I had a day out of the office interpreting yesterday. I really enjoyed it, especially as it was a trip to France. The journey back on the Eurostar gave me the chance to think about how the meeting had gone and how I can maybe improve the way I work and the actual process of interpreting. The one area that I have never read any theory about or had specific training in is that of note taking. It’s not that I have a particular problem with it, and what I do works for me, but I have never sat down down to think about how I could make the best use of the notes I scribble while my clients are talking.
I tend to write down names, figures and dates, which are difficult to memorise, and keywords, with a sprinkling of signs indicating the relation between the words: => indicates a consequence, + indicates a coordination, etc. I think my work would really benefit from a more rigorous use of these signs which indicate the logical structure of what is being said. Thus, I would be able to write down not the words that are being used, but the general thinking and reasoning of the speaker, which should, I imagine, allow me to completely free myself from the source language and convey the message in a more natural manner.
I also tend to write either in the source or target language according to what is easier to me in the split second where I need to make a note of something. I’m sure it would be easier to stick to one language, and from what I’ve read, it should ideally be in the target language.
To find answers to my questions, I’ve ordered the following book: Note-taking for Consecutive Interpreting – A Short Course (Andrew Gillies). There aren’t that many books on interpreting techniques out there and this one looks like it is steeped in practice, which is what I’m looking for. I’ll let you know if it is helpful.