Consecutive Interpretation Training: Challenges and Solutions

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Translation, Faculty of Arts, Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan

2 English Language Department, Faculty of Humanities, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine

3 Translation Department, Faculty of Arts, Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan


Consecutive interpreting (CI) requires a lot of parallel cognitive and affective processes, which are challenging for the interpreter who has to deal with them concurrently . This study focuses on the problems trainee interpreters encountered intheir CI sessions. An analysis of the strategies they used to weigh whether they have been successful in completing their task is also given. The sample of the study consists of 50 senior students of Translation enrolled in CI course (English-Arabic) in the Fall Semester 2018/2019 at the Translation Department at Yarmouk University, Jordan. The Source Text (ST), which was divided into one-minute period for each time, was given to students for interpretation and then the Target Text (TT) was recorded. Most of the challenges encountered by trainee-interpreters were linguistic problems, memory problems, note-taking and reproducing the ST into the TL. It is imperative therefore that interpreter training should be as effective as possible and interpreters shoulddevelop a series of skills and strategies such as chunking and joining, shadowing, anticipating, listening and recalling and paraphrasing that can be used to solve the problems encountered.



Translation is an interdisciplinary field of study; it is associated with all fields of knowledge. Due to globalization, there is an urgent need for oral interpretation all over the world. Therefore, the interpreters should have certain skills that enable them to perform their task professionally. Training interpreters is necessary to provide them with 'tactics and strategies' that will help future qualified interpreters to solve the problems they encounter (Ribas, 2012). The quality of interpreting relies on certain skills and strategies that should be adopted by practice training." Consecutive interpreting entails a large number of almost concurrent cognitive, psychomotor and affective processes, all of which pose major challenges for the interpreter who has to deal with them simultaneously” (Ribas,2012,p.813).That is, consecutive interpreters encounter problems such as mental processing related to short-term memory, self-confidence problems as well as linguistic problems.

       Phelan (2001,p.9) states that CI is “useful for a question and answer session, a press conference or an after-dinner speech,” as the interpreters shall stand up in front of the audience to interpret what has been said in ST into TT and vice versa. CI is practiced in public contrary to simultaneous interpretation where the interpreter will be in a separate booth. In addition, During CI, the interpreter can take-notes while listening to the ST to help him/her recall what has been said.

      Formal training for translators and interpreters is very essential because it develops "their performance to the full realization of their potential" and helps them develop their translation skills more rapidly than through field experience and self-instruction, which may involve much groping in the dark and learning by trial-and-error" (Gile, 2009,p.7). Formal training should be organized, directed and systemized to prepare qualified interpreters. Furthermore, formal training raises the professional standards of translators and interpreters in the marketplace; it lifts their social status, and it introduces them to the prospected organizations and clients, and provides them with self-confidence (Gile, 2009). The focus of this paper is on the challenges that Jordanian trainee-interpreters encounter during CI from English into Arabic. It also suggests strategies to develop the interpreters' capabilities in consecutive interpretation. The paper attempts to answer the following questions:

1-    What are the challenges that Jordanian trainee-interpreters encountered in CI from English into Arabic?

     2-What are the appropriate strategies to overcome these challenges?



Consecutive Interpretation

Russell (2005,p.136) defines CI "as the process of interpreting after the speaker or signer has completed one or more ideas in the source language and pauses while the interpreter transmits that information." To Illustrate, it is unlike simultaneous interpretation as the interpreter has time to think of what has been said before rendering it into the Target Language (TL); s/he may take-note as a supportive tool to remember what has been said during the reproduction process.

      CI is the act of explaining what has been said by one interlocutor to another one who does not understand the first's language. So, the interpreter is a facilitator or a mediator between two speakers who completely speak different languages, and his role is to transfer what has been communicated from one party to another. Also, the interpreter should master both languages accurately. In addition, he must be faithful in rendering the SL message, as any fault in interpreting this message may lead to a conflict between the two interlocutors. For example, when ex-president Morsi visited Iran in 2012, he said "we must stop the bloodshed in Syria"; the Iranian interpreter translated this as "we must stop bloodshed in Bahrain," as most Bahraini people are Shiite and the interpreter, who is Shiite, practiced ideology. This requires Iran to officially apologize for this intended mistake that may lead to a diplomatic rupture between the two countries.  

