Activation exercises

Activation exercises

Remember – activation and preparation are not the same thing.

C.3 Just a Minute

‘Just a minute’ is UK radio game show in which one person must speak on given subject, without hesitation or repetition, for 60 seconds or more. The speaker doesn’t know in advance what the subject is. The subject is suggested by the others in the group and they then asssess the speaker’s performance according to a set of public speaking guidelines you have been working with as part of your course.

To use this an activation exercise simply choose the topic you want to activate as the topic for your speeches.

Can you speak fluently and confidently on any subject at a few seconds notice? This exercise will help you to sound confident even when you are not.

C.4 Just a Minute 2

When you are comfortable with the exercise Just a Minute (C.1) above extend the time the speaker has to improvise for towards 2 minutes and then add the following element to the exercise.

One of the people listening shows a card (to the speaker) with a word or concept written in large letters on it. The person speaking must incorporate the word/concept on the card coherently into the improvised speech.

A further stage is to show the card only to the speaker and not to the other listeners. Those listeners must try to guess what was on the card from the speaker’s intonation. If the speaker has mastered the art of controlled public speaking they will not give away which word was on the card by, for example, sounding hesitant or smiling when they come to include that word in their improvised speech.

A.31 Improvise from prepared information

Take a topic that has been prepared and on which you have read a good deal of material. Before the speaker starts giving the speech (or you start looking at a text for sight-translation), get the interpreter(s) to pretend to be the speaker and improvise for a few minutes on the topic.

B.44 Vocabulary ball

Pick a subject, perhaps the subject of the days lesson. Throw the ball to someone. That person must (catch the ball) and improvise for 1 minute, spitting out as much vocab and idiom related to the subject as possible.

Source: Llewylln-Smith

A.37 Sight translation

If you can find the text of a speech on a subject similar to the one you are going to interpret, then doing a sight translation of that text is an excellent way to prepare. It will give you an opportunity to practise actually using the expressions and terminology that you have collected while preparing. It may sound trivial, but it is much harder to work out, or recall, and then use a translation, or expression, a first time, than it is any of the subsequent times. Consequently it is better to make sure that the ‘first time” is not in the booth, but part of your preparation.

*Exercises from Conference Interpreting – a students’ practice book, Andrew Gillies