Les trois temps de l’interprétation consécutive

Christopher Thiéry “L’enseignement de la prise de notes en interprétation consécutive: un faux problème” in DELISLE, Jean, réd., L’enseignement de l’interprétation et de la traduction : de la théorie à la pédagogie, Cahiers de traductologie no 4, Éditions de l’Université d’Ottawa, Canada, 1981, 296 p, pp. 99-112.

Résumé de lecture Danielle-Claude Bélanger, 1990


1. Définition de l’interprétation consécutive

Il existe une forme d’interprétariat spontané qu’on peut dire de liaison», c’est l’action d’une personne qui connaît les langues en présence dans un échange linguistique et qui aide les interlocuteurs à comprendre le message en leur résumant en substance les informations véhiculées. Le plus souvent elle parle à la troisième personne».

L’interprétation de conférence se distingue de l’interprétariat spontané. Dans l’interprétation en consécutive, une formation spéciale doit être suivie. L’interprète parle à la première personne» à la fin de l’intervention de l’orateur, ceci dans un cadre formel et structuré.

2. Les trois temps de l’interprétation consécutive

L’interprétation en consécutive consiste à écouter une information, à se l’approprier mentalement et à la rendre pour un auditoire donné. Évidemment, cela présuppose un maîtrise parfaite des langues utilisées. Nous pouvons distinguer trois temps particuliers dans l’exécution d’une interprétation en consécutive.

A. Sens du message de l’orateur
Dans ce premier temps fort, il s’agit d’enregistrer le message. Dans une situation habituelle de communication, orateur et auditoire partagent le même univers symbolique, les auditeurs capteront le message de façon naturelle. Cela n’est pas le cas pour l’interprète car le message ne lui est pas destiné et il devra fournir un effort conscient afin d’enregistrer l’information et comprendre le message.

B. Discours de l’interprète
Une fois le premier temps écoulé, l’interprète devra rendre le message dans la langue du destinataire. Mais pour que son acte de parole soit réussi, il doit posséder quelques caractéristiques nécessaires à une bonne communication. C’est-à-dire que l’interprète doit posséder une volonté de dire en s’appropriant celle de l’orateur et une crédibilité lors de son exécution. Il doit posséder certains talents oratoires qui lui permettront de respecter l’intention première quant au fond, à la forme et à l’impact.

C. Prise de notes
La prise de notes est généralement nécessaire à l’interprétation en consécutive. C’est cependant un outil accessoire que certaines personnes pourront choisir d’ignorer. Les notes rendront le sens du message, elles n’en feront pas le résumé. Elles ne seront pas non plus de style sténographique. Elles représentent vraiment un outil dont la personne interprète se servira à sa convenance. Aussi, nulles normes, ni en regard de la production de notes, ni en regard de leur consultation, ne pourront être relevées.

3. Enseignement de l’interprétation consécutive

Les recherches et les analyses dans le domaine de l’interprétation consécutive furent tardives et longtemps superficielles car la profession ayant pris naissance de façon spontanée après la seconde guerre ne fit sentir que tard aux interprètes professionnels l’importance de comprendre et d’analyser les processus mis en oeuvre dans leur travail. Les premiers modèles étaient mécaniques et portaient surtout sur la prise de notes, en fait ils étaient peu utilisés car chaque interprète développe son propre système dans un effort créatif pour s’approprier les messages. Cela appartient au style propre de chacun. Dans l’enseignement de l’interprétation, il faut encourager et accélérer l’acquisition de ce savoir-faire, on distinguera trois temps : le premier temps fort consiste à donner un sens au propos de l’orateur par une construction intellectuelle ; dans le deuxième temps fort, l’interprète crée son propre discours ; dans le temps faible (accessoire), l’interprète se crée une méthode originale et adaptée aux circonstances pour noter. On peut pratiquer tout cela en classe.

Premier temps fort : l’enregistrement du message

Étape difficile : il ne faut pas se concentrer sur la forme du message mais sur son sens. En classe, on pourra faire des exercices d’extraction de sens. Il faut s’appuyer sur la capacité des jeunes interprètes à retenir le sens de deux ou trois idées mais sans fixer leur attention sur la forme en mémorisant ou en notant. Il faut faire preuve d’une souplesse d’esprit dans l’écoute. Il faut se mobiliser totalement face à l’orateur, par exemple en jugeant ses idées. Cela améliore la rétention du message.

