BA Italian and Spanish / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Introduction to Interpreting: Context, Skills and Modes

Course unit fact file
Unit code ELAN30241
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 6
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


The course unit develops students’ competence in bilateral interpreting (liaison mode) in contexts such as tourism, business and the public services, and also provides insight into other modes of interpreting used in international conference settings (consecutive and simultaneous). A focus is placed on summarizing, on-sight translation, public speaking, note-taking, glossary preparation, and quality assessment.  Learning is supported through regular feedback in class and independent study based on enquiry-based learning activities and reflective practice. Students will also be introduced to the principles of ethical practice, the role of professional bodies and the requirements of professional development in the field.

The course unit will appeal to students who enjoy thinking on their feet and speaking in front of an audience; it provides an excellent opportunity to develop oral skills with a focus on language-in-context, and enhance cultural knowledge in specialized domains. It also tests critical thinking skills through engagement with the relevant literature in dialogue interpreting studies.

Please note: this course unit has pre-requisites.


Please Note: This is a popular course unit and places are limited to 40 students (20 French / 20 Spanish). Providing that the following pre-requisites are satisfied, enrolment will be on a first come, first served basis.



Students must hold a minimum of 60% in their second year French or Spanish Language (or equivalent) in order to apply for enrolment on this course unit. A short placement test may be required (see below).


Application Process

Students will receive an email calling for applications from in the summer. 

You will need to confirm you have achieved a minimum of 60% average in your language units to qualify for this unit.

Placement tests will be required for: 1. Students who have taken French or Spanish ab initio as part of their programme and 2. Students who are not taking a year abroad. The placement test will take place in semester I.

In the event the course unit is over-subscribed, applications will be ranked and a waiting list created.

Please note a waitlist for this course unit will be in operation until the end of the second week of teaching.


Available on which programme(s)?Modern languages programmes involving French or Spanish



The course unit aims to:

  • familiarize students with the national and international contexts of interpreting
  • develop the skills required for effective interlingual and intercultural communication
  • foster critical engagement with key theoretical developments in dialogue interpreting studies

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of the course unit, students will be able to:

  • apply the principles of effective interlingual and intercultural communication to a range of scenarios;
  • justify their communicative decisions based on a coherent frame of reference for quality analysis;
  • demonstrate an understanding of a range of social, cultural and intellectual issues in France and Spain (and the wider French and Spanish-speaking worlds) in the contemporary context, as reflected in the materials studied.

Intellectual skills

By the end of the course unit, students will be able to:

  • engage with relevant concepts concerning the theory and practice of interpreting
  • assess their own language learning needs, develop and apply strategies for addressing these needs, and evaluate and further refine these strategies.

Practical skills

By the end of the course unit, students will be able to:

  • communicate with a good degree of fluency and spontaneity as appropriate to the level of difficulty of the materials studied;
  • evaluate communication management skills;
  • develop targeted preparation skills and on-sight translation skills;
  • develop note-taking techniques for bilateral interpreting at an introductory level.


Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of the course unit, students will be able to:

  • manage time, and work to deadlines;
  • use information and communication technology (ICT);
  • undertake independent learning and reflect upon their achievements;
  • participate constructively in group/team work and group discussions;
  • assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others;
  • show an awareness of and a responsiveness to the nature and extent of intercultural diversity.

Employability skills

- Self management - Communication with different audiences (oral and written) - Intercultural communication skills for business and public services - Familiarity with the role of professional associations - Research skills for career development

Assessment methods

Journal Entry Formative
Essay 25%
On-sight translation and reflective account 45%
Oral interpreting examination 30%


Feedback methods


Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback and in-class feedback


Written feedback and opportunity for individual discussion of performance in office hour

Summative essay

Written feedback and opportunity for individual discussion of performance in office hour

Summative on-sight translation / reflective account

Written report of oral examination on request

Summative oral examination


Recommended reading

  1. Jones, Roderick (2002) Conference Interpreting Explained, Manchester: St Jerome.
  2. Hale, Sandra, B. (2007) Community Interpreting, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  3. Nolan, James (2005) Interpretation: Techniques and Exercises, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
  4. Tipton, Rebecca and Olgierda Furmanek (2016) Dialogue Interpreting: A guide to interpreting in public services and the community, London and New York: Routledge.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Catherine Franc Unit coordinator
Rebecca Tipton Unit coordinator
Jose Valentino Gianuzzi Unit coordinator

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