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Listening and memory training in translation

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MINISTRY OF HIGHER AND SECONDARY SPECIAL EDUCATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF
UZBEKISTAN

GULISTAN STATE UNIVERSITY

The English and Literature department

Nurakova Malika’s qualification work on speciality 5220100, English
philology on theme:

The Theme: Listening and memory training in translation

Supervisor: Rashidov A.

Gulistan-2006

Contents:

I. Introduction

1.1. Compositional structure of the work

2.1. Purposes of the qualification work

II. The Main Part

1.2. Chapter 1 Memory Training and its types

1.1.2. Why we need memory training

2.1.2 Short-term and long-term memory: opposites and coincidences

3.1.2 The short-term memory and methods of its improving

Chapter 2. Listening techniques in translation.

1.2.2 Some recommendations

3.2.2. Scholars investigations of the phenomenon of listening

Chapter 3 Russian influence onto development of translation.

1.3.2. Introductory remarks

2.3.2. Listening and memory training at schools

III. Conclusion.

1.3. Some words about the thematic content of the work

2.3. Concluding the results and the ways of applying the work

IV. Bibliography.

Introduction

1.1. The theme of my qualification work sounds as following: “Listening
and memory training in translation” Our qualification work can be
characterized by the following:

The actuality of this work caused by several important points. We seem
to say that the capacity of translation is one of the main skills that a
learner of English can possess so this work will deal with the
traditional problems of students caused by difficulties in interpreting
and translation. In other words, our qualification work pursues as its
major aim to help foreign students avoid the problems connected with the
art of translation and interpreting from English into the mother tongue
and vice-versa. So the significance of our work can be proved by the
following reasons:

a) The art of translation is one of the most difficult problems for the
learners of English.

b) The problem of bad memory and inattentive listening is not a specific
problem of the learners of English, but for the majority of people. That
is why we tried to find optional methods of improving these skills.

c)The proposals mentioned in this work were approved by a number of
worldwide famous Universities of the USA and Great Britain.

d) A number of modern methods and literary sources from Internet were
used in our qualification work.

Having based upon the actuality of the theme we are able to formulate
the general goals of our qualification work.

a) To study, analyze, and sum up the modern methods of training of
memory.

b) To analyze the major results achieved in the studied field.

c) To prove the idea of importance of memory and listening training.

d) To help students avoid the problems caused by written and
simultaneous translation.

If we say about the new information used within our work we may note
that the work studies the problem from the modern positions and analyzes
the modern trends appeared in this subject for the last ten years.
Mainly, the newality is concluded in a wide collecting of internet
materials dealing with the listening and memory training.

The practical significance of the work can be concluded in the following
items:

a) The work could serve as a good source of materials for additional
reading by students at schools, colleges and lyceums.

b) The problem of listening and memory training could be a little bit
easier to understand, since our qualification work includes the chapter
concerning the question mentioned.

c) Those who would like to possess a perfect knowledge of English will
find our work useful and practical.

d) Our qualification work is a general review of the investigations made
earlier.

Having said about the scholars who dealt with the same theme earlier we
may notion Anderson, J.R, Gile D, Zhong W, etc.

If we say about the methods of scientific approaches used in our work we
can mention the method of general analysis was used.

The newality of the work concludes in including the modern
interpretations of the play.

The general structure of our qualification work looks as follows:

The work is composed onto four major parts: introduction, main part,
conclusion, and bibliography. Each part has its subdivision onto the
specific thematic items. There are two points in the introductory part:
the first item tells about the general characteristics of the work,
while the second paragraph gives us some words about the aims of the
work and the general description of the latter. The main part of our
qualification work consists of three chapters, which, in their World
book Enciclopedia Macmillian Publisher 1996 p143turn, are subdivided
into several thematic paragraphs. The first chapter of the main part
discusses the memory training as the aspect of learning foreign
languages. Here we gave the general description of the memory and
analyzed the two types of memory: long and short. We also studied the
modern methods used for improving of the short memory. The second
chapter thoroughly takes into consideration the peculiar features of
listening techniques and gives a comparatively large number of practical
recommendations for improving listening skills. We also mentioned the
scholar’s opinions concerning the investigating subject. The third
chapter is meant by itself as a compilation to the previous twos and
studies the question of the Russian influence onto the enlarging of the
English language and the questions of translation caused with it. We
also mentioned here the question connected with the problem of teaching
translation skills at schools. In conclusion to our work we notioned
some meaningful words concerning the thematic content of the work (the
first item) and the concluding results of our investigation (the second
item) At the very end of our qualification work we supplied our work
with the bibliography list and the internet materials.

If we say about the practical wais of applying our qualification work we
would like to say that our qualification work can be applied and used by
the following:

1) The work can be useful for all the teachers of foreign languages when
they teach their students to translate the written sources of
information or when the letters are taught to speak and transmit the
information in foreign languages.

2) All the students of foreign languages department would be able to use
the work for better knowledge of English or when they have practical
classes on foreign language.

3) Translators and interpreters might find a lot of useful information
for the improvement of their professional activity.

4) The qualification work will be useful for everyone who wants to make
perfect in learning foreign languages.

