Reconsidering the contents of interpreters’ notes: A human-centered approach to classification

Main Article Content

Anna Sasaki


This paper tackles the issue of the lack of a substantially new approach to classifying the interpreters’ notes. In my paper, I highlight the fact that the researchers in the field are yet to agree on the contents of interpreters’ notes, and that is, in my opinion, the problem that is numerously stumbled upon in consecutive interpretation research in general and note-taking research in particular. Not only do researchers invent new classifications within an excising paradigm, sometimes they contradict each other presenting different definitions for the same concepts. This paper attempts to solve the issue by introducing a new perspective on the contents of interpreters’ notes by adapting the human-centered approach and turning to the “writers” of the notes, the interpreters. The interpreter trainees who participated in this research were interviewed to obtain an in-depth understanding of what is included in interpreters’ notes. Under the semiotic perspective, which assumes both linguistic and non-linguistic notes as a system of signs, I classified the interpreters’ notes based on the subject’s comments to the notes they had written. This retrospective approach unveiled how interpreter trainees perceive their notes which prompt meaning-making and facilitate the memory when delivering interpretation.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Sasaki, A. (2020). Reconsidering the contents of interpreters’ notes: A human-centered approach to classification. Yearbook of the Poznań Linguistic Meeting, 6(1), 1-25.


  1. Ahrens, B. 2005. Prosodic phenomena in simultaneous interpreting: A conceptual approach and its practical applications. Interpreting 7(1). 51–76.
  2. Albl-Mikasa, M. 2017. An empirical study on consecutive notes and notetaking. In Y. Someya (ed.), Consecutive notetaking and interpreter training. London & New York: Routledge. 71–117.
  3. Alexieva, B. 1993. On teaching note-taking in consecutive interpreting. In C. Dolle-rup & A. Lindegaard (eds.), Teaching translation and interpreting 2: Insights, aims, visions. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 199–206.
  4. Chen, S. 2017. Note-taking in consecutive interpreting: New data from pen record-ing. International Journal for Translation and Interpreting Research 9(1). 4–23.
  5. Chen., S. 2018. Exploring the process of note-taking and consecutive interpreting: a pen-eye-voice approach towards cognitive load. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer 12(4). 1–2.
  6. Chernov, G. 2004. Inference and anticipation in simultaneous interpreting: A proba-bility-prediction model. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  7. Crèpin, F. & M. Loridon. 1992. Français, méthodes et techniques, édition 1992. Classes des lycées, livre de l'élève. France: Nathan.
  8. Dam, H.V. 2007. What makes interpreters’ notes efficient? Features of (non-)efficiency in interpreters’ notes for consecutive. In Y. Gambier et al. (eds.), Doubts and directions in translation studies: Selected contributions from the EST Congress, Lisbon 2004. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 183–197.
  9. Dam, H.V. 2004. Interpreters’ notes: on the choice of form and language. In G. Hansen, K. Malmjkaeer &. D. Gile (eds.), Interpreting 6(1). Amsterdam & Phil-adelphia: John Benjamins. 3–17.
  10. Gillies, A. 2005. Note-taking for consecutive interpreting: A short course. New York/Oxford: Routledge.
  11. Gile, D. 1995. Basic concepts and models for interpreter and translator training. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  12. Herbert, J. 1952. Manuel de l’interprete: comment on deviant interprete de confer-ernces. Genève: Librairie de l’Université Georg.
  13. Ilg, G. 1988. La prise de notes en interpretation consecutive. Une orientation gener-ale. Paralleles 9. 9–13.
  14. Jones, R. 2002. Conference interpreting explained. New York & Oxford: Routledge.
  15. Komatsu, T. 2005. Tsu:yaku no gijutsu [The interpreters’ skills]. Tokyo: Kenkyusya
  16. Liu, M. & Y.H. Chiu. 2009. Assessing source material difficulty for consecutive interpreting: Quantifiable measures and holistic judgment. Interpreting 11(2). 244–266.
  17. Matyssek, H. 1989. Handbuch der Notizentechnik für Dolmetscher. Ein Weg zur
  18. sprachunabhängige Notation. Heidelberg: Julius Groos.
  19. Minyar-Beloruchev, R. 1980. Obshchaya teoriya perevoda i ustnyi perevod [The
  20. theory of translation and interpretation]. Moscow: Voen. izd-vo Ministerstva oborony.
  21. Obst, H. 2010. White House interpreter: The art of interpretation. Bloomington: Au-thor House.
  22. Petrilli, S. 2004. From pragmatic philosophy to behavioral semiotics: Charles W. Morris after Charles S. Peirce. Semiotica 148. 277–315.
  23. Rickheit, G. & H. Strohner. 1993. Grundlagen der kognitiven Sprachverarbeitung. Modelle, Methoden, Ergebnisse. Tübingen: Francke.
  24. Rozan, J.F. 1956. La prise de notes en interprétation consécutive. Genève: Librairie de l’Université Georg.
  25. Sekiya, E. 2016. Douji tsuyakusya no atama no naka [The contents of interpreter’s head]. Tokyo: Shodensha.
  26. Seleskovitch, D. 1975. Language, langues et memorie. Etude de la prise de notes en interpretation consecutive. Paris: Minard Letters Modernes.
  27. Seleskovitch, D. 1986. The teaching of conference interpreting in the course of the last 50 years. In I. Kruz & M. Bowen (eds.), Interpreting 4(1/2). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 55–66.
  28. Setton, R. & A. Dawrant. 2016. Conference interpreting: Complete course. Amster-dam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  29. Someya, Y. 2017. An empirical study on consecutive notes and notetaking. In Y. Someya (ed.), Consecutive notetaking and interpreter training. London & New York: Routledge. 147–239
  30. Stecconi, U. 2009. Semiotics. In M. Baker & G. Saldanha (eds.), Routledge encyclo-pedia of translation studies. London & New York: Routledge. 260–263.
  31. Stockwell, G. 2014. Exploring theory in computer-assisted language learning. In X. Deng & R. Seow (eds.), Alternative pedagogies in the English language and communication classroom: Selected Papers from the Fourth CELC Symposium for English Language Teachers. Singapore: Centre for English Language Com-munication, National University of Singapore. 25–30.
  32. Strohner, H. 2000. Kognitive Voraussetzungen: Wissenssysteme – Wis-sensstrukturen – Gedächtnis. In K. Brinker, G. Antos, W. Heinemann & S.F. Sager (eds.), Text und Gesprächslinguistik: Ein internationales Handbuch zeit-genössischer Forschung. Berlin: de Gruyter. 261–274.
  33. Szabo, C. 2006. Language choice in note-taking for consecutive interpreting. Inter-preting 8(2). 129–147.
  34. Taylor-Bouladon, V. & D. Barrett. 2001. Conference interpreting: Principles and practice. Australia: BookSurge Publishing.
  35. Wang, W., D. Zhou & L. Wang. 2010. An empirical study of note-taking character-istics and output quality in interpreting. Foreign Language World 4. 9–18.