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The Interpreter- From note taking to Mind Mapping

While I am the Marketing and Community Manager here at Biggerplate, I initially trained as an Interpreter with French and English. My Master's Qualification is not, however, redundant in my current role.

My job at Biggerplate requires regular communication with our ever expanding global community (in French and English), travelling, plenty of note taking , research, synthesising interesting information and delivering this in training workshops or internal corporate training. All skills which are required for interpreters, too.

I am grateful that the skills I learned during my MA have helped in my role at Biggerplate today: working at Biggerplate means I regularly take notes using mind mapping and practise live mapping when listening to talks and discussions.

The role of an interpreter

While interpreting, the linguist is faced with a flow of information. The challenge is then to retain all of this information and to translate it as accurately as possible- in a manner appropriate for the audience (very important in Marketing and Community Management).

The content of information includes the particulars of what has been said: who, where, when, how, how many, how much… But that’s not all. The interpreter has to remember how it has been said, some specific expressions, tone, a touch of humour and other things that make up a speech. Because of the overload of information, content and delivery, the choice of method for note taking is crucial.

A lot of time is thus spent in Interpreter training on learning how to pick out key words, main points, and summarising main ideas as concisely as possible. Indeed, communication and research skills- vital for my role at Biggerplate- become invaluable.

And this is where mind mapping techniques overlap.

As an interpreter, you have to gather a lot of information at once and be able to present it back in a clear and organised fashion... Sound familiar?!

As the speaker starts his speech, the main goal is to understand the links between ideas presented and make these appear on your notes through arrows and symbols and to write specifics (figures, peoples, products etc…) where they belong. Doing such you will find that you have fewer words on your page but you will understand more easily what you have taken down... See where I am going here?

Indeed, mind mapping is a great way to synthesise information and make specifics more understandable to you at a personal level. I am able to transfer this skill to live mapping (for example in conferences) which is perfect and apt for my job with Biggerplate.

Additionally, during Interpreter training, we learn to develop our own note-taking skills, using symbols for example. I find this incredibly useful when mapping general notes for a conference or while listening to a spoken text.

So, while I am not currently working as a full-time interpreter, I am still transferring the linguistic and communication skills across to my role at Biggerplate, which I love, particularly because I get to engage with our strong French Community in French.

I never thought that Mind Mapping, and working for a company such as Biggerplate, could play a part on putting my interpreter training to everyday use in various contexts!

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Ruth manages our global mind mapping community: sharing news, stories, and updates! Community Manager de la communauté mondiale des mind mappers; je gère le contenu et marketing !
Oxford, UK Website