2.1. This paper discusses the role of memory training and listening in
interpreting. According Gile’s Effort Model (a Processing Capacity
Account), short-term memory is an essential part in the process of
interpreting. This paper analyzes the major characteristics of
Short-term Memory (STM) and their implications for interpreters’ memory
training. We believe that interpreting is an STM-centered activity,
which includes encoding of information from the Source Language, storing
of information, retrieval of information, and decoding of information
into the target language. The training of STM skills is the first step
in training a professional interpreter. Tactics for memory training for
interpreters like retelling, categorization, generalization, comparison,
shadowing exercises, mnemonics, etc. are presented in this paper. The
key words for our investigation can be the following: Interpreter
Training, Memory Training, Short-Term Memory, Effort Model, Listening
techniques.

The Main part

1.2. Interpreting is defined as “oral translation of a written text”
(Shuttleworth & Cowie: 1997:83). Mahmoodzadeh gives a more detailed
definition of interpreting: Interpreting consists of presenting in the
target language, the exact meaning of what is uttered in the source
language either simultaneously or consecutively, preserving the tone of
the speaker (1992:231).

Whether novice or experienced, all interpreters find this profession
demanding and challenging. Phelan says that “when an interpreter is
working, he or she cannot afford to have a bad day. One bad interpreter
can ruin a conference” (2001:4). In discussing the qualifications
required for an interpreter, Phelan mentions that:

“The interpreter needs a good short-term memory to retain what he or she
has just heard and a good long-term memory to put the information into
context. Ability to concentrate is a factor as is the ability to analyze
and process what is heard” (2001:4-5).

Mahmoodzadeh also emphasizes that a skillful interpreter is expected to
“have a powerful memory.” (1992:233). Daniel Gile (1992,1995) emphasizes
the difficulties and efforts involved in interpreting tasks and
strategies needed to overcome them, observing that many failures occur
in the absence of any visible difficulty. He then proposes his Effort
Models for interpreting. He says that “The Effort Models are designed to
help them [interpreters] understand these difficulties [of interpreting]
and select appropriate strategies and tactics. They are based on the
concept of Processing Capacity and on the fact that some mental
operations in interpreting require much Processing Capacity.”(1992:191)
According to Gile, Consecutive Interpreting consists of two phases: a
listening and reformulation phrase and a reconstruction phase (1992:191,
1995b:179):

Phase One: I=L+M+N

I=Interpreting, L=listening and analyzing the source language speech,
M=short-term memory required between the time information is heard and
the time it is written down in the notes, and N=note-taking.

Phase Two: I= Rem+Read+P

In this Phase Two of Consecutive Interpreting, interpreters retrieve
messages from their short-term memory and reconstruct the speech (Rem),
read the notes (N), and produce the Target Language Speech (P). Gile’s
Effort Model for Simultaneous Interpreting is:

SI=L+M+P

SI=Simultaneous Interpreting.

L=Listening and Analysis, which includes “all the mental operations
between perception of a discourse by auditory mechanisms and the moment
at which the interpreter either assigns, or decides not to assign, a
meaning (or several potential meanings) to the segment which he has
heard.”

M=Short-term Memory, which includes “all the mental operations related
to storage in memory of heard segments of discourse until either their
restitution in the target language, their loss if they vanish from
memory, or a decision by the interpreter not to interpret them.”

P=Production, which includes “all the mental operations between the
moment at which the interpreter decides to convey a datum or an idea and
the moment at which he articulates (overtly produces) the form he has
prepared to articulate” (1995a:93). Anderson, J.R., 1983. The
Architecture of Cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Pp.46-57, 134,139, 212-226

Gile emphasizes that the memory effort is assumed to stem form the need
to store the words of a proposition until the hearer receives the end of
that proposition. The storage of information is claimed to be
particularly demanding in SI, since both the volume of information and
the pace of storage and retrieval are imposed by the speaker
(1995a:97-98).

In both models, Gile emphasizes the significance of Short-term Memory.
It is actually one of the specific skills which should be imparted to
trainees in the first stage of training. Among all the skills and
techniques which are required for a good interpreter, memory skill is
the first one which should be introduced to trainee interpreters.

2.1.2.Psychological studies of human memory make a distinction between
Short-Term Memory (STM) and Long-Term Memory (LTM). The idea of
short-term memory simply means that you are retaining information for a
short period of time without creating the neural mechanisms for later
recall. Long-Term Memory occurs when you have created neural pathways
for storing ideas and information which can then be recalled weeks,
months, or even years later. To create these pathways, you must make a
deliberate attempt to encode the information in the way you intend to
recall it later. Long-term memory is a learning process. And it is
essentially an important part of the interpreter’s acquisition of
knowledge, because information stored in LTM may last for minutes to
weeks, months, or even an entire life. The duration of STM is very
short. It is up to 30 seconds. Peterson (1959) found it to be 6 – 12
seconds, while Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) and Hebb (1949) state it is
30 seconds. Memory in interpreting only lasts for a short time. Once the
interpreting assignment is over, the interpreter moves on to another
one, often with different context, subject and speakers. Therefore, the
memory skills which need to be imparted to trainee interpreters are STM
skills.

Input of information: It is generally held that information enters the
STM as a result of applying attention to the stimulus, which is about a
quarter of a second according to the findings of both Sperling(1960) and
Crowden(1982). However, McKay’s (1973, in Radford and Govier, 1991: 382)
findings do not fully support this, asserting that unattended
information may enter the STM.

