignments and examinations are at the discretion of the instructor(s) of record.
Course prerequisites: Introduction to Interpretation or the equivalent
Spring 2015 - MIIS, Spring 2016 - MIIS
TICH8637 - Adv Intrp I Simul into English
This is the first of two complementary courses designed to bring interpretation knowledge and skills up to the professional level. Students are expected to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the first-year interpretation courses to produce interpretations that would be of acceptable quality in a professional setting. Content on a wide range of topics and current events is interpreted, with emphasis placed on business, economics, science, technology, and other topics congruent with current market demand for interpretation in the language combination in question. Course assignments include readings and research on class topics, presentations, practice, graded exercises, and peer and self-assessment.
In consecutive interpretation, students prepare by researching topics before each session, with emphasis on sequential logic in notetaking and accurate terminology in delivery. Students continue to hone their skills by diagnosing and correcting problems at all stages from listening through delivery, while progressing to increasingly difficult and challenging material. In simultaneous interpretation, the techniques learned in the previous semester are consolidated, which enables students to polish their delivery and language register. Focuses on nuance of meaning, accuracy of interpretation, research and preparation for conferences, and glossary development. Special attention is given to maintaining concentration while under significant psychological stress. Students learn to recognize SL discourse patterns and render them effectively in TL.
At the end of the course, students are able to interpret difficult passages that are derived from professional settings. In consecutive, students are able to interpret passages up to several paragraphs in length. In simultaneous interpretation, students are able to interpret passages that are between fifteen and twenty minutes in length. The frequency, nature, and structure of course assignments and examinations are at the discretion of the instructor(s) of record.
Fall 2014 - MIIS, Fall 2015 - MIIS
TICH8645 - Adv Intrp II-Consc to English ▹
Advanced Interpretation II – Consecutive and Simultaneous
This course is the counterpart to Advanced Interpretation I. Students are expected to interpret speeches of considerable difficulty and complexity and to cope with the types of challenges that are likely to be encountered in professional settings. Provides final preparation for the Professional Examinations.
In consecutive interpretation, emphasis is placed on both science and technology and political rhetoric, requiring particular attention to nuance and tone. Students learn the vernacular of political speeches and other challenging material while sharpening listening, processing, and notetaking functions.
In simultaneous interpretation, advanced instruction is given for difficult speeches. Emphasizes following the logic of complex scientific and technical discourse, and remaining faithful to the style and tone of persuasive political discourse. Students are also introduced to simultaneous interpretation with text. They learn how to draw upon outlines, transcripts, slides and transparencies, and other written materials to enhance the accuracy and completeness of their interpretation. Emphasis is placed on text preparation strategies and efficient use of textual materials while on the air.
Content on a wide range of topics and current events is interpreted, with emphasis placed on topics congruent with current market demand for interpretation in the relevant language combination(s). Course assignments include readings and research on class topics, presentations, practice, graded exercises, and peer and self-assessment.
At the end of the course, students are expected to interpret difficult speeches in professional settings. In consecutive, students are called upon to interpret passages that are several paragraphs in length. In simultaneous, students are able to interpret passages that are between fifteen and twenty minutes in length. The frequency, nature, and structure of course assignments and examinations are at the discretion of the instructor(s) of record.
Course prerequisites: Advanced Interpretation I or the equivalent
Spring 2015 - MIIS, Spring 2016 - MIIS