Deuxième temps fort : réexpression du message

Il faut distinguer chez l’étudiant ou l’étudiante les insuffisances linguistiques et les difficultés de rétention. Le plus important est la rigueur de l’expression de la pensée, quelles que soient les idées défendues. Puis vient l’entraînement en tant que tel à la performance oratoire. Le plus difficile consiste à s’identifier à l’orateur tout en assimilant par soi-même la matière exposée, car on ne peut interpréter correctement ce qu’on n’a pas compris. 

Temps accessoire : prise de notes

On ne peut noter que ce qu’on a compris. Le professeur doit insister sur cela. Il n’y a pas de réponse générale à la question de savoir quoi noter, il ne peut donner que des conseils pratiques. Car les notes sont une mémoire externe.

Conseils pratiques
1. Donner la priorité à l’enregistrement ; 2. noter lisiblement ; 
3. hiérarchiser les idées dans l’espace de la feuille ; 4. utiliser des symboles déjà connus ; 5. veiller à la qualité du papier et du crayon ; 6. numéroter les idées ; 7. biffer les passages restitués ; 8. les notes sont consultées avant chaque restitution du message et non pas lues.

4. Conclusion

L’erreur à éviter en interprétation consécutive consiste à faire passer les notes avant le sens, la forme avant le message. L’interprète qui se concentre sur ses notes est incapable de restituer le message parce qu’il ou elle est trop absorbé par la production des notes et pas assez par la compréhension du message. Il ne faut pas oublier que la prise de notes n’est qu’un temps accessoire.

How do notes help? Andres

In the second part of her book, Konsekutivdolmetschen und Notation, (2002, Peter Lang), Doerte Andres offers probably the most thorough and systematic analysis of different interpreters’ note-taking techniques yet undertaken. A summary of the conclusions is offered here. Hier in Originalfassung (auf Deutsch)

Doerte Andres describes a study in which 14 students and 14 professional interpreters were asked to interpret the same speech, Jacques Chirac’s New Year address 1996/7 (Part 1Part 2), consecutively. Each was filmed taking notes and giving back the speech and Andres has painstakingly noted the exact second at which each element was spoken in the original, appeared in the note-pad, and also was spoken by the interpreter. Large sections of the notes are also recreated in printed and thus legible form for the purposes of the analyses she them makes. Much has been written about consecutive, but we interpreters tend to say what we think rather than what we see and herein lies the beauty of this large empirical study. We can see what really goes on. 

For TEACHERS and interpreting researchers this body of work is the single most valuable resource available for the analysis of consecutive notes and the problems they pose. And it is available, albeit in its rawest form, at the following web address.

http://www.uni-mainz.de/~andres/Notizen.html

For STUDENTS it represents an excellent opportunity to see that other students have the same problems in consecutive, and why they have them. There is also the invaluable possibility of seeing how professionals solve the same problems. 

The conclusions Andres draws from this exceptional study are extremely interesting and as follows, 

1. A clear system for notation which includes fixed rules for abbreviation and a core of unambiguous symbols can help save time, which can then be used for other operations. 

2. Verbs and expressions of time are significant in reproducing what was said. 

3. According different weights to and structuring the layout of elements within the notes serve to intensify the operation ‘comprehension’ and facililitate the reproduction of the [source] text. 

4. The segmentation and arrangement of the notes on the page can facilitate assignation [of meaning] and have a positive effect on oral reproduction. 

5. Noting link words is an important part of ensuring cohesion. 

6. The time lag [between hearing and writing] is dependent on and can be allowed to vary according to how quickly something has been understood. 

7. Everyone has to discover their own [ideal] time lag 

8. A continued time lag of more than 7 seconds causes gaps to appear in the comprehension or notation [of the original]. 

9. discontinuous noting [noting elements in a different order to the order they are presented by the speaker – or in practice, going back and adding something to your notes from a previous section] can be helpful in structuring and completing the information [noted]. 