      Hatim and Mason (1997) suggest three modes of interpretations: simultaneous, consecutive and liaison (bilateral). Russell (2005, p.136) defines simultaneous interpretation as "the process of interpreting into the target language at the same time as the source language is being delivered." By way of explanation, in simultaneous interpretation the interpreter will be isolated in a booth and s/he should render directly and spontaneously what has been said; simultaneous interpretation is from ear to mouth. The interpreter does not have time to think and there is a lot of pressure on the simultaneous interpreter. Therefore, the simultaneous interpreter should be quick-thinking (Listiani, 2010). However, in CI, the interpreter can take- note and process what has been said before producing it. Therefore, the focus of this paper is on CI only.

Interpreter's Training

Interpreting is a hard task; it is more complicated than translation due to the time pressure and limit. Many studies focus on the strategies and tactics that should be taught to interpreters to enhance their capacities (Gile, 1995, 2009; Ribas, 2012; Setton & Dawrant, 2016; Wu & Wang, 2009  ). Setton &Dawrant (2016,p.9) point out that "conference interpreting is a craft and a service to which the interpreter brings language, knowledge, skills and professionalism." Also, the trainer's task is to develop these competences in the trainee-interpreters; the combination of these parameters will lead to successful interpretation. That is, the trainee-interpreters should acquire the linguistic knowledge of both SL and TL that enables them to reproduce meaningful sentences or utterances; they should recognize the differences of the grammatical system of SL and TL. In addition, trainee- interpreters should acquire certain strategies and skills that enable them to cope with problems they encounter during the encoding and decoding processes such as mental processing and self-confidence problems. Therefore, these strategies will enhance their capacities toward professionalism.

       Setton and Dawrant (2016, pp.63-64) indicate that researchers drew on sociology, cognitive psychology and linguistics as models of interpreting; however, these models are still intuitive because of the complexity of the data. "Cognitive process models focus on the interpreter’s mental operations, and typically draw on cognitive psychology to model such component processes as speech comprehension and production, memory, attention/resource allocation and coordination."  This model can be effective when focusing on developing the interpreter's self-confidence, training his/her short-term memory as the man's memory is a muscle that needs certain exercises to enhance or activate its capacity. The second model is that "social or relational models focus more on the shifting dynamics of the communicative relationship between participants in the mediated event, including the interpreter. “It takes into consideration the relationship, distance and formality between the interpreters and the speakers.” Again, these two models can be applied individually; they should be applied with other models to have a comprehensive model. Therefore, the present study relies on Gile's (2009) Effort Model of Consecutive Interpreting in analyzing the data.

Effort Model of Consecutive Interpreting

Gile (2009,pp.175-176) proposes a model for consecutive interpretation called an' Effort Model of Consecutive Interpreting'; this model is "performed in two phases the comprehension phase (or listening and note-taking phase), and the Speech Production (or Reformulation) phase." Phase one (the perception) includes Listening and Analysis (L) of the ST, Note-taking (N), Short-Term Memory Operations (M) and Coordination (C). During this phase, the text is being heard by the trainee-interpreters who take note and try to memorize and understand the ST. Phase two: Target-Speech Production includes Remembering, Note-reading, Production and Coordination. This phase is more difficult than the first one as the trainee-interpreters should recall information from the long-term memory and read his/her notes which also can be problematic for some trainee-interpreters as they may not be able to read their notes. Then, the trainee-interpreters should produce the message into TT and this message should be coordinated. The following diagram will illustrate the two phases of CI (Gile, 2009, p.175):


Phase one: listening and note-taking

Interpreting= L + N + M + C

LListening and Analysis

 N Note-taking

 MShort-term Memory operations 

C Coordination


      In this phase, L effort is like Listening and Analysis effort in simultaneous Interpretation, M effort is related to the time “between the moment it is heard and the moment it is written down.”  Regarding the Production effort, it is dedicated to produce notes.