Capacity: As mentioned in the previous section, the capacity of STM is
limited and small. Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) propose that it is seven
items of information (give or take two). Miller (1956) says it is seven
“chunks.” Another possibility may be that the limiting factor is not the
STM’s storage capacity, but its processing capacity (Gross:1990:55).

Modality: To store information in STM, it must be encoded, and there is
a variety of possibilities as to how this operates. There are three main
possibilities in STM: (1) Acoustic (Phonemic) coding is rehearsing
through sub-vocal sounds (Conrad, 1964 and Baddeley:1966). (2) Visual
coding is, as implied, storing information as pictures rather than
sounds. This applies especially to nonverbal items, particularly if they
are difficult to describe using words. In very rare cases some people
may have a “photographic memory,” but for the vast majority, the visual
code is much less effective than this (Posner and Keele: 1967). (3)
Semantic coding is applying meaning to information, relating it to
something abstract (Baddeley:1990, Goodhead:1999)

Information Loss: There are three main theories as to why we forget from
our STM: (1) Displacement—existing information is replaced by newly
received information when the storage capacity is full (Waugh and
Norman:1965) (2) Decay—information decays over time (Baddeley, Thompson
and Buchanan, 1975). (3) Interference—other information present in the
storage at the same time distorts the original information (Keppel and
Underwood:1962). . Atkinson, R.L., and Stiffrin, R.M., 1968. Human
memory: A proposed system and its control processes, in K.W. Spence and
J.T. Spence (eds.), The psychology of learning and motivation. Vol.2.
London: Academic Press. Pp. 19, 65, 78-79

Retrieval: There are modes of retrieval of information from STM: (1)
Serial search—items in STM are examined one at a time until the desired
information is retrieved (Sternberg:1966). (2) Activation—dependence on
activation of the particular item reaching a critical point
(Monsell:1979, Goodhead:1999).

3.1.2.The purpose of memory (STM) training in interpreting is to achieve
a better understanding of the source language, which will lead to
adequate interpreting. As Lin Yuru et al. put it, “Memory in consecutive
interpreting consists of nothing more than understanding the meaning,
which is conveyed by the words” (Lin et al., 1999:9). Understanding is
the first step in successful interpreting; therefore, memory training is
to be provided in the early stage of interpreter training. Memory
functions differently in consecutive and simultaneous interpreting,
because the duration of memory is longer in CI than in SI. There are
different methods of training STM for CI and SI respectively.
Interpreting starts with the encoding of the information from the
original speaker. According to Gile’s Effort Model, interpreting is an
STM-centered activity; the process of interpreting could be
re-postulated into:

Encoding of information from the Source Language + Storing Information +
Retrieval of Information + Decoding Information into the Target
language.

In Consecutive Interpreting, there is probably up to 15 minutes
(depending on the speaker’s segments) for the interpreter to encode and
then store the information. This is the first phase of Gile’s Effort
Model for CI. In the second phase of Gile’s Model, the interpreter
starts to retrieve information and decode it into the target language.
In SI, encoding and decoding of information happen almost at the same
time. The duration for storing the information is very limited.
Therefore, in the first step of interpreting, encoding (understanding)
information uttered in the SL is the key to memory training.

According to the previous description, there are three main
possibilities of storing information in STM: (1) Acoustic Coding; (2)
Visual Coding and (3) Semantic Coding. Visual coding may be used by
interpreters in conference situations with multimedia. Notes in
interpreting are to assist in such visual coding of information. But in
most interpreting contexts, interpreters will depend on acoustic and
semantic coding. Therefore, exercises should be designed for this
purpose. The following methods are recommended:

Retelling in the Source Language: The instructor either reads or plays a
recording of a text of about 200 words for the trainees to retell in the
same language. The trainees should not be allowed to take any notes. In
the first instance, trainees should be encouraged to retell the text in
the same words of the original to the largest possible extent. The
following tactics should be used by the trainees after a certain time of
training on retelling: Categorization: Grouping items of the same
properties; Generalization: Drawing general conclusions from particular
examples or message from the provided text; Comparison: Noticing the
differences and similarities between different things, facts and events;
Description: Describing a scene, a shape, or size of an object, etc.
Trainees are encouraged to describe, summarize, and abstract the
original to a large extent in their own words in exercises (2) to (5).
Shadowing Exercise: Which is defined as “a paced, auditory tracking task
which involves the immediate vocalization of auditorily presented
stimuli, i.e., word-for-word repetition in the same language,
parrot-style, of a message presented through a headphone”(Lambert
1899:381). This kind of exercise is recommended for training of
Simultaneous Interpreting, especially the splitting of attention skills
and the short-term memory in SI. Atkinson, R.L., et al., 1993.
Introduction to psychology(11th ed. (s:l): Ted Bucholz. Pp. 46-58

There is another tool which is effective in memory training: Mnemonic to
Memory. Mnemonic is a device, such as a formula or rhyme, used as an aid
in remembering. Mnemonics are methods for remembering information that
is otherwise quite difficult to recall. A very simple example of a
mnemonic is the ’30 days hath September’ rhyme. The basic principle of
Mnemonics is to use as many of the best functions of the human brain as
possible to encode information.