10. Rhetorical components are more easily reproduced if they have been noted down. 

11. Gaps in the comprehension or notation processes among students reappear in the production phase. 

These observations show clearly, how important and helpful it is for students to deal in some detail with note-taking and how important a component skill [Teiloperation] an in-grained, reliable and efficient system for taking notes is. [It is] a skill which aids and intensifies the comprehension process and thus has a decisive influence on the target langauage output. (Andres p250, Translation into English ITR) 

( Note on the website. Students are numbered Ger, SB and HD, representing the different schools they were attending. The speech itself can be found under the first two links (Part 1, Part 2).

Wozu Notizen? Andres

Im zweiten Teil ihres Buches, Konsekutivdolmetschen und Notation, (2002, Peter Lang), bietet Doerte Andres dem Leser an, die bisher wahrscheinlich gruendlichste und systematischste Analyse der Notizentechnik beim Konsekutivdolmetschen. Ihre Schlussfolgerung sind hier wiedergegeben. (Conclusions in Englishavailable here)

In the second part of her book, Doerte Andres describes a study in which 14 students and 14 professional interpreters were asked to interpret the same speech, Jacques Chirac’s New Year address 1996/7 (Part 1Part 2), consecutively. Each was filmed taking notes and giving back the speech and Andres has painstakingly noted the exact second at which each element was spoken in the original, appeared in the note-pad, and also was spoken by the interpreter. Large sections of the notes are also recreated in printed and thus legible form for the purposes of the analyses she them makes. Much has been written about consecutive, but we interpreters tend to say what we think rather than what we see and herein lies the beauty of this large empirical study. We can see what really goes on. 

For TEACHERS and interpreting researchers this body of work is the single most valuable resource available for the analysis of consecutive notes and the problems they pose. And it is available, albeit in its rawest form, at the following web address. 

http://www.uni-mainz.de/~andres/Notizen.html

For STUDENTS it represents an excellent opportunity to see that other students have the same problems in consecutive, and why they have them. There is also the invaluable possibility of seeing how professionals solve the same problems. 

3.4. Notation

Die in dieser Untersuchung enthaltenen Daten lassen den Schluß zu, daß der Notation eine andere Bedeutung und Funktion zukommt, als in zahlreichen Publikationen bisher angenommen. Es geht bei der Notation nämlich letztendlich nicht um Fragen wie zielsprachliches oder ausgangssprachliches Notieren, um die Anzahl von Symbolen oder um den zeitlichen Abstand zwischen Informationsrezeption und Notation. Uns geht vielmehr darum, zu vermitteln, daß

1. ein deutlich geschriebenes Notationssystem mit festen Abkürzungsregeln und einem eindeutigen Stamm an Symbolen Zeitersparnis bewirkt, die für andere Operationen genutzt werden kann;

2. Verben und Tempusangaben fuer die Rekonstruktion des Gesagten ein wesentlicher Faktor sind;

3. Informationsgewichtung und -strukturierung in den Notizen die Verstehensoperationen intensivieren und die Textproduktion erleichtern;

4. Segmentierung und räumliche Anordnung in den Notizen das Zuordnen erleichtern und die Sprachproduktion positiv beeinflussen;

5. die Notation von Verknüpfungsmitteln ein wesentliches Element für die Herstellung von Kohäsion ist;

6. das Decalage in Abhängigkeit vom Faktor Verstehen Schwankungen unterworfen ist und sein darf,

7. jede Person das für sie individuelle Decalage herausfinden muß;

8. ein anhaltendes Decalage von mehr als 7 Sekunden zu Defiziten im Verstehens- oder im Notationsprozess führt,

9. diskontinuierliches Notieren zur Informationsstrukturierung oder – ver-vollständigung hilfreich sein kann;

10. rhetorische Merkmale in der Textproduktion leichter ücksichtigt werden, wenn diese in den Notizen markiert sind;