Phase two: target-speech production

 Interpreting = Rem + Read + P + C

 Rem Remembering 

Read Note-reading 

P Production

     Phase two is more difficult than phase one as it requires more memory processes. In this phase, Rem relates to the retrieval of the parts of speech from the long-term memory. If the notes taken by the interpreters are good, they will reduce the Rem processing operations. In addition, the interpreter should employ the visual memory to retrieve the speech (Gile, 2009).

Method and Procedures

This study is meant to shed light on the actual perception and reproduction problems that trainee-interpreters encounter while consecutively interpreting   from English into Arabic. It also focuses on the role of Gile's (2009) Effort Model of Consecutive Interpreting to highlight and solve these challenges. For this purpose, data was collected and analyzed as detailed below.

Data Collection

There are two compulsory interpretation courses in the BA study plan of Translation; one is from English into Arabic and the second is from Arabic into English. These courses focus on consecutive and simultaneous interpretation at the same time. The sample of the study consists of 50 students of Translation enrolled in CI course. : They are senior students of Translation at the Department of Translation at Yarmouk University. They are supposed to complete 90 credit hours over four years of study for their BA in Translation. They have already completed several courses in language, linguistics, literature, translation (Arabic/English) and Arabic linguistics. The students already had extensive practical training in translation and interpreting. The data were collected during the first semester 2018/2019 by two tools: first, the training materials were downloaded from VOA (Voice of America) Learning English Website; the types of text varied and some of them were political, social, educational, historical and news, words and their stories. The listening materials were divided into equal periods, 30 seconds to one minute for each. The trainee-interpreters could listen to the ST; then, they were given one minute to reorganize their ideas. After that they were asked to record their interpretation using Sanako devices. Their errors were evaluated and discussed individually. Second, a questionnaire was designed by the researchers and administered to recognize the challenges that trainee-interpreters encountered during CI sessions. The questionnaire aimed to elicit information about the perception and reproduction problems encountered by the trainee-interpreters such as concentration, previous knowledge about the topic, memory-related problems and linguistic problems such as structure, terminology and so on.

Data Analysis

The data were collected, transliterated and analyzed to highlight the mistakes committed by the trainee-interpreters. These mistakes were categorized into linguistics problems such as lack of knowledge of both languages, listening problems, note-taking and note-reading problems, Memory problems (loss of concentration), and reproduction of the target text.

      The data was analyzed to detect the problems encountered by the trainee-interpreters. These problems were classified into: perception problems (i.e. listening, understanding, concentration, short-term memory, and technical problems), reproduction problems (i.e. semantic problems, lexical equivalence, and numbers). Gile's (2009) Effort Model of consecutive interpreting (see section 4 above) was employed as a theoretical framework.


Findings and Discussion

The process of CI goes through three stages: first, the trainee interpreters listen carefully to the source text for one minute. Second, they can take notes and organize their thoughts. Finally, they record the ST into Arabic. The discussion consists of three selected excerpts from trainee-interpreters' CI. Additionally, this section will not only highlight the problems encountered by the trainee-interpreters but it will also offer   solutions to these challenges.

Challenges and Solutions

This section presents the challenges encountered by trainee-interpreters and offers solutions which, hopefully, will give trainers some insights into how to run CI course. These challenges are divided into four categories:

Lack of Knowledge in both Languages (Linguistic Problems)


It is beyond any doubt that mastering both SL and TL is a precondition for interpreters to   communicate semantically and grammatically   correct messages in the working languages.  . This study found most of the trainee-interpreters are not competent in both Arabic and English and the reason behind this problem is that language skill courses   are geared towards offering trainee-interpreters general rather than specialized skills. However, beginning interpreters need to be equipped by special linguistic skills   that enable them to produce well-grammatical and comprehendible sentences. Most of the trainee-interpreters showed linguistic problems in written translation although in this mode they have time to think and to consult dictionaries. This can prove our view that trainee-interpreters, or even translators, may not need to have so much theoretical, abstract linguistic background; they should acquire basic applicable skills that may serve them well in their actual interpretation sessions.

