Interpretation Techniques and Exercises

Techniques and Exercises
James Nolan

A red thread throughout the book is the need for an ongoing enhancement of the interpreter’s linguistic and rhetorical skills: anticipation, complexity and compression, word clusters, figures of speech, argumentation, formal style, Latinisms, humor are only some of the topics addressed in the various chapters. The chapter on ‘figures of speech’, in particular, made fascinating reading even for a seasoned interpreter-cum-instructor, as is the drafter of this review.
–Stefano Marrone, AIIC
…he brings a high level of expertise to this subject. But this is not just another book on interpretation. Nolan’s work is unique because his concern is with pedagogy, specifically the training of interpreters. This book provides a practical guide for them. … This book is highly recommended not only for those who are driven by a professional career in consecutive or simultaneous interpreting at international events, but also for those who pride themselves on their bilingual abilities…
–Dr. Robert N. St. Clair, Professor of Communication and Linguistics, University of Louisville
James Nolan’s useful, engaging text deftly describes the art of interpreting and provides brilliant exercises for its mastery. Conveying the hilarity of situations beyond the interpreter’s control, he also sensitively evokes those frustrating deep cultural references that no interpretation can satisfy. Interpreters will find here a guide to honing their skill and an expression of the joy inherent in this marvelous profession. Mr. Nolan’s appreciation of the interpreter’s great love affair with language informs his book throughout and will make it a valuable source for interpreters and teachers of interpreting for many years to come.
–Dr. Joanna Dezio, Visiting Specialist in Interpretation and Translation at Montclair State University and Associate Professor of Foreign Languages at New York University
The most valuable chapters include Chapter 7 (50 pages on ‘Figures of speech’), Chapter 9 (‘Diction/register’), which emphasizes precise shades of meaning and presents 45 pages of excellent examples and exercises, Chapter 12 (‘Political discourse’), with exercises on the nuances that distinguish related words, and Chapter 13 (‘Economic discourse’) with vocabulary-enhancing exercises. These chapters testify to the author’s vast experience and knowledge, as well as to his admirable eloquence and linguistic skills, and make interesting reading.
–Dr. Ingrid Kurz, University of Vienna
On the whole, the book is a great, original, necessary and quite novel approach to interpretation studies from a linguistic and academic point of view. Its structure is perfect from a pedagogical perspective… The exercises presented are numerous and varied in methodology and objectives… The titles and authors included in the bibliography are varied, interesting and practical from several points of view…
–Dr. Ingrid Mosquera Gende, University of A Coruña, Spain
The contents of Interpretation Techniques and Exercises, the fruit of decades of analysis and experience, provide a wealth of material for both students and teachers … Nolan’s treatment of many topics, including suggestions for coping with humor, numerals, Latinisms and note-taking techniques, should all prove extremely valuable for both students and teachers of interpretation.
–Dr. Lynn Visson, Editorial Board, Mosty Translation Journal, Moscow
“Nolan…offers practical assignments to develop linguistic sensitivity and focuses on such linguistic problems as complex syntax, word order, adverbial clauses, figures of speech, register and formal style. […] Among the strongest assets of Nolan’s book are the exercises –not just descriptions of assignments…but ready-made tasks, such as cloze tests, reformulation of sentences with complex syntax, matching exercises to test the knowledge of collocations, interpretation of lists of noun+adjective clusters, figures of speech (with an excellent classification), identification of register, Latinisms and many more. […] Nolan offers useful suggestions, explains denotations and connotations of particular words, analyzes excellent rhetorical solutions and discusses the clarity of argumentation. […] An insightful analysis of political and economic discourse and a nice account of the problem of untranslatability further add to the value of Nolan’s work. In fact, the nature of the suggested exercises and the author’s preoccupation with linguistic nuances of political speeches make the volume useful not only to students of interpretation, but also to students of translation, or even composition.”
–Dr. Agnieszka Chmiel, Department of Translation Studies, School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
This book is a well-organized practical handbook for interpreter trainees. It is a solid and innovative tool which can be used by teachers, students and practitioners of interpretation. The exercises are instructive and the excerpts from speeches and the potpourri of stock phrases and idioms are well chosen and interesting. I highly recommend it. –Jean Matthews, Chief, English Section, Interpretation Service, United Nations, New York
This is a wonderful book for beginning or student interpreters (especially those whose working languages are French and/or Spanish), with a concise introduction to the profession followed by 18 chapters of exercises focused on specific areas, such as word order and collations, dealing with numbers and quotes, and note-taking. Moreover, I think that experienced interpreters would also benefit from many of the exercises in this book, especially those aimed at honing diction and register skills. The chapter on figures of speech alone would make this book a worthwhile purchase. –D. D. Ayuso, Interpreter, Madrid
As a former professional translator in New Zealand, I’d like to express my admiration for your contribution to the establishment of translation and interpreting theory by translators, of translators and for translators.
–Dr. George Ho, Chair, Department of Translation and Interpreting, Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages
This book provides a comprehensive description of various interpreting techniques accompanied by abundant exercises. The value of the book lies in these exercises. There are a variety of exercises that target the development of the relevant techniques, making learning an interesting and rewarding process…. The discussion of interpreting issues and techniques reflects the author’s valuable and practical hands-on experience of interpreting. –Leong Ko, School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Queensland, Australia [Babel, Vol. 56:2, 2010]
Interpretation: Techniques and Exercises… is absolutely the most useful book I have run across on what really happens in the booth. –Marla Sanchez, AIIC, ATA
I read James Nolan’s handbook as a conference interpreting student and found it very useful. This book gives a comprehensive overview of numerous techniques and explains how to use them in a very clear manner. I particularly liked the excerpts from speeches given as examples by the author – a long-time UN-insider. They make this handbook a stimulating reading by showing real-life aspects of this exciting profession.
–Jean-Luc Rostan, Interpreter, Hamburg
FABUOLOUS! For any level. It is a thorough, challenging and exciting book for students, professionals and lecturers alike. A MUST! –London Drum City Guide