11. Defizite im Verstehensprozess und in den Notizen sich bei den Studierenden in der Präsentation widerspiegeln.

Diesen Schlußfolgerungen soll eine weitere Beobachtung hinzugefügt werden: In der Gruppe der Studierenden wurde in den Transkripten auch die Ausbildungsstätte vermerkt. Dies geschah in der Ueberlegung, ob sich Notationsschulen in den Notizen widerspielgen oder ob die Studierenden, losgelöst von der Notationsdiktion der jeweiligen Institute, ihre eigenen individuellen Notationstechniken entwickeln. Die Untersuchungen haben eindeutig gezeigt, daß die Studierenden das aufgreifen und eventuell weiterentwickeln, was ihnen an Notationsformen in den Instituten angeboten wird. Es bildet die Grundlage, auf der sie aufbauen und die sie als Professionelle beibehalten.

Die Studierenden der Universität Heidelberg arbeiten mehr als die übrigen Studierenden mit Symbolen, d.h. der Notation nach Matyssek (Matyssek 1989): sprachunabhängige Symbole, Buchstabensymbole, Tempusmarkierungen. Die wenigsten Symbole, viele ausgeschriebene Wörter und Abkürzungen in Form von Wortanfängen sind bei den Studierenden der Universität Saarbrücken zu finden. Die Studierenden der Universität Mainz/Germersheim benutzen ein Mischsystem der verschiedensten Notationsweisen: Matyssek, Rozan, Herbert, d.h. eine Mischung aus einigen Symbolen, ausgeschriebenen Wörtern, Wortanfängen und Abkürzungen.

Diese Beobachtungen machen insgesamt deutlich, wie wichtig und hilfreich für die Studierenden eine intensive Auseinandersetzung mit der Notation ist, wie wichtig ein trainiertes, verläßliches, effizientes Notationssystem als eine Teiloperation ist, die den Verstehensprozeß stützt und intensiviert und damit entscheidenden Einfluß auf die Qualität der zielsprachlichen Umsetzung nimmt.

Die Rede finden Sie unter folgenden 2 Links (Teil 1Teil 2)

Rozan and diagonal note-taking

J-F. Rozan’s seminal book, La Prise de notes dans l’interpretation consecutive, published nearly 50 years ago, is still the foundation of most teaching of consecutive today and the basis of most interpreters note-taking methods – even if they don’t all know it! 

In the book Rozan was the first to describe the advantages of noting diagonally across the page rather than horizontally as we do when writing normally.

Because of formatting difficulties the extract is available as a short downloadable Word file.

Splitting ideas

“The first rule of consecutive interpreting is that the real work must already have been done when you start reading back your notes: the text, its meaning and the links within it, must have been perfectly understood.”
Jean-Francois Rozan

Everyone will tell you to note ideas and not words. But what constitutes an idea? Below is a simple introduction to recognizing ideas which can help in the early stages of learning consecutive interpreting.

What is an idea?/  Well let’s ask ourselves what is the basic unit for communicating an idea in language.Answer: the sentence.And what arethe basic units of a sentence?Answer: Subject, Verb, (Complement, often but not always, an Object)

This may sound simplistic but see how it works in the text below. This is a speech given by Chris Patten to the European Parliament on July 3rd 2000.

The exercise is then to ignore all the padding and additional information and to identify the essential Subject Verb (Object) units that make up the backbone of the speech and seperate them from one another…for example by hitting the ‘return’ key twice.

   In the areas for which I have some responsibility, there were also, as the Prime Minister has mentioned, some important developments at Feira. We took stock of the European Union’s relations with Russia and the situation there, including in Chechnya, in the light of the recent EU-Russia Summit, which I think was regarded as fairly successful. It is too early to judge President Putin’s economic programme; however, our basic message is that a sound programme will be vital to boost investor confidence.    In Chechnya, there have, it is true, been some recent moderately positive developments in response to international and European Union pressure: for example the recent ECHO mission was able to take place and western humanitarian agencies have greater access to the area. The conflict nevertheless continues and we still have considerable concerns. In particular, we want to see much greater access for humanitarian aid agencies. We want to see genuinely independent investigation into reports of human rights abuses, and we want to see a real dialogue between the Russian government and the Chechens. 

The first unit of Subject Verb (Complement) is….