The human brain has evolved to encode and interpret complex
stimuli—images, color, structure, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, spatial
awareness, emotion, and language—using them to make sophisticated
interpretations of the environment. Human memory is made up of all these
features.

Typically, however, information presented to be remembered is from one
source—normally words on a page. While reading words on a page reflects
one of the most important aspects of human evolution, it is only one of
the many skills and resources available to the human mind. Mnemonics
seek to use all of these resources. By encoding language and numbers in
sophisticated, striking images which flow into other strong images, we
can accurately and reliably encode both information and the structure of
information to be easily recalled later (Manktelow:2003).

It is also advisable that Exercises with Interference (e.g. noises) be
provided in order to prevent information loss in the Short-Term Memory,
since the environment and other information present in the storage may
reduce the information encoded. Recording speeches with specially
‘inserted’ noises as a background is a recommended classroom practice,
since this is a very effective method to enable the students to
concentrate and thus strengthen their STM duration.

Notes:

1. Training of professional interpreters has a three-part structure: the
first stage is introduction to skills specific to interpreting, for
example through memory training and note-taking exercises. This is
followed by intensive classroom practice. The third stage involves work
experience and observation where the main focus is on task achievement.
Baddeley, A.D., 1966. “The influence of acoustic and semantic similarity
on long term memory for word sequences”, in Quarterly Journal of
Experimental Psychology, 18, pp.302-309.

1.2.2.The aim of professional translation and interpretation is
transposition of a message from a source language into a target
language, with due attention to what one might call the ambiance of the
message in order to create a similar ambiance in the target language.
Depending on the content and form of the message, this ambiance may be
minimal, as in much scientific and technical translation or purely
informational interpretation. It may be as important as the message, as
in literary translation or the interpretation of politically or
psychologically sensitive speeches. Or it may even be more significant
than the message itself, as in some poetry, in advertising, in many
diplomatic communiquйs, and in most after-dinner speeches. Although
every bilingual speaker who is able to express himself with some
felicity can usually translate or interpret on the message level, it
takes considerable training, or a special sensitivity coupled with years
of experience, to become a professional translator or interpreter
capable of capturing and communicating the nuances of two or more
languages.

Ambiance can be created in various ways. It can be the result of a
distinctive linguistic or literary style or form: colloquial, educated,
biblical, commercial, or legal language; slang, dialect, or
regionalisms; dialogue, stream-of-consciousness narrative, or oblique
discourse; poetic prose, verse, or such characteristic literary styles
as those of romanticism, realism, or even the New Yorker . It can be
created through references to certain aspects of a particular cultural
or social heritage, such as national holidays, historical or geographic
landmarks, or national or local characteristics and beliefs. Ambiance
can also involve ethnic or cultural peculiarities and
idiosyncrasies—special marriage or burial customs or rites, various
superstitions and taboos. Finally, it can utilize the special
characteristics of one language that have no (or only imprecise)
equivalents in another.

Those who are not translators may not give much thought to the problem
of the most appropriate treatment in English of the complex and
elaborate sentences of German or Russian, or the flowery styles of
Russian or Chinese. Most of us, however, are aware of a number of
simpler translation problems: “faux amis,” i.e., words which sound
similar in two languages but mean different things; regionalisms, where
the same word or phrase has different connotations or even denotations
and where the region itself, be it Cockney London or the Deep South, may
have unique symbolic values; mixed stylistic levels and metaphors;
almost untranslatable terms such as Gemьtlichkeit or poshlost ; the need
to find English equivalents for the familiar form of address still used
by many languages, or for titles, first names, and surnames used in
special contexts (e.g., Lord Peter, Sir John; vous ma mиre; die Anna );
the difficulty of finding the appropriate linguistic and social form for
expressing or translating wishes, commands, admiration, gratitude,
disagreement; translating into the appropriate ambiance references to
the Bible, the Koran, the Little Red Book, or Comrade Lenin; quoting
Shakespeare to Germans, Goethe and Schiller to Americans. The list is
endless.

Many of these problems face the language student and teacher long before
he confronts them as a translator or interpreter. In general, language
students acquire some of this cultural and social ambiance gradually
through their readings, from their teachers’ explanations, habits, and
customs, or, if the student is lucky, during a lengthy stay in a foreign
country with exposure to that country’s cultural and social values.
Nonetheless, it takes a very observant, determined, sensitive, and
thoughtful student to absorb enough of the ambiance to become a
“near-native.”

If the near-native also has a profound awareness of his primary culture,
he can be considered bilingual. (Actually, true bilingualism is rare.
Unless both languages and cultures are constantly accessible and in
equal measure part of the working and living environment, one of them
soon moves into a secondary position.) Finally, in addition to engaging
in a comprehensive “contrastive analysis” of his two languages (i.e., a
comparison which is attuned to the myriad factors of the respective
ambiances) and developing methods for solving at least the more obvious
and important problems of linguistic, cultural, or social divergence,
the bilingual speaker must attain an educational level sufficiently high
for an awareness of aesthetic, philosophical, social, and political
factors and innuendos and their possible equivalents in the other
language area. Only then will he have the potential for becoming a good
translator or interpreter. Such a preparation may well require a
lifetime—and in the past “real” translators and interpreters indeed
seemed born rather than bred. In fact, however, a far greater number of
working translators and interpreters were merely people with some
knowledge of a foreign language and an ability to convey the gist of a
message, sometimes together with the gist of their own preferences and
prejudices. The same was, and often is, true of language teachers.
Though we have moved through various methodological revolutions, from
Berlitz and total immersion to the aural-oral approach, from the
linguist-plus-informant team to the “classroom abroad,” highly motivated
students and teachers often fight a losing battle to retain and expand
their laboriously and expensively acquired language skills. We have all
heard the college student complain that “after a year of studying it I
now know less French than when I came back from France,” or “I just
can’t discuss Don Quixote meaningfully in Spanish”; or the teacher’s
confession that “I practically rewrite some of my students’ master’s
theses that are written in German,” or the new Ph.D. who admits that he
cannot lecture in Russian.

