The following is taken from p41 of Roderick Jones’ fantastic book, Conference Interpreting Explained, (Routledge). You should buy the book and then I may be let off posting bits of it to this site.
To find out more about Roderick Jones, click here!!
2.2 What to note
The first thing to be noted should be the main ideas, first because they are the most significant elements of a speech, and secondly because they are the pillars of its structure.
It is also important to systematically note the links between the different ideas as well to divide them very clearly. Another element which has to be clear is the point of view being expressed: the audience must immediately realize who is speaking.
As far as verbs are concerned, there are two basic things which must appear in the notes : verb tenses, with special attention to conditional forms, and modal verbs, whose semantic role in the sentence is always of paramount importance.
Other fundamental data are numbers, dates and proper names, which must be noted accurately, being preferable in a good interpretation to miss some elements of another sentence than to get names or statistics wrong.
These are some of the basic needs in consecutive interpreting as regards note-taking.Of course, interpreters have their own styles, and they could note down almost everything, or just the main elements, if they trust their short-term memory. Anyway, noting down everything, without paying the proper attention to active listening, must be avoided at all costs.