Course Title: Context and Practice of Interpreting 1 (in both language directions) Mandarin

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2010

Course Code: LANG5447

Course Title: Context and Practice of Interpreting 1 (in both language directions) Mandarin

School: 365T Global Studies, Soc Sci & Plng

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6067 - Advanced Diploma of Translating and Interpreting

Course Contact : Miranda Lai

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 99253523

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Mr. Richard Yu

Ms. Ling Li

Nominal Hours: 80

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Successfully complete the bilingual intake test.

Course Description

This course aims to provide students with skills and knowledge in oral transfer, the primary competency of the Professional Interpreter, and to locate and apply the relevant theoretical frameworks and contextual knowledge required of a simple assignment.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBN925 Context and Practice of Interpreting 1 (in both language directions) Mandarin

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course you will be expected to be able to: 

  1. Carry out the interpretation of dialogues, short printed texts and short speeches that embody a reasonable level of linguistic and conceptual difficulty in the consecutive mode.
    • Exhibit during the interpretation process appropriate use of transfer skills, achieving acceptable meaning-based renderings. 
    • Produce renderings that are appropriate to the text in lexis, idiom, register, collocation, style, stress, intonation, etc. 
    • Exhibit during the interpretation process appropriate use of note-taking techniques. 
    • Display appropriate body language during the interpretation process. 
    • Interpret relatively simple dialogues and short speeches at the professional level making sure they are complete, accurate and impartial. 
  2. Examine in depth a range of institutional and professional contexts in which interpreting and translating take place as professional activities, and apply related concepts and vocabulary within more complex interpreting practice. 
    • Research Australia’s and the LOTE-speaking country’s institutional and professional contexts that arise in a substantial interpreting text. 
    • Collaborate in developing acceptable equivalences (in English or the LOTE as applicable) for terminology relating to these contexts. 
    • Apply a variety of techniques for interpreting words and terms that are difficult to transfer due to cultural factors. 
    • Provide a comprehensive rationale for each equivalence.

Details of Learning Activities

In small groups you will develop the skills and knowledge to perform complex interpreting tasks. In particular, the instruction will aim to assist you to: 

  • Communicate the languages concerned with sufficient structural accuracy, vocabulary and fluency to participate effectively in exchanges on practical, social and professional subjects. 
  • Demonstrate knowledge of a number of particular interests and special fields of competence. 
  • Understand what speakers of both target and source languages say when speaking in the standard variety and the most common colloquial varieties. 
  • Comprehend speech at a normal rate of delivery. 
  • Understand what speakers of both target and source languages say when speaking in the standard variety and the most common colloquial varieties. 
  • Demonstrate a broad enough range of vocabulary to ensure that they rarely have to grope for a word in discussing subjects. 
  • Convey meaning accurately.
  • Use relatively complex structures. 
  • Use the meaning-based approach to interpreting, as the most appropriate approach for practice. 
  • Carry out research to identify relevant contextual knowledge. 
  • Handle dialogue segments of up to sixty words in length in relatively specialised situations, and across a wide range of subjects. 
  • Carry out oral translation for printed texts (both directions) of 200 words or equivalent.
  • Interpret short speeches and addresses of approximately 300 words or equivalent.
  • Interpret these dialogues and speeches in the consecutive mode. 
  • In both dialogue and speech interpreting and in both language directions, produce high-quality interpretations in terms of accuracy, standard of expression, style and register, using appropriate stress and intonation. 
  • Develop effective communication and public speaking skills, including proficiency in persuasive language and appropriate choice of cohesive and stylistic devices, register, collocation and idiom.

    You will also need to devote at least 2 hours per week of your own time on assignments / tasks allocated by your teacher and bring them back to class for discussion and feedback.

