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The University of Southampton

LANG3006 Public Service Interpreting

Module Overview

This module will provide students with both a practical and theoretical insight into the role of a Public Service Interpreter. Beginning with a general introduction to interpreting, it will go on to focus more in depth on the wide range of issues and challenges faced by these cultural and linguistic mediators. In addition to identifying these and deciding how best to resolve them, through lectures and seminars students will also learn how to develop the strategies and skills required – including note-taking and sight translation, as well as honing understanding of verbal and non-verbal communication cues – in this field in order to bridge the gap between Service Users and Service Providers in a range of public service contexts. Alongside this, independent study and practice, in which glossary building will play an important part, will be essential to improvement in students’ interpreting skills. Given the global nature of society today, linguists are increasingly in demand so whether students go on to enter the interpreting profession or not, the heightened awareness of intercultural issues and ability to overcome these fostered by this module will undoubtedly be of use to them. Please keep in mind completion of Stage 5 in either French or Spanish with English as L1, or completion of English Stage 5 (or equivalent) with French or Spanish as L1 is a pre-requisite for this module.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the different roles that may be required of the PS Interpreter during an assignment and role boundaries;
  • various modes of PS interpreting, their main features and purposes;
  • challenging issues and appropriate strategies;
  • general guidelines, self-evaluation and further development of interpreting skills.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify appropriate interpreting skills and techniques required in PSI and/or in bi-cultural mediated interaction;
  • appraise information and communication technologies used in interpreting and the challenges they may create for PS Interpreters;
  • assess and provide feedback on peer performance and case studies;
  • reflect on the interpreting process in both its linguistic and cultural context.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate effective communication and interpersonal skills in monolingual and bilingual interaction;
  • manage personal development and skills (e.g. multi-tasking, reflective/critical thinking);
  • contribute individually or collectively to problem solving activities;
  • deal with sensitive and challenging situations with confidence.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • provide interpreting support to a semi-professional level in different PS settings;
  • advise on cross-cultural and linguistic issues related to PSI;
  • use interpreting resources effectively to enhance personal practice.


The following topics will be covered: • interpreting techniques (consecutive, simultaneous and liaison interpreting); • intercultural awareness and specific terminology competence; • cultural diversity (PS user and provider profiles); • communication skills in interpreting; • sight translation/note-taking/glossary building; • self-evaluation and personal development; • NRPSI code of professional conduct & guidelines; • challenging aspects of interpreting.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • lectures and seminars; • role play and mediation activities; • evaluation of student-led activities; • blackboard as a resource; • tutor feedback on individual and group activities. Learning activities include: • subject specific reading; • providing individual and group contributions to interpreting issues introduced in class; • use of interactive interpreting resources on a regular basis; • assessing PSI case studies, both orally and in writing; • sight translation/note-taking/glossary building tasks.

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Wadensjö, C. et al (2007). The Critical Link 4. Interpreters in the community. 

Gillies, A. (2005). Note-taking for consecutive interpreting. 

Pöchhacker, F. (2004). Introducing Interpreting Studies. 

Hale, S. (2007). Community interpreting. 

Mason, I. (2001). Triadic exchanges: studies in dialogue interpreting. 

Wadensjö, C. (1998). Interpreting as interaction. 

Corsellis, A. (2008). Public Service Interpreting, The first steps. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback  opportunities before each assessment for students to seek individual advice and guidance from the tutor(s)  in-class guidance and advice on preparation, completion and presentation of un-assessed and assessed coursework  in-class feedback on tasks prepared for class session


MethodPercentage contribution
Analysis  (2500 words) 40%
Practical assignment 30%
Practical assignment 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


No additional costs

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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