      Apparently, the trainee-interpreters’ poor academic achievement in written translation can affect their performance in oral interpretation. That is, training on CI provides trainees with certain strategies and tactics of interpretation rather than providing them linguistic knowledge; trainee-interpreters who work hard to develop their linguistic skills are successful in translation and interpretation as well. Example (1) below highlights some linguistic problems encountered by the trainee-interpreters.

Excerpt (1) was quoted from VOA Learning English Website entitled "WHO: 10 Percent of Drugs in Developing Countries Are Fake."

The World Health Organization (WHO) says one of every 10 medicines sold in (1) developing countries is either fake or of poor quality (2). In a report this week, WHO officials said fake or substandard drugs are to blame for tens of thousands of children dying (3). These deaths could be easily prevented, officials said. Trying to understand the problem, experts looked at 100 studies (4), all of which were completed between 2007 and 2016(5). The studies examined use of   more than 48,000 drugs(6).The experts found that 10.5 percent (7) of the drugs (8)were not what they appeared to be(9).

     It has been observed that trainee-interpreters encountered semantic problems, especially lexical problems, as they gave inadequate meaning of the ST lexical terms. For example, some of them rendered segment (1) as [10 faked doctors in the developing countries] عشرة أطباء فی البلدان النامیة مزورة, the word medicines [medicines] علاجات was rendered as [doctors] أطباء. Many of them mistranslated segment (2); they provided inadequate renditions such as [poor characteristics, useless] خصائصها فقیرة, دون جدوى, instead of [poor quality] جودة ردیئة .However, some of their renditions for this segment can be acceptable and semi-adequate such as [weak quality]جودة ضعیفة . A lot of them translated the word drugsأدویة [medicines] as [drugs] مخدرات. Some of them mistranslated segment (9) as they rendered it as [It should be not shown for show/ they do not feel the things they want to be ] یجب أن لا یظهر للبیع/  / لا یشعرون بهذه الأشیاء التی یریدونها أن تکون but it can be translated as  [it does not seem as it is] لیست کما تبدوا.  Another semantic problem is the inappropriate use of words in CI. For example, a few of them rendered the clause “the studies examined" in segment (6) as   [The studies study] درست الدراسات instead of   فحصت الدراسات [The studies investigate].

       They have problems in rendering sentences that contain numbers. That is, they have a problem in both rendering the numbers and the words surrounding these numbers. For example, many of them translated segment (3) inadequately as   وفاة عشرة الأف من الأطفال/  موت المئات و الالاف من الأطفال / عشر الاف طفل  [ The death of 10 thousands children/ the death of hundreds and thousands of children/ 10 thousands child]instead of  موت عشرات [The death of tens of thousands of children].الالاف من الأطفال. Some of them tended to omit the number [tens of thousands] .عشرات الالافSome of them translated segment (4) as ألف دراسة  [one thousand studies]  instead of  [one hundred studies]مائة دراسة and some of them omitted the number [one hundred] مائة. Moreover, a lot of them have problems in rendering percentages; they rendered segment (7) inadequately as / عشرة وخمسمایة  عشر وخمس [ ten and five hundreds/ ten and five]and a few of them omitted it from their translation. In addition, a few of them tended to omit the number 48,000 in segment (7) and some others rendered it as أربعة الالاف[four thousands]. It seems translating numbers can be a challenge for trainee-interpreters.

       In addition, trainee-interpreters had difficulty in rendering complex and long sentences into Arabic. Linguistic knowledge is a corner stone in translation and interpretation, as mastering ST and TT will facilitate the process of interpretation and increase its accuracy. Here, we are highlighting the importance of contrastive linguistics in the field of interpretation, as the trainees should recognize the phonetic, phonological, semantic, syntactic and morphological systems of both ST and TT. Moreover, interpreters should not only focus on the literal meaning of utterances, but they can also concentrate on the context of situation of the ST, as the context determines the intended meaning i.e. the pragmatic meaning. They should have the ability to infer other speakers’ intentions and meanings relying on intonation, signs, and facial expressions (Setton& Darwant, 2016). It was observed that most of them tend to provide the literal meaning of words neglecting their pragmatic meaning, or to be more specific most of them do not have the pragmatic competence. This does not come over a night; there should be a systematic and a comprehensive approach to prepare and qualify interpreters with the required linguistic competence.

