Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Minhua Liu

Associate Professor

Trained at the Institute to be one of the first-generation of conference interpreters in Taiwan, I have worked as an interpreter for more than 20 years. After graduating from MIIS, I started teaching interpreting at the Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation Studies (GITIS) of Fu Jen University (Taiwan), and once served as director of GITIS. After spending several years training interpreters, I went to the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a Ph.D. For my doctoral research, I investigated working memory and expertise development in simultaneous interpreting. My dissertation won the “Young Scholar Award” for best dissertation from the European Society for Translation Studies (EST).

Before joining the Institute in 2011, I taught research and methodology courses in interpreting studies to M.A. and Ph.D. students at Fu Jen University and Taiwan Normal University. From 2004 to 2010, I worked as the chief investigator of research projects that led to Taiwan’s first certification examinations for translators and interpreters, English-Chinese Translation and Interpretation Competency Examinations.

My current research interests include the cognitive functions of interpreting and translation, expertise development in interpreting, and assessment and testing of interpreting and translation. I am co-editor of the international journal Interpreting and serve on the advisory board of the Taiwanese journal Compilation and Translation Review. I am convener of the Research Committee of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) and am currently working with other committee members on a project investigating how aging affects interpreters’ cognitive abilities. I have published a book on consecutive interpreting and more than 20 articles or chapters in journals and edited volumes and have given numerous lectures and speeches in different countries.


Interpreting: Consecutive and simultaneous interpreting of English and Mandarin

Academic: Cognitive aspects of interpreting, assessment and testing in interpreting, research methodology in translation and interpreting


PhD, Foreign Language Education, The University of Texas at Austin
MA, Translation and Interpretation, Monterey Institute of International Studies

Selected Publications

Liu, M. (2011). Methodology in interpreting studies: A methodological review of evidence-based research. In B. Nicodemus & L. Swabey (Eds.), Advances in interpreting research (pp. 85-119). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Liu, M., & Chiu, Y-H. (2011). Assessing source material difficulty for consecutive interpreting: Quantifiable measures and holistic judgment. In R. Setton (Ed.), Interpreting China, interpreting Chinese (pp. 135-156). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. (Revised and reprinted version of Liu & Chiu, 2009)

Obler, L. K., Kurz, I., Liu, M., & Shlesinger, M. (2011, Summer).Interpreting work buffers against aging? Reporting on the AIIC Lifespan Study. Communicate! Webzine of the International Association of Conference Interpreters.

Liu, M. (2008). How do experts interpret? Implications from research in interpreting studies and cognitive science. In G. Hansen, A. Chesterman & H. Gerzymisch-Arbogast (Eds.), Efforts and Models in interpreting & translation research: A tribute to Daniel Gile (pp. 159–177). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Liu, M., Schallert, D. L., & Carroll, P. J. (2004). Working memory and expertise in simultaneous interpretingInterpreting, 6, 19-42.

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

TIAG 8642 - Research on Interpreting      

Contemporary research in Interpretation Studies establishes an intellectual foundation for a career in interpreting through enculturation in the community of research and professional practice. Introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of Interpretation Studies through multiple perspectives, including readings, classroom discussions, and interactive lectures by professors and guest speakers. Gives a general overview of past and present research and discusses why and how theory can be leveraged to enhance professional practice. Provides a multilingual forum for cognitive apprenticeship grounded in Schön's concept of the reflective practitioner. Creates an environment in which students can reflect on their learning experience and thus develop the skills required for consecutive and simultaneous interpretation more efficiently and effectively. Drawing on the Practicum in Interpretation and language-specific interpretation classes, students identify challenging areas in their own interpreting and conduct action research projects aimed at developing the skills and abilities to overcome these challenges. Research results are presented in class for peer discussion and feedback. Students are expected to complete an action research project that includes a ten-page paper.

Fall 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS

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TICH 8502 - 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 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS

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TICH 8648 - Adv Intrp II-Siml into Chinese      

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 2014 - MIIS, Spring 2015 - MIIS

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