Log book for vocabulary

It’s useful to get into the habit of looking up unfamiliar terms and expressions when you come across them. That could be on a computer, but often you will be out and about when something appears, so a phone or a little note-book is often more practical.

Split the book into sections, for example:

At the back make a note of unfamiliar terminology regardless of how obscure. If you keep your eyes open you’ll constantly see new stuff, be it in the DIY store or the window of a temping agency. Do you know what a French coffreur does?

At the front make a note of expressions (and good translations thereof) that are more likely to come up in the sort of meetings that you interpret at. This means that when that term or expression comes up you will already have a version to hand. That saves time and stress in the booth.

Learning vocabulary, rather than just writing it down, will require you to revisit your notes again and again! Or try flashcards!

Recording Vocabulary

Making lists of words is the least likely way to help you remember any new vocabulary. Techniques based on the strengths of the human memory, like visual association (see also Linking and Vocab by Association), context and our own involvement in creating a structure of noting words, work much better. Here are a few examples from one of the best books of its type. Business English – An indiviualised learning program by Michael Lewis and Peter Wilberg.

You’ll find similar advice at the AIIC website: “In your glossary, include not only unfamiliar technical terms, but also recurring topical items of a more general nature, in order to contextualize yourself and to increase their ‘availability’, so that they are on the tip of your tongue when you need them.”

Business English, Michael Lewis and Peter Wilberg, LTP, 1990, Hove, UK.

The following two pages come together and are opposite one another in the book itself.