       Therefore, there should be specific courses that emphasize certain language skills in both ST and TT. Linguistic course designers in Arabic are to blame, as they emphasize the theoretical use of Arabic language rather than the applied one. The language courses should be designed to meet the needs of different field studies. In translation and interpretation, the focus should be on contrastive linguistics of both ST and TT rather than the theoretical aspects.

Listening Problems

Interpreters should not split attention when listening and taking notes; they should develop active listening skills. In his model of interpretation, Gile (2009,p.160) uses listening and analysis effort as a separate component of interpreting process; he defines it as “consisting of all comprehension-oriented operations, from the subconscious analysis of the sound waves carrying the source-language speech which reach the interpreter’s ears through the identification of words to the final decisions about the ‘meaning’ of the utterance.” It depends on the interpreters’ linguistic knowledge of the SL that enables them to recognize the sound sequence and then the meaning of these words and utterances in the TL.

      The listening materials were in American English; most of the trainee-interpreters encountered problems in listening and understanding the source speech. Some trainee-interpreters do not practice listening skills daily; therefore, they have listening problems. Another reason can be the speed of delivery of the source speech; they are unfamiliar with the topic of the listening material as the topics are different in every session. Listening problems can also be due technical problems as voice quality, technical device, headphones and microphones.

       The solution for the listening problem lies in practicing certain tasks such as “phonetic or semantic shadowing (repeating, or rephrasing, without a change of language), or talking about what the speaker is saying instead of translating (‘reportage’ or ‘bavardage intelligent’)” (Setton & Darwant, 2016, p.61). Lambert (1992,p.262) defines shadowing as “a paced, auditory tracking task which involves immediate vocalization of auditorily presented stimuli, i.e. word-for-word repetition, in the same language, parrot style, of a message presented through headphones.” That is, the trainee-interpreters should listen to the ST, imitate the speaker of the ST to learn how to listen and speak simultaneously. People have different cognitive abilities and differ in the speed to store, retrieve and manipulate information. Then, the trainee-interpreters should paraphrase the ST into their own language to make sure that they understand it.  They were encouraged to shadow daily by asking them to listen to materials in American English and to try to paraphrase the ST into their own words. The practicing of shadowing was of a great benefit for those trainee-interpreters who practiced more exercises at home; it helped them in improving their pronunciation, understanding and paraphrasing abilities.

Note-Taking Problems

Note-taking is important in CI, but trainee-interpreters should not write every single word of the text; they should write abbreviations for the cornerstone words in the text. It is “a means to help overcome memory’s shortcomings and could be likened in a crutch.” ; its use therefore should be limited to difficult information that can be restored or retrieved from the memory such as figures, names and numbers (Lambert & Ilg, 1996,p.78).Rozan (1956) suggests seven principles for note-taking technique in consecutive interpretation: Noting the idea and the word, the rules of abbreviation (abbreviation of words, indicating gender and tense and abbreviating the register), links, negation, adding emphasis, verticality and shift. Liu (1994, p.107), cited in Setton & Dawrant (2016), observes that it is “too vague to be of practical use in a Consecutive class […] because students do not really know how to economize on their notes if they are not properly guided.”  That is, trainee-interpreters should 'write less words'. "The Standard Method of Note-Taking for Consecutive is in many ways a unique intellectual and cultural phenomenon. The fun of learning, inventing and using symbols and pictures and layout to help capture and faithfully render a speaker’s message should be irresistible to most bright, thinking people with a linguistic turn of mind" (Setton & Daawrant, 2016, p.171).Therefore, trainee-interpreters were trained to invent their own note-taking system such abbreviations i.e. (X for one time, xx for many times and so). They should be creative in inventing using the simplest signs and abbreviations that they can easily understand and remember.

