Training teachers of interpreting

Date: 9 November, 2011
Location: Room lF1, Language Centre, 2nd Floor, Parkinson Building, University of Leeds
Event type: Practitioner Workshop

Location map | Programme

EVENT TIMINGS : 10.00 - 16.00

Presenter/facilitator: National Network for Interpreting , Svetlana Carsten and Catriona Howards (University of Leeds)

With the growing demand for L1 English interpreters in UN and EU institutions in 2000s, increased interest among young language learners in interpreting encouraged MFL departments to add interpreting as an optional or core subject to their curricula. This new interest followed a ten-year period of low priority for teaching interpreting. However, in the 1970s and 1980s during the height of the subject’s popularity, lively debates persisted among academics in the UK and continental Europe on the main question arising when training interpreters: should interpreting be taught at undergraduate or postgraduate level? With the welcome re-emergence of interpreting modules this compelling question is now back on the agenda.

This workshop will be of interest to:

  • MFL lecturers or tutors who are teaching, or would like to teach, interpreting at undergraduate level

The main outcomes of the workshop are:

We hope that by the end of the day the participants will have a good understanding of the difference between interpreting training at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and will have discussed and agreed on asset of skills that are essential for undergraduate students in order to progress to a professional level of training. We will also demonstrate that, with the right approach, interpreting could be an engaging way to learn language. The participants are expected to take part in a range of practical exercises which they could offer to the students they teach.

Resources: In the course of the day on-line resources will be used. These are being developed by the National Network for Interpreting. The website which houses these resources ( contains a range of interactive activities designed to engage the interest of young learners, undergraduate students and the wider public in the profession of interpreting. The website also contains the information on training and working as an interpreter.

A short reading list on interpreting that may be useful for undergraduate students can be downloaded here pdf PDF (PDF 340.93 KB)

Slides from the workshop are now available to view here. pdf PDF (PDF 252.86 KB)


  • There is a charge of £125 to attend this event. 
  • Please note that we reserve the right to retain the £125 as a cancellation fee if you do not notify us by Wednesday 2 November 2011 that you are unable to attend.
  • Full details of our charging policy are available.
  • Lunch will be provided


Provisional programme for 9 November 2011
Time Session
10.00 - 10.30 Registration
10.30 - 11.30

Group discussion
The participants are invited to consider the following questions

Interpreting at undergraduate level:

  • Does interpreting come naturally or does it need proper training?
  • Can undergraduate programmes prepare students for a career in interpreting? Should training be offered at postgraduate level?
  • Should aptitude be taken into account?
  • What are the objectives of UG degrees or modules in Interpreting?
  • How is interpreting taught at UG level in the UK? What is the norm?
  • What resources are available to UG interpreting module convenors?
  • What is the value of Interpreting UG degrees/modules?

Postgraduate degrees in Interpreting:

  • Objectives
  • Pedagogy
  • Resources
  • Rationale and value
11.45 - 12.15 Group discussion
The participants are invited to reflect on their students’ skills.

What can your students do by the end of the module/course?
  • They are fluent in their Foreign Language (FL) and understand the language perfectly well. Can they provide an accurate interpretation of a 4-5-minute speech from FL (or into FL) consecutively
    • Without notes?
    • With notes?
  • Can they provide simultaneous interpretation?

If you teach interpreting modules can you please bring an example of the material that you use, e.g. texts, printed dialogues, tapes or DVDs, etc.

12.15 - 13.00 Group discussion
The participants are invited to reflect on the skills that their students’ need to possess in order to be competent interpreters
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 16.00

Practical work
The participants are invited to take part in a range of practical exercises which they could offer to the students they teach.

NOTE: Please, bring along some ideas on interesting and engaging topics and be prepared to give a short 3-4 min presentation on such topics. You are welcome to borrow interesting stories from the press but adapt these for oral performance.

16.00 Close