After World War II, several European universities established extensive
formal programs for the training of professional translators and
interpreters and developed methods for refining the techniques of what I
have called contrastive analysis. More recently, similar programs were
established at a few American universities, most notably at Georgetown
and the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies. While serving as director
of the program at Monterey, I realized that, unlike its European
counterparts which are able to draw on a multilingually oriented
environment, and perhaps even unlike the Georgetown program which
undoubtedly benefits from Washington’s sizable international population,
the Institute’s program had to provide considerable training in advanced
language skills as well as in translation and interpretation techniques.
Moreover, when seeking teachers qualified both to teach and practice
translation or interpretation, I soon discovered that most “bilingual”
teachers had either lost or never found that sensitivity to conceptual
shadings and equivalences which is so important for a good translator or
interpreter (and equally for a good language speaker or teacher). I
therefore consider it essential that academic institutions of higher
learning provide advanced language training in addition to courses in
literature and culture, and that such language training be required
throughout the language student’s academic residency. This may seem an
inauspicious moment for pleading the case of expanded language programs.
But as teachers turn in increasing numbers to internationally oriented
programs of study such as international studies, comparative politics
and institutions, and comparative economics and management, and as the
value of foreign language mastery within such training becomes more and
more obvious, there is an increasing need for language programs oriented
toward bilingualism. Baddeley, AD., 1986. Working memory. Oxford:
Oxford University Press pp.l7-18, 332

Students (and even teachers) from other programs and schools have
occasionally requested permission to participate in the Institute’s
translation and interpretation courses—not in order to become
professional translators or interpreters but to maintain or expand their
language skills. This fact confirms my belief that some of the
techniques we use to enhance the language facility of our translation
and interpretation students could be applied successfully to general
language programs at other institutions of higher learning. I am
convinced that such language training can be at least as valuable as a
stay abroad, with the added advantage that the second cultural
environment does not tend to displace the first. Both settings, so
necessary for proper contrastive analysis, are thus available
simultaneously.

Chapter2 Listening techniques in translation

The following three techniques used in the training of translators and
interpreters at the Monterey Institute seem especially suitable for
advanced language study:

1. Conceptualization . One of the basic premises for successful
translation and interpretation is recognition of the principle that the
working unit is not a word or word group but the concept, the idea. In
contrast to shorthand, which aims at a verbatim reproduction of a text,
the various note-taking systems used for consecutive interpretation
provide, as it were, “basic training” in conceptualization. They are
compression systems, used to record only the essential concepts of a
speech and its organizational or linkage pattern. As these concepts are
orally translated into the other language, they are again expanded into
complete sentences and given the appropriate stylistic and verbal
framework. By requiring that the student write down not complete
sentences or word groups, but only minimal significant concepts and
linkages—and there is no time to do more—such note-taking encourages the
conceptualization without which effective consecutive interpretation
cannot occur.

There is, of course, no need for every language student to learn
interpretative note-taking, though I consider it an extremely beneficial
skill. It improves essay planning and writing skills, leads to better
note-taking at lectures, increases awareness of parallel or divergent
ways of expressing ideas in two languages and thus develops sensitivity
toward style, and, most important, it encourages analytical and
systematic thinking.

Once the principle of conceptualization is understood, there are many
ways to employ and practice it: prйcis-writing; oral and written text
summaries; oral enumerations of the salient points of a speech, an essay
or a discussion; the selection of appropriate titles and headings for
articles and news items; and brief or extensive recapitulation in the
same language or another of speeches, lectures, articles, or stories
read or heard. Much of the work should be done orally, to increase the
student’s listening comprehension while at the same time providing an
incentive for a critical reception of the presented text. In addition,
teachers trained in the use of an interpretative note-taking system may
find it rewarding to introduce such a course in their schools for the
benefit of students and colleagues.

2. Stylistic transposition . Stylistic transposition is usually
practiced in preparation for written translation of stylistically
sensitive texts. In an oral adaptation, it is also used to prepare
students for simultaneous interpretation. I believe it can also provide
a valuable technique for advanced language training.

There are many ways to practice stylistic transposition, and I will
suggest only a few. Students can write “eyewitness accounts” of an event
as seen by a child, an uneducated person, a newspaper reporter, a
politician, a poet, a philosopher. They can rewrite a stylistically
sophisticated essay in simplified form, or a realistic account
poetically. They can be asked to single out and analyze those components
of an essay that are responsible for its stylistic coloring. They can
study, evaluate, and imitate styles of different writers, or compare
different approaches applied to one theme or subject. Finally, they can
translate stylistically significant texts and compare their translations
with those of their classmates or with published translations.