SVC
There….were…..developments

Yes grammatically one can argue about the correctness of calling “there” the subject but you get my drift. It’s a long sentence but all of the rest of the information is secondary and has been tacked onto the basic framework which is ” There…….. were……..developments. “. 

SVC
We….took stock of…relations (with Russia) and the situation there

If we continue to do the same throughout the passage we might arrive at the following. Notice that the ‘sentences’ range in length from 4 – 21 words, but each contains only one S V O unit, only one idea. 

In the areas for which I have some responsibility, there were also, as the Prime Minister has mentioned, some important developments at Feira.We took stock of the European Union’s relations with Russia and the situation there, including in Chechnya, in the light of the recent EU-Russia Summit, which I think was regarded as fairly successful. It is too early to judge President Putin’s economic programme;however, our basic message is that a sound programme will be vital to boost investor confidence. On Chechnya, there have, it is true, been some recent moderately positive developments in response to international and European Union pressure: for example the recent ECHO mission was able to take place and western humanitarian agencies have greater access to the area.The conflict nevertheless continues and we still have considerable concerns. In particular, we want to see much greater access for humanitarian aid agencies. We want to see genuinely independent investigation into reports of human rights abuses, and we want to see a real dialogue between the Russian government and the Chechens. 

Try doing the same thing with a number of texts. Compare with your colleagues and see if you agree on the divisions.

How does this help in consecutive? Imagine each S V O group above as section of your notes. On one page of your note pad you have room for two sections of notes, in which you note the Subject Verb and Object diagonally across the page. The sections are seperated by a horizontal line. 

Note the passage above in this way…. 

Now you are ready to try doing the same thing with the spoken word. Listen for the idea, the ‘who is doing what to who’. Note only that. At the initial stages it would be a mistake to try and get all the detail. Work on the essence first and the detail will come with practice.

You don’t, either, have to be very literal and take exactly the same words or elements as the speaker has used as their SVO. Indeed it is a demonstration of real analysis and understanding when you start noting the SVO groups with more freedom, for example you can note

  1. Note shorter synonyms.
  2. Note a different SVO group with the same meaning.
  3. Noting only two of the three elements in SVO.
  4. Make several short sentences out of one long one.

Book review / Note-taking for Consecutive

The following review of Andrew Gillies’ book, Note-taking for Consecutive Interpreting, was written for this site by Martin Wooding. Martin is a staff interpeter at the European Parliament with 20 years experience in the job and is editor of the EP’s interpreter bulletin, LINGUA FRANCA. He has also been involved in interpreter training for, and at, the EP for many years, most recently with young Bulgarian interpreters.

Reviewed by Martin Wooding

Having gone through the dismal experience of evaluating many a student insufficiently trained in the art of proper consecutive note-taking, I would be relieved if Andrew Gillies’ handy guide to the subject were made compulsory reading in the class-room. Clearly organised, attractively presented and written (refreshingly) in English, it provides welcome support for professional standards. 

Whilst it is true (and the author readily concedes this point) that every interpreter has his own manner of noting a speech, it is also true that some manners are superior to others. The natural tendency of the uninitiated is to note keywords as one would compose an ordinary text, line after line. Maybe in places where the paper supply is a major constraint this method has some primitive virtue to it, and if your memory is sound you may additionally manage to preserve the details of the original in the right order. However, I have yet to see an interpreter reproduce a speech on this basis, rather than regurgitate lifeless words. 

The key to a good consecutive rendering is structure. No interpreted speech stands up without the backbone of a structure. In fact, as Mr Gillies intimates, an interpreter is almost forced by his profession to structure his output more rigorously than the original speaker. The speaker chooses words intuitively, and as long as he sticks to his own experience his discourse is going to carry some conviction, with or without a formal structure. The interpreter is not choosing words to fit an experience of his own, but doing his best to imitate someone else’s. Here is all the difference between nature and art. The firm structure of the artefact has to make up for what nature cannot supply. 