      Most of them encountered problems in note-taking and in understanding these notes during the reproduction process. When they have lack of understanding of the source speech, this can affect their notes, as the interpreters write numbers wrongly, especially numbers of more than three digits. In addition, they are trying to write the whole words and sentences rather than focusing on the idea of the discourse. Therefore, this will distort their thinking and understanding. Moreover, when they do not understand the meaning of a certain word this will affect the rest of the listening material. To put it other words, they are trying to write everything they heard, and this is an impossible task. Also, the study finds that some trainee-interpreters were unable to understand their own notes, because of the lack of connectors, unclear notes of memory problems. Most of listening problems occur with numbers of two digits, for example, 57 is interpreted as [fifty seven]   خمسة وسبعون instead of    [seventy five]سبعة وخمسون.

       Note-reading lies in the lack of understanding and concentration, as they write symbols or abbreviations unconsciously. Most of the trainee-interpreters state that at the beginning they were unconvinced of the significance and effectiveness of note-taking in consecutive interpretation. Also, they relied on short-term memory in storing and retrieving the information. However, after doing the tasking, they were highly convinced about its effectiveness. In addition, those who relied on note-taking provided successful interpretations. This result is supported by Lambert’s (1983) finding that subjects who took notes during the experiment showed significant scores than those who did not.

      The trainee-interpreters should create their easiest note-taking system as this will facilitate the process of interpretation and leads to adequate interpretation through time. Furthermore, they should keep in mind that they can retain third of the input in their notes and discard the two-third of the input (Lambert, 1983). To illustrate, some information can be redundant or repetitious, and it is impossible to record all the ST. Also, some theorists argue that the trainee-interpreters should take-notes in the TT not in the ST because this will facilitate the process of note-reading and understanding. However, Gile (2009) states that the time between listening to the ST and taking notes is short; thinking in TL equivalent for ST during the listening process needs extra processing capacity and ‘increases risks of saturation.’

Memory Problems

Training memory in CI is essential; “the interpreter needs a good short-term memory to retain what he or she has just heard and a good long-term memory to put the information into context. Ability to concentrate is a factor as is the ability to analyze and process what is heard" (Phelan, 2001, pp.4-5). Gile (2009,p.165) states some operations of STM: the time-lag “between the moment speech sounds are heard and the moment they are interpreted;” and the time for speech production such as choosing the suitable words and syntactic structures and producing speech; the characteristics of  the speaker’s speech, “if the speech is unclear because of its logic, information density, unusual linguistic structure or speaker’s accent, the interpreter may wish to wait for a short while before reformulating it” (Gile, 2009,p.166) and language-specific factors such as ‘inversions in determination sequences.’

     It has been noticed that some trainee-interpreters lost their concentration during the process of listening and reproduction. Most of them lost their concentration during the reception process due to several reasons such as distraction, forgetting, carelessness, thinking of what has been said before and what is being said. This may happen when they listen to a difficult word that they do not know its meaning, and this may distract their attention. Firstly, we should keep in mind that Arabic and English are two remote languages, as they have different syntax, grammar, and morphology.  Therefore, Arab interpreters encounter difficulties in the process of production. The biggest challenge that trainee-interpreters have is that they are trying to know the meaning of every single word. However, they were informed that focus should be on the whole message rather on every single word. As a result, they lose concentration and they miss what has been said; they render the message incompletely or wrongly. In example (2) below, which lasted for one minute, one student rendered the first paragraph nearly correct. However, the next paragraph was rendered wrongly by some respondents as they inserted ideas or words which do not exist in the ST. For example, some of them added [On Wednesday, Obama did several phone calls] یوم الاربعاء عمل اوباما عدة مکالمات. Another one added the phrase سیغادر اوباما الى شیکاغو[ Obama will move to Chicago] and  شکروه[ people thanked him for these news] الناس لهذه الأخبار . However, these do not exist in the ST. In addition, trainee-interpreters omitted the word [celebrities]  مشاهیر, [farewell speech]خطاب وداع   because they seem not to know their meanings.

Example (1) quoted from VOA and titled "Michelle Obama Surprises Supporters on 'Tonight Show'.

