Interpreting Basics

Interpreting Basics


Workshop Leader: Mazen Alfarhan
Workshop Schedule Date: 13 January 19 - 16 January 19
Workshop Schedule Time: 4:00 - 7:00 pm
Duration: 3 hours
Venue: LAS Building - Classroom A019B

About the Workshop


Professional interpreters are increasingly in demand in international organizations and agencies, law firms, and media networks. In addition to conference interpreting, community interpreting is also on the rise to ensure communication in courts, hospitals, educational institutions, government agencies, and conflict zones. In the light of the increasing demand for interpreters stirred by the process of globalization, the need to train interpreters is of paramount importance to equip them with the skills required to meet the market needs.
The purpose of this workshop is train the participants in gaining a basic knowledge in the field of interpreting. It provides an overview of the fundamentals of interpreting techniques and the different types of interpreting (simultaneous, consecutive, sight, whispering and liaison), and lays the foundation necessary to develop the advanced skills used by professional interpreters.


The workshop includes:

  • Introduction to consecutive interpreting and note taking;
  • Strategies to develop short term memory as well as analyze and process information;
  • Introduction to simultaneous interpreting;
  • Strategies to solve linguistic and non-linguistic problems during the interpreting process;
  • Introduction to other types of interpreting (whispering, sight and liaison);
  • Short memory boosting exercises.


Live exercises will be provided by the trainer for simulation purposes. Specifically, participants will be trained in a set of two interpreting modes that require much preparation, i.e. consecutive and simultaneous. Boosting exercises will be used to help them develop their memory capacity and sharpness. They will also be invited to bring in their own experience as to the dilemmas they have encountered in their careers. The guided practice in this workshop will help them address questions such as:

  • Should the interpreter correct or improve the content of original audio-texts?
  • Should the interpreter grant priority to sense or style?
  • How should the interpreter prepare for the event?
  • How should the interpreter deal with neutrality?
  • Should interpreters accept work that lies beyond their competence?
  • Should interpreters undercut colleagues by offering lower prices for interpreting services?
  • What are the responsibilities towards other colleagues?
  • In what circumstances should the interpreter refuse work?

Learning Objectives:

  1. Build/develop the participants’ skills in interpreting;
  2. Conduct live interpreting exercises using a variety of audio-texts;
  3. Introduce participants to note taking;
  4. Conduct short memory boosting exercises.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Build/develop the participants’ skills in interpreting;
  2. Conduct live interpreting exercises using a variety of audio-texts;
  3. Introduce participants to note taking;
  4. Conduct short memory boosting exercises.
  5. Learn about essentials of note taking techniques;
  6. Raise awareness and exposure to the interpreting environment;
  7. Acquire fairly advanced interpreting techniques;
  8. Take part in interpreting exercises with a variety of accents;
  9. Acquire strategies to develop short term memory and information processing skills.

Target Participants

The workshop is most suited for those who have a university degree in a language-related field and/or no less than 2 years of experience in translation. A good level of proficiency in Arabic and English is required. 

Register for this workshop

About the Leader/Instructor
Mazen Alfarhan

Mazen graduated from the universities of Damascus, Heriot-Watt and London. In April 2013, he joined TII Professional Services Center, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, as a senior project leader and later assumed his current position as a Translation Reviser. In this position, he co-supervises all translation services provided to clients, is a field supervisor in the Internship Program, and a leader of translation and interpreting training courses.

Among other duties, his professional experience includes:

- Lecturer of Translation, English Department of Damascus University, 1999-2004;

- Senior translator/interpreter for the Syrian government, 2001-2007;

- Lecturer of EFL, International University for Science and Technology, Syria, 2007-2008;

- Lecturer of conference interpreting, Higher Institute of Translation & Interpreting, Damascus University, 2006-2013;

- Designer & leader of translation/interpreting training courses, Damascus University, 2010-2013;

- Freelance interpreter and translator for OIC, 2009-2013.

Mazen is also a Chevening Scholar and a Karim Rida Said Scholar. His education credentials include an MA degree in International Diplomacy, an MSc degree in Arabic-English Translation & Interpreting, Diploma in Translation, as well as a Certificate of Sworn Legal Translation from the Syrian Ministry of Justice. He also followed a number of professional courses at the University of London, Saint Joseph University (Lebanon) and Durham University (UK). Furthermore, he developed a good sense of management through courses he attended in Spain, Britain and Qatar.