SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Conference Interpreting (English/Chinese)

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2022/2023
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 1

This module is to advance skills and knowledge in consecutive conference interpreting.  More specifically it will develop multilingual skills and strategies in the context of conference interpreting, i.e. active listening, note-taking, memory retention, oral presentation, public speaking and organisational skills. It will also impart general knowledge in typical areas of conference interpreting and professionalism. It will enable students to analyse the ideas and the information conveyed in speeches, so that they are able to transfer those ideas from English into Chinese, and vice versa with ease, at both linguistic and cognitive levels, in the professional context of conference interpreting.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will have

  • Background knowledge of areas listed in syllabus
  • An understanding of cognitive processes involved in interpreting
  • Development of an effective note-taking system
  • An ability to work as a professional conference interpreter, and in the context of bilateral interpreting
  • Other Transferable/Key Skills and other attributes: Research skills to apply to documentation work that interpreters have to undertake prior to conference assignments. Note-taking techniques and memorisation. Ability to communicate and to mediate successfully.


This course will be taught over 10 weeks with 3 hours classroom contact per week - 1.5 in lectures and 1.5 in seminars.  

Scope and syllabus

  • Week 1Introduction to the module and diagnostic practice (two formal general conference speeches with limited technical terms, both C->E and E->C)
  • Week 2 Review of note-taking techniques and introduction to interpreting meetings and conferences in formal settings (Speech themes: international relations)
  • Week 3 Speech theme: International and National Affairs/Relations/Politics
  • Week 4 Speech themes: Technologies – General Science/Environment/Ecology/technology/medical
  • Week 5 Speech themes: Technologies – General Science/Environment/Ecology/technology/medical
  • Week 6 Reading Week (background/discipline reading as listed)
  • Week 7 Formal Settings/Formal expressions in A/B Langs (speech themes: Ceremonial speeches)
  • Week 8 Speech themes: Economy and finance
  • Week 9 Speech themes: cultural and educational exchanges/development
  • Week 10 Speech themes: Legal settings/Business settings
  • Week 11  Speech themes: economic and finance/news conferences

Method of assessment


  • live interpreting of 2 short speeches of 2-3 minutes each in a consecutive mode from and into Chinese 40%
  • live interpreting: speechs of 3-5 minutes in a consecutive mode from and into Chinese English 60%
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page

Suggested reading

  • Gile, Daniel (1995) Basic Concepts and Models for Interpreter and Translator Training, Amsterdam: J. Benjamins Publishing Co.
  • Edwards, Alicia Betsy (1995)  The Practice of Court Interpreting,  Amsterdam: J. Benjamins Publishing Co.
  • Gentile, Adolfo (1996)  Liaison Interpreting : A Handbook,  Carlton South: Melbourne University Press
  • Jone, Roderick (2002) Conference Interpreting Explained, Manchester: St Jerome Publishing
  • UN conference speeches
  • On-line resources


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules