How To Improve Your Skill As An Interpreter

Practice, practice, practice…

You know what they say, practice makes perfect!

If you’re reading this article you probably know that interpreting is a highly specialized profession that requires a lot of training and practice, hence why you are probably here, you want to be the best of the best and the only way to achieve that is to take your time and master the art of interpreting. Push through that barrier of laziness!

Here are some tips to help improve your skills as an interpreter:


What shadowing consists of is repeating whatever is said in the same language it was said in, this will help you improve your speaking and listening skills as well as your working memory. A good way to start would be by shadowing audio books, if you’re a beginner you can start with children’s books or even give it a try with your favorite show or movie, with shows you can improve your conversational skills, I’d say Friends is a good suggestion, also it’s fun, who doesn’t love Friends?. So, getting back on track, these work since they have continuity, shadowing a radio program or newscasts probably wouldn’t be a great idea hence the lack of continuity.

As you practice, you can slowly lengthen your working memory in the language you are shadowing in, so the more you can remember the more you understand. As you get better you might try shadowing speeches or even conferences, more so you can improve your presentation skills (TEDTalks).

Brain exercises: Now, what we want to achieve with brain exercises is to train your brain to somehow concentrate on doing a task and yet still be listening to a speech, so, doing two tasks without sacrificing the quality of the content you’ll put out. For example, listen to a short speech and write a series of numbers, the point is to do two structured tasks. Now, once the speech is over try to repeat what you heard, you can record yourself as a way to monitor what you’re saying and you can see how much you retained and lost.

Sight translation: Sight translation can be defined as reading a text from a source language to a target language, simultaneously, in a way that the content can be understood by an audience. So, this can be easily done by just reading a book out loud and instead of reading it, for example the book is in English, you read it out loud in Spanish. This helps your fluidity in that language and it can help broaden your vocabulary.

Partners: Practicing with a partner is always a good idea; you need feedback from someone, some sort of constructive criticism or the harsh truth. You can’t really evaluate yourself especially if you’re practicing your consecutive interpretation skills. An ideal partner would preferably be someone who has been exposed to interpreting in one way or another, someone that has an idea of what it’s all about, and another great way to practice is to set up your own small presentation, get two people who are bilingual in the same language and some other people that don’t know one of the languages, there you go!

This will also help you on your public speaking skills!

How are your interpretation skills? Is there a certain way you like to practice? Let us know below in the comment section!

Happy interpreting!

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