Teaching Schedule


Week number / Week startingContext & Practice of Interpreting 1
WEEK 1 / 08-FebOrientation/Introduction to Course
WEEK 2 / 15-FebWelfare/Social Issues/Education
WEEK 3 / 22-FebWelfare/Social Issues/Education
WEEK 4 / 01-MarHealth/Medical
WEEK 5 / 08-MarHealth/Medical
WEEK 6 / 15-MarImmigration
WEEK 7 / 22-MarLO1: Contextual Exercise
WEEK 8 / 29, 30, 31-Mar Environment /Science & Technology
Semester Break Semester Break
01 April – 07th April
WEEK 8 / 08, 09-Apr LO2: D.I.
Environment /Science & Technology
WEEK 9 / 12-AprLO2: D.I.
Environment /Science & Technology
WEEK 10 / 19-AprLO2: C.I.
Australian Issues/Politics/Industrial Relations
WEEK 11 / 26-AprAustralian Issues/Politics/Industrial Relations
WEEK 12 / 03-MayInternational Issues
WEEK 13 / 10-MayReview LO2
WEEK 14 / 17-MayBusiness/Trade/Finance/Insurance
WEEK 15 / 24-MayLaw
WEEK 16 / 31-MayLaw
Review & Consolidation
WEEK 17 / 07-JunExam Period Commences
WEEK 18 / 14-JunExam Period



Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Reader -- LANG5447 Context and Practice of Interpreting 1 (English & Mandarin)


Baker, M., In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation, Routledge, London, 1999.

Gentile, A., Ozolins, U. & Vasilakakos, M., Liaison Interpreting: A Handbook, Melbourne University Press, 1996.

Other Resources

Learning Resources 

Learning materials will largely be generated by the teachers (including professional interpreting texts and other written and oral/aural materials from the press, Internet, media and government publications) as the course is specifically targeted to practical skills that are necessary to the development of interpreting skills. 


The Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) is RMIT’s core e-learning tool. It provides a variety of online learning resources and communication tools including:

  • a centralised area to upload and manage course content and practice materials
  • tools creating course content in the Blackboard environment
  • tests (quizzes) and surveys
  • discussion boards and chat rooms
  • assignment submission tools
  • group work spaces

Digital Recording Devices

Students are required to prepare their own digital recording device to be used in the interpreting class.


Overview of Assessment

Three Learning Outcome tasks. 

Assessment Tasks

Learning Outcome 1

  • Activity 1 (25%, conducted in week 7 or otherwise advised by teacher)
    Contextual knowledge class task as negotiated with the teacher, in the form of an oral presentation, mini-conference, or other simulated situation.You will be asked to explain how contextual factors affect comprehension and transfer of meaning.
  • Activity 2 (5%, conducted throughout the semester and due in week 16, or otherwise advised by teacher)
    Compilation of a folder containing all notes from note-taking practice done throughout the semester and a summary of the system you have developed for yourself.

Learning Outcome 2 (25%, conducted in week 8 or otherwise advised by teachers)

  • Class test: NAATI* testing format:
    • Two bilingual dialogues and two sight translation passages (one from Eng into LOTE, one from LOTE into Eng), to be done in one sitting.
    • Two speeches (one from Eng into LOTE, one from LOTE into Eng) to be interpreted consecutively, to be done in one sitting.
    • Weighting of the three components:
      • Dialogues             =50 marks
      • Sight translation  =20 marks
      • Consecutive          =30 marks

Learning Outcome 3 (50%, conducted During the University’s formal examination period immediately following the end of semester)

  • Formal exam conducted under NAATI Exam Conditions.
    • Two bilingual dialogues and two sight translation passages (one from Eng into LOTE, one from LOTE into Eng) to be done in one sitting.
    • Two speeches (one from Eng into LOTE, one from LOTE into Eng) to be interpreted consecutively, to be done in one sitting.
    • Weighting of the three components:
      • Dialogues               =50 marks
      • Sight translation    =20 marks
      • Consecutive           =30 marks


    Asssessment Criteria

    To be able to study the higher course (Context and Practice of Interpreting 2) in the following semester, you must at least achieve 50% overall marks in this course.

    Your interpreting skills will be assessed by tests that reflect the conditions of NAATI accreditation testing; i.e. participation in two dialogues between a LOTE speaker and an English speaker of approximately 400 words and with segments of up to 60 words in length, render oral translation for two printed texts of 200 words or equivalent, and interpret for two speeches / addresses of approximately 300 words in length. The three components will embody a reasonable level of linguistic and conceptual difficulty at the NAATI Professional level.

