Frequently Asked Questions about The Effective Interpreting Series

What is The Effective Interpreting Series?
The Effective Interpreting Series is a multi-volume set of interpreter education materials that can be used for classroom study or independent study.
What are the titles in the series?
The first eight volumes of the ten-volume series are:
  • English Skills Development
  • ALS Skills Development
  • Cognitive Processing in English
  • Cognitive Processing in ASL
  • Translating from English
  • Translating from ASL
  • Consecutive Interpreting from English
  • Simultaneous Interpreting from English
Why would I need to have books on all these topics?
These topics, if studied in this order provide a strong foundation for developing the complex skill of simultaneous interpreting.
Why should I require my students to purchase their own study sets?

The main reason students have not been required to buy their own study materials is because no materials have been available to address students' needs.

Interpreter education is very labor-intensive for interpreter educators. In order to maximize your contact time with your students it is extremely beneficial to have all students studying the same material at the same time because it will help you more easily identify student strengths and weaknesses. The high-quality source material can be used in a variety of ways and eliminates the need to search for source material. Exercises are carefully keyed to the source material, guiding you through the teaching process.

Also, by assigning out-of-class study, you increase the student's ability to take responsibility for developing their skills on their own time. If all students have the same study materials for out-of-class use, it can lend greater cohesion to group discussion time, developing study strategies, and insight into their own processing related to interpreting. When students have effective study materials, they can reach their goal of effective interpreting more quickly.

Nationwide, we have a shortage of interpreter education graduates who are fully prepared to enter the job market. By providing students with study materials they can use in the program and on their own as they enter the field, we improve the supply of well-qualified graduates.

How long would it take to study the topics in one study set?
The study sets are designed to provide enough material for a 3-credit course over the course of a semester, if all exercises, study questions, and The Follow-up exercises are completed. However, the books can be used in a less in-depth fashion to fit available timeframes. Those wishing to earn CEUs may also use the series in a timeframe that is tailored to personal needs.
How are the study sets organized?
Each study set has introductory information and carefully designed exercises. The source material is on the accompanying DVD. The exercises and study questions guide you through using the source material on the DVD. After you have completed the study questions you may do The Follow-up to strengthen self-analysis skills. The Follow-up is designed to help you learn to analyze your work and gain greater confidence in your choices as you practice your skills.
Why do you suggest doing each exercise more than once?
Some people think it is like cheating to practice on familiar material, but it is not. Practice is the mechanism that allows you to develop better control over decision making related to interpreting and the various linguistic processes associated with this complex task.
What are some other ways I can use the materials?
The materials in each volume of EIS include high quality video source materials. I encourage you to use the materials in a variety of ways. For example if you need more practice in repetition but have already used all of the material in the Cognitive Processing Skills in English book, you can select passages from other books and use those for repetition practice. Feel free to use the source material from one book to practice skills discussed in another volume of The EIS.
What is a progress tracking sheet?
At the end of each chapter is a place for you to keep track of your work and how you are progressing. You may choose to just write a comment about your work (qualitative analysis) or you may assign points to your work. Assigning points is arbitrary, but sometimes used in academic settings to provide a rating of work. Both systems are explained in the study set.
I am already a working interpreter. How can I use a study set for independent study?
First you need to locate an approved CMP/ACET sponsor. You can do this by going to Then you need to complete a participant initiated non-RID activities (PINRA) or independent studies form and have it approved by your sponsor before you begin the activity. You and the sponsor will agree on what work is to be completed and what the timeframe will be as well as the total number of CEU's you can earn.
What is the difference between the Teacher's Guide and the Study Set?
The Teacher's Guide contains all of the information that is in the Study Set plus suggestions for teaching and guidance for the teacher regarding possible responses. The Teacher's Guide includes information that allows the teacher to refer to the corresponding page in the Study Set. The DVD that accompanies the Teacher's Guide has the same content as the Study Set DVD.
Which book should I use first: English Skills Development or Cognitive Processing Skills in English?
You can begin the series with either one, but I generally recommend beginning with the English Skills Development study set because it emphasizes the importance of form and meaning. Ideally, you would study the corresponding topics in both languages at the same time. For example, you would study ASL Skills Development and English Skills Development at the same time.
I am a native speaker of English, why would I need to study English in order to become an ASL-English interpreter?
Before beginning to study interpreting you must be fluent in both languages that you will use in the interpreting process. Interpreters need high levels of language proficiency. Being able to read and speak English does not necessarily indicate the level of fluency that is needed. For example, interpreters need strong skills within both ASL and English, such as paraphrasing, lexical substitution, and having an understanding of the difference between form and meaning.
What is cognitive processing and why should I study that?
Cognitive processing is a term I use to refer to the many complex mental processes that the interpreter's mind must be able to manage during interpreting. Not only are the interpreting processes complex, but they must also be managed at high speeds. These skills are not automatic but can improve with practice. Cognitive Processing in English provides such practice.
What is translation and why would I need to study translation in order to become an interpreter?
It is true that translation and interpretation are different processes; however, central to both processes is message transfer from one language to another. In sign language interpreting we have not given students ample time to analyze the message and really take time to think about how they want to express that message in another language. In translating you have the opportunity to study the source message fully and check other resources to help you understand it. You can also take time to develop your rendition of the message in the target language. You can revise the translation in order to improve it. By taking time to really focus on message transfer without time pressure, you provide a strong foundation for your simultaneous interpreting skills.
What is consecutive interpreting? How does it relate to simultaneous interpreting?
In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter waits for the speaker to finish a sentence, idea, or sometimes an entire speech and then renders the message into the target language. Consecutive interpreters often take notes to help them remember. Consecutive interpreting has more time pressure than translation, but less pressure than simultaneous interpreting. Consecutive interpreting can be used as a professional tool when working and can be used to develop and strengthen simultaneous interpreting skills.
In The EIS Simultaneous Interpreting from English, I noticed a section on 'bridging' what is that?
Bridging is a term I developed to refer to the process of transitioning from Consecutive Interpreting to Simultaneous Interpreting. In this process I use material that has already been interpreted during practice in Consecutive Interpreting from English. As you transition or bridge to simultaneous interpreting you can use the same source material, with pauses built in; this time, you would not stop the DVD to render the interpretation. Instead, you will render the interpretation in an ongoing manner and will benefit from having already interpreted the passage and from the extra time provided.
Isn't that cheating if I have already interpreted the passage before?
No. There is an important difference between effective study practices and actually working as an interpreter or taking a test of interpreting skill. It can be very beneficial to use the same material many different ways. For example you may study a text in order to fully understand it, then later you may translate that text. The same text can be consecutively interpreted and then simultaneously interpreted. In each case you will still find it challenging because a new layer of difficulty related to time pressure is added. When you practice with familiar material you strengthen your grasp of the interpreting process.
I noticed that the speakers sometimes make mistakes when they talk. Didn't they rehearse their lines?
All of the speakers and signers used in the series were asked to prepare or think about the following things to talk about: a brief introduction, a short personal story, how to do something, and a short lecture. By choosing these topics, the type of discourse that is used becomes slightly more complex in each succeeding presentation. The speakers did not write out their remarks and did not rehearse them. I feel strongly that effective practice material must focus on naturally occurring discourse, complete with mistakes, repetitions, and fillers because this is the type of discourse interpreters will encounter in the real world.
What if I have other questions about The Effective Interpreting Series?
Just contact Carol Patrie at

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