DESCRIPTION: Now in its second edition, this book provides a structured syllabus and an overview of interpretation accompanied by exercises in the main aspects of the art. It can serve as a practical guide for interpreters and as a complement to interpreter training programs, particularly for students preparing for interpreting in international governmental and business settings. It has been adopted as a textbook by several universities worldwide, is used for training at European and American universities, by the US State Department, the European Parliament and the OSCE, and is cited as a study reference for the United Nations Interpreters’ Examination and by the European Union. Excerpts from the book are used by the European Parliament for online training in note-taking:

CONTENTS: Introduction / Frequently Asked Questions 1. Speaking; 2. Preparation / Anticipating The Speaker; 3. Complex Syntax / Compression;4. Word Order / Clusters; 5. General Adverbial Clauses; 6. Untranslatability; 7.Figures of Speech; 8. Argumentation; 9. Diction / Register; 10. Formal Style; 11. A Policy Address; 12. Quotations / Allusions / Transposition; 13. Political Discourse; 14. Economic Discourse;15. Humor;16. Latinisms;17. Numbers;18. Note-Taking; Bibliography

AUTHOR: James Nolan, a consulting linguist, has served as Deputy Director of the Interpretation, Meetings and Publishing Division of the United Nations, Head of Linguistic and Conference Services of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Chief of the UN Verbatim Reporting Service, UN Senior Interpreter, and Linguist/Legal Writer with The Garden City Group. A graduate of the School of Translation and Interpretation of the University of Geneva and of New York Law School, Mr. Nolan is accredited by the interpretation services of the United Nations, the European Union, the U.S. State Department and the Government of Canada. Mr. Nolan has 30 years’ experience as a translator, interpreter, language services manager and trainer. He has given lectures, workshops, courses and seminars on interpretation at New York University, the University of Ottawa, York University, Marymount Manhattan College, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Howard University, the Universidad de Belgrano, the University of Wisconsin, Florida International University and the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a consultant to the OSCE, the National Center for State Courts, the Canadian Forces Language School and the Canadian Language Industries Association (AILIA). Author contact: /

BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION Series: Professional Interpreting in the Real World
March 2005 format 210 x 148mm 320 pp
Hbk ISBN 1-85359-791-0 / Pbk ISBN 1-85359-790-2
Second edition: 2012
Hbk ISBN 9781847698100
Pbk ISBN 9781847698094
Subject (BIC): Translation and Interpretation (CFP) Level: Research, Professional
(R) Territory: World MM Subject interests: 700 MM Series: PIRW

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