Barack and Michelle Obama are saying their goodbyes, as their time in the White House comes to an end. The President and First Lady have been making their final speeches and television appearances. Michelle Obama recently did a farewell interview with television host Oprah Winfrey. Barack Obama gave his farewell speech to the American people in Chicago on Tuesday night. And on Wednesday, Michelle Obama had some fun with late night television host Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show. “One part of the show the first lady took part in is called “Thank-You Notes.” It is a popular segment. In it, Fallon usually writes humorous “Thank-You Notes” to celebrities, people in the news or strange things he notices about life.

       According to Gile (2009), psychologists differentiate between three types of memories: Short–Term Memory (STM), Long-Term Memory (LTM) and Sensory Memory (SM).Human memory consists of   STM , where people can store and retrieve information for a short period of time that could be 6 - 12 seconds (Peterson & Peterson,1959), or 30 seconds as mentioned by Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) and Hebb (1949),and Lo LTM  where people can store information for a long period of time such as childhood memories and so on. Zhong (2003,p.2) states the characteristics of STM as a) input of information, the time taken for the information entered STM, ”a result of applying attention to the stimulus”, is about 30 seconds, b) capacity, it has limited capacity, c) modality, when storing information in STM, it must be programmed. D) Information Loss from STM occurs because of: (1) displacement the old information with the new one when the storage capacity of STM is full (Waugh and Norman, 1965) (2) Decay or fade information across the time (Baddeley, Thompson and Buchanan, 1975), as cited in (Zhong, 2003), that is, information will be stored for a short period of time and then it will disappear. (3) the interference of the new information with the original one and changing it (Keppel and Underwood, 1962), as cited in (Zhong, 2003).E)theRetrievalof information from STM by: (1) Serial search where items in STM are checked once until the wanted information is retrieved (Sternberg: 1966),as cited in (Zhong, 2003). (2) Activation of an item to reach a significant point (Monsell: 1979, Goodhead: 1999), as cited in (Zhong, 2003).

       We should keep in mind that the difficulty of ST is varied. Therefore, there should be certain exercises to activate the effectiveness of the short-term memories and concentration such as counting reversely from one hundred to zero, and if the trainee makes a mistake, s/he will repeat from the beginning, reading a paragraph from the bottom to the head or from right to left or vice versa and instead of writing To Do List, trying to imagine it in mind. Another exercise is writing a list of words on a piece of paper, looking for these words for two minutes and then putting the paper a way and trying to remember them and their order. All these exercises will boost the capacity of STM and concentration.

Reproduction of the Target Text

The most important stage in CI is the reproduction process or expressing and reformulating the ST into TT. This stage is called by Gile (2009, p.164) as production effort. Gile (2009) discusses some problems in the production effort process such as using SL structure and lexical choice in rendering  the message in TL, due to the grammatical difference between the two languages; “the danger of linguistic interference between the two languages, be it gross interference resulting in grammatical errors, mispronunciations and false cognates, or more discrete interference that will make the interpreter’s speech more hesitant, less idiomatic, less clear, less pleasant to listen to,” and the risk of rendering the surface meaning of the TL message. If the interpreter misunderstands the ST, this will negatively affect the TT. This is regularly happening with some interpreters, especially when they lose concentration, they tend to render unrelated information.

       The misunderstanding level can be partial, i.e. the interpreter misses the meaning of a sentence or a word, and it can be whole, i.e. the interpreter misses the whole message. Moreover, the psychological state of the interpreter affects his performance in interpretation, as some interpreters feel nervous during the reproduction process, as they aim to produce a well-developed TT. In addition, some interpreters have lack of confidence; even when they know the right interpretation, they hesitate sometimes during the reproduction process. They are worried about the consistency or accuracy of their interpretation. Consider the following interpretation of a trainee to example (2) above, it clearly indicates how the trainee-interpreter misunderstands the ST.