3. Sight translation . Sight translation is frequently considered an
unpardonable sin, an unmentionable outrage against the canons of
psychologically sound language teaching methodology. If practiced
without supervision, sight translation usually results in clumsy,
literal translation with atrocious syntax and abominable style, full of
gaps and approximations. If undertaken with the teacher’s assistance, it
tends to become a tedious, time-consuming process, a laborious and
frustrating search for the right word or word order, in the course of
which all one’s carefully hidden linguistic sins—long forgotten
grammatical and syntactical rules or never properly understood
words—come to the fore. Despite these handicaps, which are real enough,
I have found sight translation into a foreign language to be the most
effective vocabulary builder, and sight translation into English the
best possible speedy review of grammatical principles and problems.
Moreover, if undertaken systematically, sight translation gradually
produces a fluency and sophistication of expression in the foreign as
well as the native language that is often superior to that of the
average resident of a foreign country, or even a native speaker in his
own country. Gile, D, 1992, Basic Theoretical Components in Interpreter
and Translator Training, in Dollerup, C and Loddegaard, A (eds),
pp.185-194

The reasons for this are simple. If a language is used primarily for
self-expression, a very limited vocabulary, if handled skillfully, may
be adequate and thus remain constant. Sight translation, on the other
hand, forces the student to work with someone else’s vocabulary and
terminology, while mustering all of his linguistic and intellectual
resources in order to find suitable or possible equivalents. As a
result, terms encountered in one language, and improvised in the other
only yesterday, may crop up in the second language today and be
recognized and assimilated into active vocabulary. Observation and
memory improve as the student struggles to convey special expressions in
the other language, and he is forced to appreciate their uniqueness and
felicity. Finally, if texts on different topics provide the “raw
material” for sight translation, vocabulary begins to extend beyond the
terminology of the individual’s own specialization or interests and
brings him closer to a total mastery of the language.

I have found the following method of practicing sight translation most
effective, if used in a combination of self-study and supervised
performance:

· Sight translate aloud for about twenty minutes a day, preferably seven
days a week. The time should be subdivided into ten-minute practice
sessions to and from the target language.

· Use any current newspapers or magazines, preferably different
materials each day or week. At first, sight translate only one or two
paragraphs of various articles, making sure that they range over a
considerable spectrum of topics—politics, economics, brief news items,
society gossip, sports, theater or film, book reviews.

· Sight translate as evenly as possible, to create the illusion of a
read text. Skip, improvise, or simplify as needed, but try to convey the
message accurately and in complete sentences.

· Do not pause to look up words or phrases, but underline special
troublemakers or unknown terms (while guessing at them) in order to
check them out and learn them later.

· Sit down and learn such terms once you have collected twenty or
thirty, and review them on days when there are no new lists to memorize.

· Listen to your oral presentation while sight translating, and force
yourself to use the foreign language as correctly and as literately as
you can, and your native language as elegantly and appropriately as
possible.

· Avoid, if at all possible, terms or constructions in the foreign
language that an educated native speaker would not be likely to use.
(You can try such terms in your written translations or compositions
where they can be corrected or discussed, and where they can contribute
to the development of a style of your own. Here your aim is meaningful
and correct communication presented smoothly and clearly.)

· Do not be discouraged if you get hopelessly stuck and have to
summarize a paragraph in a short, simplistic, and vague sentence, or not
at all. Summarize as best as you can, then skip to another article or
essay. Keppelk, G., and Underwood, B., 1962. “Proactive Inhibition in
Short-term Retention of Single Items”, in Journal of Verbal Learning and
Verbal Behaviour, pp. 153-161.

Long before the emergence of most academic translation and
interpretation programs, sight translation was practiced systematically
in the language school in Vienna where I studied English and French. My
regular practice of it, coupled with consistent vocabulary memorization,
resulted in my arrival in the United States with so extensive an active
English vocabulary that it proved embarrassing, and I quickly reduced it
to a less conspicuous level. But what better goal could there be for
language teachers than that of preparing our students to face similar
embarrassments in a country whose language they have learned here at
home? H.L. MENCKEN used to tell the story of a state legislator who
clinched his argument against a proposed allocation of funds for foreign
language instruction by declaring proudly, “If English was good enough
for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for me.” Funny perhaps, but it is
hard to keep smiling when similar expressions of smug obscurantism
continue to crop up with embarrassing frequency and in the most
surprising places. The deputy superintendent for instruction in the
Washington, D.C. system, James T. Guines, was quoted in the Washington
Post (4 September 1977) as saying that a cut in the school budget meant
that such luxuries as foreign language classes in elementary schools
would be the first to go. After all, he explained, “Even if you go
abroad now, you don’t need a language. The dollar speaks louder than
anything.” Lambert, S & Moser-Mercer,B, 1994, Bridging the Gap:
Empirical Research on Simultaneous Interpreting, Amsterdam &
Philadelphia: John Benjamins pp.511-512

A brief trip to Europe might assist Mr. Guines in acquiring a better
appreciation of the value of foreign languages—and of the dollar. But
before we become too self-righteous, we should remember that there is
another side to this question. We may agree that foreign languages have
intrinsic value, but that value will remain untapped unless and until it
is transmitted correctly. Another Mencken anecdote may clarify the
point. He recalled studying French for two years in high school and
looking forward to his first visit to France; much to his dismay, he
discovered that no one in Paris understood “high school French.”