Structure is the reason why the well-advised interpreter notes his link-words in the left-hand margin and writes diagonally across the page. Structure is why he separates each idea with a horizontal stroke. Structure is why he makes a vertical stack of conceptually similar items (parallel values in Mr Gillies’ terminology). The good consecutive interpreter is an efficient sorter. As each part of the jigsaw is handed to him he diligently places it in its category: the edge bits here, the other bits there according to colour. He knows that’s the only way to rebuild the picture when his turn comes. 

After progressing through the classical approach to structure in his section on the ‘Basics’, Mr Gillies adds a ‘Fine-tuning’ section with a wealth of valuable little tips from which I daresay even seasoned practitioners may learn a thing or two. Browsing this section is rather like visiting a professional cookery store and discovering there is actually some clever little implement which copes elegantly with a task you had previously deemed irksome. I certainly came away with a couple of new tools I look forward to using. 

The stream of books about interpretation is sluggish at best. Professional interpreters don’t write about their job, and students don’t read. This would be fine if there were enough of the first category to impart their skills by personal example to the second. With the rapid development of the market for interpretation and the appearance of many new languages on the conference scene, this condition is very far from being fulfilled. Interpreting is taught by non-interpreters to students who have no exposure to the real thing. Moreover, the eastward infiltration of the ‘extended’ mode of consecutive interpretation has disoriented even professional teaching methods in Central Europe. Andrew Gillies’ book therefore spreads the Gospel at a time when aspiring interpreters sorely need to hear it.

Rozan book review ITI

The following review of the new English translation of Rozan’s seminal work on note-taking in consecutive, La prise de notes en interprétation consécutive , appeared in the ITI bulletin July-August 2005.

Note-taking in Consecutive InterpretingTertium Cracow 2004.

Note-taking in Consecutive Interpreting by Jean-François Rozan

Edited by Andrew Gillies and Bartosz Waliczek ISBN: 83-914764-9-0 Cracow Tertium Society for the Promotion of Language Studies Reviewed by Florence Mitchell

This book revives le Rozan, the slim booklet published in 1956 which presented the note-taking system now used by all consecutive interpreters. Rozan’s text is translated here into English by Andrew Gillies and into Polish by Bartosz Waliczek.

Originally written in French, it will now be accessible to a wider audience. Not too long ago we had a useful chapter on Consecutive interpreting in Roderick Jones’s book (Conference Interpreting Explained, St Jerome 1998), but this is a welcome return to the words of the Master, with just a twist of modernisation.

Taking notes while interpreting is notoriously difficult and yet essential. You might well interpret two sentences from memory, even 3 or 4 if you have your wits about you. But come the fifth sentence you will have forgotten the first and the second. Your brain is constantly working overtime, leaving you with just a faint idea of what it was all about. That’s why a notebook and a pen are an interpreter’s best friends, but they only help if your note-taking system is already properly established. Training systematically may take six months or more in order to reach the point where you become unaware that you are noting something down and simply listen to the ideas behind the words you hear.

Some will ask, is it worth the investment in time and effort? Yes it is, if you are preparing for exams in simultaneous interpreting at the European Commission or at any of the other major international organisations which employ interpreters, as consecutive interpreting tests are invariably the first hurdle. Being able to take notes is also invaluable for freelance conference interpreters who may have to work away from the booths. Be it an afterdinner speech or a press conference, interrupting speakers or asking them to repeat anything is out of the question.

This is a slim book with 60 pages in English and another 60 in Polish. It first came out two years ago, but was not widely available. In the meantime Andrew Gillies has also produced his own book, Note-taking for Consecutive Interpreting – A Short Course, which will be available in September 2005 from St Jerome in its collection ‘Translation Practices Explained’.

Jean-François Rozan interpreted at the UN and taught at the Geneva School for many years, but he left it all to pursue other interests. 

ITI bulletin July-August 2005 36 www.iti.org.uk

Is there a note-taking system I can learn?

You don’t have to invent your own note-taking system!

If you are studying conference interpreting at some stage you will undoubtedly hear, or be told, „that no two interpreters’ notes are the same” and quite possibly, that „every interpreter has to develop their own note-taking system”. The two ideas are often taken to mean the same thing, however, and this is not quite true.

