Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module LANG40415: Interpreting Process and Practice

Department: Language Centre

LANG40415: Interpreting Process and Practice

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap None



  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module aims to introduce students to the historical background of the interpreting profession, and then focus on current models and practices of monologue and dialogue interpreting, and the relevance of spoken language interpreting studies and translation theory. Students will examine the complex cognitive and linguistic processes involved in moving from the source to the target language during interpretation and will begin to develop skills by way of practical consecutive interpreting tasks. The module will provide information on theoretical accounts of such aspects of interpreting as attention, visual and auditory memory, message analysis, concepts of 'equivalency', and paraphrasing.
  • Throughout, there will be opportunities to develop techniques of self-analysis, informed also by observations of qualified interpreters, which interpreters use to monitor their work. Strategies for preparation for interpreting assignments, as well as preparing translations, will also be discussed and employed in simulated interpreting situations. This is the first module of four in the programme, and is designed to provide an introduction to the theory and the practical skills required for interpreting from BSL to English and vice-versa. Consecutive interpreting provides the initial memory and processing training which form the necessary base on which skills in simultaneous interpreting can then be built.
  • The module applies the linguistic and cultural knowledge gained in the 'Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced BSL and Related Studies' (or equivelent APL) to the interpreting skills being learnt.


  • The link between source text and target text is central to any notion of interpreting and the issue of equivalence is interrogated as are the concepts of translation and interpreting.
  • The module investigates theories of translation, the relationship to ways of approaching interpreting and factors that influence the process
  • Students will examine the complex cognitive and linguistic processes involved in moving from the source to the target language during interpretation and will begin to develop interpreting skills by way of practical consecutive translation and interpreting tasks

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Describe and critically review the historical and current theories and practices of the BSL/English Interpreting profession, and its relationship with spoken language interpreting studies and translation theory
  • Acquire a depth of understanding of the complex cognitive and linguistic processes involved in interpreting
  • Understand concepts of 'attention', visual memory', 'auditory memory', 'message analysis', 'equivalency', and 'paraphrasing', and describe how they relate to BSL/English interpreting.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Consecutively interpret short passages from BSL and English
Key Skills:
  • Apply techniques of self analysis to critically evaluate their own consecutive interpreting work
  • Apply techniques of preparation for interpreting assignments.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Laboratory Sessions: Practical interpreting skills (through guided practice).
  • Small-class teaching: Improved skills in BSL and English (through input), all subject specific knowledge.
  • Group practice sessions: Practical interpreting skills, improved skills in BSL and English.
  • Consecutive interpreting skills will be taught through guided practice in laboratory sessions using video and audio equipment, and through group practice sessions appropriate to the learning of a practical skill. Small-class teaching and lectures will be used for the learning of all subject specific knowledge. Classes will be conducted in both BSL and English as appropriate thereby enhancing student's language learning.
  • BSL does not have written form, has regional variations, and each signer has their own personal style. Therefore extensive use will be made of videoed examples of Deaf people using BSL in different situations for interpreting practice. Students will observe qualified interpreters working and will write up these experiences in log books so they can be discussed in class.
  • Interpreting is a skill that is most often used in live, face-to-face situations, and must be learned and practiced live. For consecutive interpreting, students will also be expected to prepare translations of either BSL videos or written English texts and present them in class time. They will also be given tasks for which they have limited time to prepare, which is often typical to real life interpreting.
  • The assessment scheme for this module is designed to test its theoretical knowledge about interpreting and students' consecutive interpreting skills. Student performance in simulated interpreting situations will be recorded regularly an audiotape and video for self-evaluation and tutor feedback (formative assessment).
  • Summative assessments will be in the form of interpreting exams (simulated interpreting situations in the classroom recorded on video for marking and feedback).
  • An essay - either written in English or presented in BSL - will be used to assess subject-specific knowledge. A log book of observations of qualified interpreters will also be formatively and summatively assessed to evaluate students' ability to apply subject-specific knowledge to real-life interpreting situations.
  • Both summative and formative assessments will address the student's ability to process information from the source language and the appropriateness of their output in the target language (both BSL and English).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 7 Twice a month approx. 2 hours 14
Tutorials 3 Once every 2 months 30 mins 1.5
Seminars 7 Once a month approx. 1 hour 7
Practicals 20 Three times a month approx. variable duration 17.5
Preparation and Reading 110
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay (2000 words or 20 minutes signed BSL) 100%
Component: Interpreting Exam Component Weighting: 65%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Part 1: BSL to English (consecutive) 50%
Part 2: English to BSL (consecutive) 50%
Component: Practicum log book Component Weighting: 15%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practicum log book (record of 3 observations totaling approx. 3 hours) 3 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessments: interpreting tasks in simulated interpreting situations in the classroom will be recorded on video for evaluation and feedback. Tutors will collect the video tapes for viewing prior to one-to-one and group feedback sessions. Log book entries will be discussed in classes and feedback given.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University