Interpreting Courses

Interpreting Research and Practice I (ComLit 481)

Introduces students to current research in interpreting studies and basic practical skills required of professional interpreters. Interpreting is viewed as a socio-cultural activity as well as a linguistic one. Students focus on the social, cultural and ethical complexities of the interpreter’s role. By working with written texts, students develop an understanding of micro-textual elements and macro-textual structures and patterns. They practice how to understand, analyze, process, and reformulate written texts through text analysis. They also are introduced to paralinguistic features (tone and pitch of voice, gestures, etc.) of spoken language. They practice listening skills and note-taking practice applied to short spoken texts. The primary mode of practice in Part I is consecutive interpreting in health care and legal contexts. Role plays in these two areas – scripted and improvised – will be conducted to familiarize students with the triadic nature of interpreted communication. Students construct medical, legal, and general vocabulary glossaries which are assessed on an on-going basis. While no prior experience in interpreting is necessary, students must have a strong command of English and at least one other language. Usually offered in the Fall. Professor Moira Inghilleri.

Interpreting Research and Practice II (ComLit 482)

Introduction to spoken texts of varying lengths delivered by a single speaker. The course introduces students to the historic and continuing role that interpreters play in the media, at international conferences, in diplomatic events and in conflict zones. The primary mode of interpreting in this course is simultaneous. Students  focus on a range of texts, e.g., political speeches, media interviews, conference papers, to develop their understanding of the role of the linguistic, socio-cultural, ideological, and ethical factors involved in simultaneous interpreting. Students learn to recognize the ways in which specific micro and macro-textual features contribute to the construction of meaning in longer spoken texts. They reflect on and practice the translation of idioms, culturally-specific and politically-sensitive references, ambiguity, and humor. They also learn to recognize speech patterns and rhetorical structures used by speakers and consider how this knowledge can help them to understand, anticipate, and reproduce speaker intention. Students practice simultaneous interpreting both from and into their second language. The importance for interpreters to keep up with current events and to develop knowledge about the specific contexts in which they interpret is also emphasized. Usually offered in the Spring. Professor Moira Inghilleri.

Medical Interpreting Online (CompLit 552)

Students learn how to provide professional interpreting services in medical settings.  The course covers medical terminology (anatomy, pediatrics, dental, labor, internal, orthopedics, cardiology, AIDS, neurology) and systems of the body (anatomy and physiology, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, nervous, skeletal, muscular, and endocrine). Students also learn about medical procedures, standards of practice, ethics, mediation, and multicultural problem-solving.  Texts by Mikkelson, Larson, Chavez, Angelelli, and others.  The class is all online all the time and can be worked on anywhere there is Internet access. Prerequisites: Must have advanced knowledge of one language other than English.  Registration is through Continuing and Professional Education at http://www.umassulearn.net/classes/. Usually offered in the Spring. Professor Edwin Gentzler and lab assistant.

Sociological Approaches to Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS) (CompLit TBA)

Explores and assesses the development of sociological perspectives within translation and interpreting studies. Focuses on specific social theories originating within the discipline of sociology; also considers philosophical approaches that provide explanatory frameworks for social, linguistic, and ethical aspects of translation and interpreting activity. Discusses the relationship between these approaches and related research paradigms within TIS, including postcolonial, deconstruction, and descriptivism. Readings and discussions draw on a range of contexts and content from empirical and theoretical research in the field. Professor Moira Inghilleri.

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