Developing a comprehensive strategy to foster professional skills in conference interpreting trainees

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Fostering professional skills in conference interpreting has always presented academics with a range of challenges: M.A. and MSc curriculums need to entail academically-focused components to qualify as undergraduate or post-graduate degree programmes, yet conference interpreting also requires a substantial amount of applied practice to ensure graduates are equipped with suitable professional skills.
So academic institutions training conference interpreters face a clear challenge. They need to design a programme of study and practice for students which addresses two aspects: first, ensuring that students understand key concepts and theories in interpreting studies. This is crucial in ensuring that students are equipped to deal with ethical issues, and can devise relevant strategies to cope with specific challenges in a professional context. And secondly, the programme of studies also needs to provide students with a learning experience which will foster and consolidate the range of professional skills required in a conference interpreting booth: a minimum of 300h of interpreting practice classes are required for a programme to be eligible for the European Masters in Interpreting label.
To address this challenge, Heriot-Watt University’s LINCS department has adopted a strategy which draws from situated-learning concepts (Brown, Collings and Duguid, 1989; Lave and Wenger, 1991; Kolb and Kolb, 2005) and entails a range of experiences embedded in the curriculum, as well as valuable extra-curricular activities designed to give students an opportunity to observe, practice and learn from the professional environment or from an immersion in authentic professional interpreting settings (Gile, 2009; Gillies, 2013; Sachtleben, 2015; Gonzalez-Davies, 2016; Chouc and Conde, 2016). This paper aims at presenting this comprehensive strategy and at identifying complementary examples of good practice worth exploring to consolidate training strategies for interpreters.
Period23 Nov 2018
Event titleAPTIS 1st annual conference: Association of programmes in translation and interpreting studies
Event typeConference
LocationBirmingham, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • conference interpreting
  • professional skills
  • curriculum design
  • situated learning
  • practice