No two interpreters’ notes are the same, and interpreters cannot read each other’s notes with any degree of accuracy – this much is true. However, it is not true to say that every interpreter must develop their own system for note-taking from scratch (and that by extension no systems for note-taking can be taught or learnt.) 

If we look carefully at a several experienced interpreters’ notes and ask each interpreter what is going on in a given section of notes what we see is, that, through the fog of apparently distinct note-taking systems, a whole array of very significant similarities appear – diagonal notes, margins, links, lines between ideas, a limited number of modulable symbols, verticality and more. Most of these fundamentals can actually be traced directly back to the father of note-taking in consecutive, Jean-Francois Rozan and his seminal work La Prise de notes dans l’interprétation consécutive. Others like noting subject-verb-object have been around almost as long (see Ilg’s explanation of Andronikov’s suggestion) and have been consolidated in books like Roderick Jones’ Conference Interpreting Explained.

If you’re starting out it would be a good idea to make the following the basis of your note-taking system.

These suggestions (or indeed any of the books that suggestion note-taking systems) should allow you to benefit from ideas which have served generations of interpreters very well while leaving plenty of room to incorporate your own ideas and solutions.

Note the underlying meaning not the word usedRozan Part 1.1
Diagonal notation (Shift)
Note the Subject, Verb and Object of each idea diagonally across the page. Separate each idea with a horizontal line across the page.
Separate ideas on the page Often equivalent to a sentence or Subject-Verb-Object group ideas are divided from one another on the page with a horizontal line. Interestingly Rozan did not explicitly suggest this in his book, but he did do it in all the example notes he gave and his example has been widely followed.)
VerticalityNoting vertically, from top to bottom on the page, rather than from left to right is the distinguishing characteristic of Rozan’s system, and one that you will find in almost all interpreters’ notes. Together with diagonal notes (shift) it goes to make up sections of notes that read from top-left to bottom-right. Click here to see what this looks like Rozan Part 1.6
Links …are essential to the cohesion of a speech and should be noted on the left of the page.
Symbols… must be clear and used consistently. Rozan Part 2.2
Rules for abbreviationClear, efficient (time-saving) and consistent rules for creating abbreviations. Rozan Part 1.2

Principles of Note-taking – Rozan

The following text is taken from a new translation of Jean-Francois Rozan’s masterpiece “Note-taking in Consecutive Interpreting” which is now available again, this time in English and Polish translations. It is reprinted here without the permission of the publishers Tertium, Cracow, Poland. If you like the extract below please visit their site and buy THE text on Consecutive note-taking there.

Note-taking in Consecutive Interpreting, Rozan, Jean Francois, (1956 Geneve, Georg), 2005 Tertium, Cracow.

Because of formatting difficulties the extract is available as a pdf file below.

Note-taking tips Christopher Thiéry

The following is taken from,

Christopher Thiéry, L’enseignement de la prise de notes en interpretation consecutive : un faux probleme? In Delisle, Jean (ed) L’enseignement de l’interpretation et de la traduction – de la theorie a la pedagogie. Cahiers de traductologie 4. Ottawa 1981. 99-112.

Chistopher Thiéry is a legend of the profession. A member of AIIC from its beginnings, Chief Interpreter at the French Foreign Ministry and Director of ESIT for many years. This article contains the following very useful tips about consecutive note-taking and interpreting.

Tips

1 Write the thing that comes most quickly to your pen

2 Don’t look for equivalences while listening, now is not the time (unless the speaker pauses for some reason) 

3 If you are not understanding, STOP taking notes and LISTEN!

4 Note legibly 

5 Abbreviate long words 

6 Use the space available to portray the heirarchy of ideas and… 

7 …to place those ideas relative to one another 

8 Separate the different parts of the message (which often correspond to sentences), using horizontal lines 

9 The structure of the page should be visible from 3 feet away 

10 Use signs and symbols which already exist 

11 Use individual letters as symbols if they are clear in a given meeting or context 

12 Make sure that the colour of the pen (or pencil) and paper that you use are such that the former clearly stands out against the latter 

13 Number the pages if they are not bound 

14 Cross out each passage in your notes as you complete reading it back 

15 Glance at each section of your notes BEFORE speaking

16 Look up at your audience