حدث الیوم باراک اوباماحدث الیوم باراک اوباما ومیشیل یودعون أخر یومهم فی( (hesitation یودعون اخر یومهم فی البیت الابیض  یقول أنه قد اقترب (hesitation) اقترب أخر یوم لهم فی البیت  أصبح قریبا یتحدث اوباما الى شعب أو أعطى خطاب لشعب أمریکا فی شیکاغو فیه أنه لیلة الثلاثاء أعطى أوباما خطابا لشعب أمریکا فی شیکاغو الاحتفال بالسیدة الأولى میشیل فقد شکرت على العرض  فی  (hesitation) فی الخطاب الأخیر لها فقد شکرت على العرض الذی عملوه فی التلفاز عنها (hesitation) جیمی فالن سیعرض فی حلقةسیعرض فی حلقة جیمی فیلین لیلة الأربعاء فی عرض المساء عن الخطاب الأخیر لهم وشکرو ملاحظات الناس على الاحتفال بهم.

Today's event Barack Obama Today's event Barack Obama and Michelle bid farewell to their last day in (hesitation) they bid farewell to their last day in the White House saying that it has approached (hesitation) approached their last day in the White House became soon Obama becomes talking to people or gave a speech to the people of America in Chicago in which he Tuesday night, Obama gave a speech to the people of America in Chicago to celebrate First Lady Michelle. She thanked for the show in (hesitation) in her last speech. She thanked for the show that they made on TV about (hesitation) Jimmy Fallen will be shown in an episode that will be shown in the episode Jimmy Feelen Wednesday night in Show the evening about their last speech and thank the people’s comments on Celebrate them.

       Having a closer look at this interpretation, it seems that the trainee-interpreter lost her concentration, and she misunderstood the ST. Therefore, her interpretation was full of repetition, hesitation and grammatical mistakes. Apparently that affected the reproduction process and resulted in producing unrelated TT. For example, أعطى خطاب[ gave a speech for the people of America in Chicago] لشعب أمریکا فی شیکاغو instead of  ألقى خطاب الوداع للشعب الامریکی فی شیکاغو [ He delivered a speech for the American people in Chicago]. In addition, the italicized section is completely irrelevant.

      Lambert (1989), as cited in Lambert (1992,p.264), suggests twelve pedagogical techniques that interpreter should exercise before starting CI and Simultaneous Interpretation; namely: “listening and recall ; shadowing; dual-task training or parallel processing; paraphrasing; abstracting or telescoping; closing; sight translation; sight interpreting ; lagging; anticipating; processing digits, names, acronyms; ear preference and hemispheric processing.” Lambert and Ilg (1996) emphasize practicing sight translation technique using unilingual exercises of written texts before starting the training stage for CI. This will give the trainees the ability to restructure and paraphrase these texts in auditory ones. Therefore, trainees will be able to process and analyze verbal texts quickly whether they are well- structured or not. After that trainees can develop anticipating abilities that help them to anticipate the following meanings associated with certain utterances. Also, they should concentrate on the process of speech comprehension and production as this will enable them to develop active listening skills; they will be able to rearrange their thoughts to produce a coherent and reasonable interpretation. 

The use of chunking and joining strategy was helpful in the reproduction process. That is, the trainee-interpreters should segment the ST into smaller chunks focusing on the keywords of each utterance, then joining these chunks to form a whole story. This strategy was effective, as it increased the trainees’ understanding of the ST. Another significant approach is practicing sight translation before doing CI, as it will enhance the trainee’s abilities to produce text effectively.


The study finds that misunderstanding the ST and memory problems were the most prominent challenges encountered by the trainee-interpreters. They also have linguistic problems such as providing the equivalent words, synonyms, collocations, word orders, grammatical mistakes and numbers. In addition, they have other problems such as the lack of knowledge in both Arabic and English, this can be evidenced from the poor and incoherent translation provided in Arabic. Other problems appeared in the datat analysis such as listening problems, lack of confidence (hesitation), note-taking and loss of concentration, this can be evidenced by the omitting of important information in the translation. To overcome these challenges, the trainee should practice certain strategies that enhance their listening skills such as shadowing, sight interpretation and listening and recall. Furthermore, trainees are encouraged to listen to English news TVs such as CNN, BBC, Voice of America, etc.  In addition, they should exercise their memories on daily basis to train themselves on keeping and retrieving information quickly. Besides, there should be intensive language training courses, and trainees should be inspired to practice consecutive interpretation daily because three hours of training in a week is not enough to master consecutive interpretation skills.


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