    To be recommended to NAATI for accreditation as an interpreter at the Professional level, you must achieve the minimum standard in the accreditation exam as set out in the current NAATI and RMIT guidelines, i.e. achieve a mark of no less than 70% (RMIT Distinction grade) overall and not fall below 70% in any component of the test.

    Key assessment areas and reasons for deduction of marks :

    1. Accuracy

    Significant omissions
    Significant mistranslations
    Significant unjustified insertions
    Excessive requests for repetition
    Candidate abandoned test

    2. Language Proficiency - LOTE > Eng

    Inadequate comprehension of LOTE
    Inappropriate word choices in English
    Incorrect sentence structures in English
    Grammatical errors in English
    Unidiomatic usage in English
    Unsatisfactory pronunciation in English

    3. Language Proficiency - Eng > LOTE

    Inadequate comprehension of Englsih
    Inappropriate word choices in LOTE
    Incorrect sentence structures in LOTE
    Grammatical errors in LOTE
    Unidiomatic usage in LOTE
    Unsatisfactory pronunciation in English

    4. Technique

    Excessive pauses / hesitations
    Note-taking interfered with flow of interpreting
    Inappropriate strategy when seeking clarification /reception
    Excessive number of clarifications/repetitions

    5. Other

    Inadequate comprehension of scenarios

    Assessment Matrix

    Other Information


    What do I do if I need help in this course?
    You are advised to contact your teacher as soon as any difficulties arise. The Program Coordinator is available for academic advice and support. Once the issue has been identified, the Program Coordinator, in consultation with your teacher and yourself, will put in place an individual study plan. This might include supplementary assessment, consultation during the conduct of assessment or granting an extension. Where these measures are inadequate, the Program Coordinator may refer you to University student support services such as student counselling or the Learning Skills Unit.

    How can I have my relevant previous study or work/life experience assessed as a way of gaining credit in this course?
    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) means recognition of competencies currently held, regardless of how, when or where the learning occurred. This includes any combination of formal or informal training and education, work experience or general life experience.
    For RPL to be granted, the applicant must provide evidence that he/she:
    • has attained the competencies described in the modules that are being claimed
    • possesses current competency in the modules that are being claimed, including underpinning skills and knowledge
    • has applied the relevant modules in a context that is applicable to this qualification.
    Contact the Program Coordinator for further advice about applying for RPL and suitable evidence requirements.

    What are my responsibilities in undertaking this course?
    All students are expected to attend classes regularly and complete all set learning and assessment tasks. You are encouraged to seek support in relation to any difficulties you may have at the program level via the Program Coordinator. Students are expected to act as professionals in the learning environment, a critical capability expected of graduates in their employment.

    Special Consideration
    You may apply for Special Consideration by using the RMIT Application Form for Special Consideration, which is available from RMIT website. The application, with relevant documentation, must be lodged with the Student Hub prior to or within 48 hours of the commencement of the assessment task in question. Applications for special consideration are considered by the expert panel convened by the Academic Registrar (or nominee).

    You are reminded that cheating, whether by fabrication, falsification of data, or plagiarism, is an offence subject to University disciplinary procedures. Plagiarism in oral, written or visual presentations is the presentation of the work, idea, or creation of another person, without appropriate referencing as though it is one’s own. Plagiarism is not acceptable. The use of another person’s work or ideas must be acknowledged. Failure to do so may result in charges of academic misconduct, which carry a range of penalties including cancellation of result and exclusion from your course.
    You are responsible for ensuring that your work is kept in a secure place. It is also a disciplinary offence for you to allow your work to be plagiarised by another student. You should be aware of all rights and responsibilities regarding the use of copyright material.


    How can I let my teacher know about my experience of this course?
    You may discuss this with your teacher at a mutually convenient time. The School distributes confidential course assessment forms at the end of each semester for students to complete. These are analysed and action is taken to remedy defects in teaching or course administration as required. The College also conducts student experience and satisfaction surveys during semester.

    Course Overview: Access Course Overview