Saturday, May 4, 2013

YI Guidance Pack

The Hampshire Young Interpreter Scheme (YI) has been featured in several recent posts on this blog. I’ve praised it as significant for bilingual education, but don’t just take my word for it: it won a European Award for Languages in 2010 and was a finalist for the MJ Local Government Achievement Awards in 2012. Ofsted, the official body for inspecting UK schools, has declared that
“Those pupils who act as young interpreters make an outstanding contribution of enabling those pupils speaking little English and their parents or carers to take full part in all school activities.“
Now the YI Guidance Pack for teachers has reached me in Valencia.

The Pack is a well-organised, stimulating and suggestive aid for teachers in schools that have a considerable proportion of immigrant students speaking languages other than the dominant language of the country. It's attractively designed and illustrated. It comes with a DVD that contains some good videos. Pupils also have access to Moodle, a free e-learning internet software platform.

Interpreting is treated as a serious practical activity, not as a game or pastime. The mode of interpreting is dialogue interpreting in a community interpreting setting. Here’s what the Pack has to say about preparation:
  • You should prepare by finding out what the meeting is about by talking to the person leading the interview.
  • You should also research some words that may be of use.
  • You should ensure that the location is private and rearrange the seats so everyone is equal.
  • You should introduce all parties.  
Good advice for adult interpreters too.
And here are some of the "golden rules" in the Interpreting Check-List:
  • Put all the information across.
  •  Keep neutral and avoid taking sides, avoid giving your opinion.
  •  Listen and show attention, stay focused, stick to the point.
  •  Respect cultural issues.
  •  Be patient, be polite.
  •  Know your boundaries.
The Guidance deals with a point that troubles some people when they hear about such young people interpreting, that of their having access to confidential information. It says,
“They should consider [the need for] confidentiality, but point out that as students they should not be asked to interpret in situations where confidentiality might be an issue.”
 Be it noted that confidentiality is among the rules of interpreting that are mentioned by students themselves.
How about recruitment and selection? Most of the pupils considered are already fluently bilingual or multilingual and have previously been ‘new arrivals’ themselves; and all must be “good role models in terms of their use of English,” which I take to mean that they speak something close to ‘standard’ English’ as taught in schools. But there is provision too for second-language learners “nominated by the Modern Foreign Languages departments in secondary schools.” In addition, they should demonstrate “a good knowledge of school routines, systems and activities,“ which takes care of some of the extra-linguistic needs. For the rest, the qualities sought are personality ones: “patient, good listeners, good communicators, responsible, etc.”  What is not tested or questioned is their ability to translate. It is assumed that they have it intuitively as bilinguals, and also that it will improve with some training. Both assumptions accord with the Natural Translation Hypothesis (click here for more.)

As one would expect from experienced teachers, there are lots of Role Play Scenarios, Interpreting Scenarios, Resource Sheets and the like. There are sections on selecting pupils to participate, on organising the training sessions and on what can be expected from ‘graduates’.
The DVD videos include a tribute from a head teacher and advice from a professional interpreter, an example of good interpreting by a student and also one of bad interpreting by an adult. This last is hilarious. It’s in the folder of Good and bad interpreting situations.
If you’d like to get hold of the Pack, go to the website, then to the tab Downloads and Packs, and there you’ll find a link to an order form. The price is 38 pounds including postage and tax.

Source: Shirley Community Nursery & Primary School, Cambridge, UK

1 comment:

  1. Language translation services have been around for almost as long as language itself, but with globalization, and the resultant increased connectivity of the world, they have become even more important.