Trying to master a foreign language

Conferencias en línea

Now that I have started working from Spanish in the booth, I feel I need to practice almost daily. It’s a matter of building up my confidence. To practice, I need material. Radio and television programs are helpful, but more for general knowledge than for simultaneous interpretation practice. In the media, the pace and register are geared for entertainment rather than communication.

Instead, I look for online lectures. Whereas YouTube is a valuable source, I find I waste a lot of time wading through irrelevant material before I find something useful. I need something more targeted. For now, the ITunesU app serves my purpose and gives me access to free online lectures from universities the world over, including Spanish and Latin American Universities.

I start with the lectures offered by Universidad de Navarra. Some are quite short (10-15 minutes), other are fifty-minute classes. the quality of the recordings is uneven, but generally it’s good enough. I write down new terms. An interview on new technologies in education yields a new expression “se cuenta con”, as in “se cuenta con los educadores que nos consultan sobre algún tipo de cuestión…”. From a lecture on the physical properties of materials, I learn the term grieta, cracks (or fissuresin French). In a lecture to student teachers, a Peruvian professor discusses what it means to be a good teacher, and I get an initial impression of what educated Peruvians sound like.

I practice shadowing, i.e. repeating what the speaker says simultaneously, taping myself and doing spot checks of the recording. I practice memorisation. I let the speaker talk for two or three minutes, pause the recording and do a summary in Spanish. I tape myself and check. I practice simultaneous, into French or English. It becomes easier every day.


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One thought on “Conferencias en línea

  1. Thats Fantastic! Good on ya!

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