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Introduction to
Public Service Interpreting

This course is suitable for you if your long term aim is to become a professional and qualified public service interpreter.

Course aims

By the end of the course you will be able to

  • Explain the differences between interpreting / translation and interpreting / advocacy.
  • Introduce yourself efficiently and effectively to service users and service providers.
  • Describe the limits of your role.
  • Make appropriate decisions when encountering straightforward ethical dilemmas.
  • Intervene appropriately and effectively in an interpreted encounter.
  • Prepare for the three phases of an interpreted assignment.
  • Use note taking to support interpreting skills.
  • Observe role plays.
  • Give appropriate role play feedback to other participants.
  • Undertake simple research for an interpreting assignment.
  • Enter into a working relationship with a co-worker.

Topics covered during the course

  • What is interpreting; differences between public service interpreting and other types of interpreting; interpreting and advocacy; difference between interpreting and translation; direct speech and reported speech in interpreting.
  • Note taking for interpreters.
  • Internet research for interpreters; introduction to glossary compilation.
  • Consecutive interpreting; interpreting sensitive material.
  • Introductions; writing an introduction; translation of introduction.
  • Observation skills; seating positions; management of feedback; peer evaluation;
  • Memory training.
  • Interventions; reasons for and management of interventions; ethical decision making; codes of practice; preparing for an interpreting assignment; the nature of professionalism; continuing professional development; professional detachment.
  • Introduction to sight translation.
  • Language flexibility exercises: summarising; bilingual reconstruction; reformulation exercises; complete listening; repetition and shadowing exercises; complete reading; understanding English dialects.
  • Interpreter support groups and network; individual action plans.

Please Note: The order of the elements in the course may be changed to suit the pace and needs of the participants as the course progresses, if this is considered to be appropriate.

Will I gain any qualifications?

Each participant will receive an attendance certificate that will show in detail what has been studied and which sessions have been attended.

What could this course lead to?

The Diploma in Public Service Interpreting.

Do I need any knowledge, skills or qualifications?

A high level of spoken and written competence in both your working languages which will be determined by pre-course assessment.

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Course Information

Start date


Length of course

The course runs between 09:00 and 14:00 over a period of 10 consecutive Saturdays


Brasshouse Languages, 1st Floor, The Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Birmingham B1 2ND


The course costs £375

How will I learn?

  • Tutor-led presentations
  • Individual participant presentations
  • Group and pair work
  • Group observation and peer evaluation
  • Interactive discussions
  • Role plays
  • Learning diaries

What materials or equipment will I need to provide?

  • Individual A4 folders with loose leaf paper
  • Reporter’s notebooks for note taking
  • Notebook for learning diary
  • Course text books
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