Charity begins at home. We must put our own house in order. Foreign
language instruction needs improvement at all levels, but the crux of
our problem lies in the elementary and secondary schools. This is where
languages should be taught, not in the colleges. I am convinced that the
long-range solution to the plight of foreign languages in this country
will come with improvement of instruction at the high school level and
with coordination of an effective transition from high school to
college. However, in the meantime we must face the situation as it is
and do the best we can.

Our present prospects are, unfortunately, not very happy. There is no
need to rehearse the litany of complaints, but it is worth reiterating
that the plight of foreign languages reflects a larger problem that
threatens the educational system as a whole. I am speaking of the
continued decline in verbal and mathematical skills among young people,
demonstrated by the drop in SAT scores over the past few years. To no
one’s surprise, a special commission charged with studying the matter
attributed the lower scores to several factors, including too much
television. My own feeling is that two important underlying causes are,
or have been, a creeping anti-intellectualism in the public at large and
a loss of confidence among teachers.

As a result of this fatal combination, many students receive high school
diplomas that are not worth the paper they are written on. Large numbers
of so-called graduates are functional illiterates, incapable of even
balancing a checkbook. They can hardly read and write their own
language, so what hope do they have of learning another? The gradual
abandonment of the emphasis on the three R’s has been encouraged by the
“quick fix” mentality and the introduction of “innovative” ideas, whose
chief purpose appears to be to persuade children that learning requires
little or no effort. No one is suggesting that we return to the bad old
days, but surely the pendulum has swung too far from Grad grind to the
Good Humor Man.

The Good Humor Man approach is intellectually dishonest (children are
not fooled, by the way), and it does the children a terrible disservice,
as many of them come to realize later in life. Many boys and girls
accept tough discipline in sports, and anyone who can learn “plays” in
basketball can learn “plays” in English or mathematics. I do not believe
that young people who discipline their bodies cannot also discipline
their minds. But of course boys and girls have a right to an education;
they do not have any right to play for their school in basketball or
tennis, so they try harder.

Unfortunately, in too many schools sports dominate all other activities.
We are drifting away from the Greek ideal, which like so much in the
Classical heritage comes down to us in a Latin tag: “Mens sana in
corpore sano.” We need to give high school teachers something of the
authority enjoyed by the football coach. It might help, too, if we could
focus more attention on educators rather than “educationists” or
organizers of teaching, and also get school boards and PTA’s off the
teachers’ backs. Perhaps a little “teacher power” would lead to more
respect for teachers—and for the learning process—on the part of the
students.

I may appear to have drifted from the topic of foreign language
instruction, but I am trying to make the point that we share a community
of interests with our colleagues in English and mathematics, and indeed
with all teachers at the secondary school level. Foreign languages are
the most fragile and vulnerable part of the humanities curriculum. All
of us man the front line in a constant battle against obscurantism and
the Madison Avenue mentality, but high school teachers are in the
trenches. Foreign language instruction is bound to suffer if verbal and
mathematical skills decline and if the Good Humor Man approach continues
to flourish. Anyone involved in FL teaching also has a stake in the
maintenance of high standards of oral and written skills in the English
language, because the level of those skills determines the quality of
the students we see in our own classes. A foreign language can, of
course, be taught well or badly, like any other subject, but learning
must involve effort, memorization, precision, and a good knowledge of
how one’s own language works. That is why we should all welcome the
“back to basics” movement that appears to be gaining ground in various
parts of the country. Both students and parents are beginning to realize
that all the fancy talk about innovation and creative freedom does not
help much if a graduate cannot read and write beyond the eighth-grade
level and therefore cannot get a job. Frustrated by this discovery, some
parents have threatened to sue high schools for awarding diplomas under
false pretenses—which is precisely what some schools have done.

Perhaps those of us in Russian studies are more aware of the shared
community of interests and of the need for students to have a solid
grounding in basic verbal skills. We certainly have more to gain, first,
because Russian is such a late arrival on the American educational
scene, and second, because Russian requires a good understanding of
grammar and syntax (not that one can do without this understanding in
learning other languages).

The University of Virginia Slavic Department draws heavily upon applied
linguistics in teaching Russian. The discipline of modern linguistics
was largely created by Slavists and hence figures as a subject of
central importance in most Slavic departments. At the same time, this
approach recognizes the obvious fact that Russian is a highly inflected
language having, for example, six cases. A student who cannot
distinguish between subject and predicate or accusative and dative is
likely to find the going rough. On the other hand, Russian grammar is
logical and predictable; students willing to make a reasonable effort
usually do very well.

Russian classes are anything but dull. Our beginning text is A Russian
Course by Alexander Lipson (Slavica Publishers). It is a text with
excellent layout, tapes, and an exceptionally good workbook manual. The
book offers an ideal combination of liveliness and linguistic
sophistication. The first three chapters present a microcosm of the
Russian language in practice by use of the question-and-answer technique
and frequent repetition. Thereafter the grammar is introduced in stages
because the student now has an understanding of how the language works
in practice. The instructor speaks Russian from the outset, eliciting
correct answers by writing symbols or matchstick drawings on the
blackboard; he needs to be on his toes and to be something of a ham in
order to create the proper atmosphere of give and take in the repetition
of “rituals.”

