The use of digital recorders in consecutive interpreting: tools and techniques


Consecutive interpreting with the use of a recorder was attempted for the first time in Rome back in 1998. Since then technology has advanced greatly, recorders have shrunk in size and their sound quality has increased manifold thanks to sophisticated filtering techniques, noise cancelling algorithms and directional microphones.

Although digital recorders have been used rather extensively in the US in court interpreting, they are only marginally employed elsewhere. Consecutive with digital recorders is not taught at university and is frequently viewed with suspicion by many seasoned interpreters.

In an attempt to assess the viability of this technique a number of academic studies were conducted to compare it to traditional note-taking. Results, while not definitive given the small samples employed, seem to suggest that consecutive interpreting with digital recorders fares better than traditional consecutive interpreting with note-taking, notably leading to fewer omissions and misinterpretations.

In his presentation the speaker will provide the basic information required to explore consecutive interpreting with digital recorders in everyday practice. Attendees will leave with a general understanding of the history of consecutive interpreting with digital recorders, will be aware of its advantages and pitfalls and know the types and makes of equipment required to move their first steps into this domain: noise cancelling headphones, digital recorders and directional microphones.