3.2.2.Lipson’s text abandons the old-fashioned type of grammar sentence
and opts for nonsense phrases which force the student to focus as much
on the linguistic nature of the words as on their meaning. Much fun is
had at the expense of Socialist Realism and Soviet propaganda claims of
breaking cement-mixing records, but it is verbal play rather than social
criticism. Students learn a great deal about the fascinating inhabitants
of the twin cities of West Blinsk and East Blinsk, the latter being
renamed Gubkingrad in honor of Gubkin, the renowned hero of Socialist
Labor. There is also the continuing saga of Superman ( Sverxcelovek )
and Superboy ( Sverxmal’cik ).

The point of all this silliness is that students enjoy the pleasures of
contrastive grammar, of punning with sounds that exist only in English
or only in Russian. Not only do they acquire a useful set of phrases,
but they learn to generate their own “rituals.” They begin to understand
that language, any language, is a system tending toward, but never quite
reaching, perfect balance in its various components and prosodic
features. They enjoy being “behind the scenes,” getting an insight into
the ways in which the linguist formulates rules for what takes place in
a language. They enjoy learning about linguistic universals, about the
relationship between front and back vowels and hard and soft consonants.
They perceive a parallel between consonantal and pronunciation changes
in Russian ( krast’—kradu ) and in English (wit—wisdom; Christ—
Christian).

I have the impression that many FL instructors lack linguistic
sophistication and do not know as much about the theory of language as
they could or should in order to employ an up-to-date methodology. It
might well be that we need a program of fellowships to enable foreign
language instructors at all levels to “retool” and acquire some
understanding of linguistics, semiotics, and communication theory.

Our students are not abandoned at the end of the first or second year,
although Virginia does have a two-year FL requirement. A determined
effort is made to coordinate all four levels of the Russian language
program so that students who wish to may continue with Russian in a
coherent manner; quite a large proportion do decide to go on with the
language. As a continuing text we use Genevra Gerhart’s The Russian’s
World: Life and Language (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). The aim of the
book is to tell the American student “what every Russian knows,” and it
succeeds admirably. Gerhart gives the connotative as well as the
denotative value of Russian words, thus putting cultural flesh on the
linguistic bones, breathing life into the frame.

We place particular emphasis on foreign study. Naturally, a summer or
semester in Leningrad or Moscow does not fit every student’s plans, but
we do offer these opportunities to qualified students through our
membership in such organizations as the Council for International
Educational Exchange and the American Council of Teachers of Russian.
Closer to home, students have available the total-immersion summer
programs at Indiana and Middlebury, as well as the weekend Russian
Language Camp sponsored in the fall by the University of Virginia and
James Madison University. Attendance at such domestic programs—or, even
better, study in the country itself—provides a target for the student to
aim at, a time and place to utilize what he or she has learned.

We are fortunate at Virginia in having excellent cooperation among
foreign language departments. One immediate result of this cooperation
has been the acquisition of a demonstration classroom with excellent
video-tape equipment. This superb facility provides both faculty and
teaching assistants with an opportunity to observe themselves and others
performing, and to correct errors or improve techniques. All foreign
language faculty and teaching assistants hold regular meetings to
discuss problems and methodology.

Each department and each college or university has its own institutional
mission, and it is both natural and healthy that there should be a wide
variety of approaches and emphases. However, the FL program must remain
central to the concerns of the traditional language and literature
department. If there are no students with a solid grounding in the
foreign language, then there will be no majors, no upper-level courses
in which the FL is used, and ultimately no graduates with a true
understanding of the life and culture of the country concerned. A
department that neglects its language program loses its heart. Every
effort should be made, whether the institution has a foreign language
requirement or not, to make the language program as successful as
possible.

The second major focus is, of course, the study of literature. It can be
an enormously civilizing and liberating experience for undergraduates,
providing we do not insist on burdening them with an unrelieved diet of
close formalist analysis of the sort inflicted on us in graduate school.
At the risk of excommunication by adherents to the exclusively intrinsic
study of literature, I must say that I believe it is a mistake to insist
that undergraduates share our enthusiasm for formalist or structural
analysis of texts. A department should make such courses available, but
it should also offer courses of a more humane breadth which treat, for
example, the relationship between literature and the society from which
it emanates, a topic that Harry Levin has written on with his customary
wit and elegance.

Whatever the approach, FL departments should never allow themselves to
be isolated. No one relishes playing the FTE game, least of all those of
us involved in the study of literature, concerned as it is with the
problematical and contingent in life and the larger questions of the
human condition. And yet, if we believe in the value of what we are
doing, we ought to have the courage of our convictions and be prepared
to defend our discipline in an honorable and intellectually responsible
manner. A foreign language department should consider carefully engaging
in cooperative joint programs or courses with other FL departments (and
English departments), as well as with non-language departments involved
in area studies programs. Another useful idea is to offer courses in
English translation. Some people frown on such courses as a sort of
betrayal, but if they are offered as supplementary courses to the
department’s core program they can provide a useful service and, if
taught well, attract good students. After all, not every student
interested in the novels of Dostoevsky or Camus or Thomas Mann or Borges
may have the time to study the foreign language to a level where he or
she can read them in the original. Quite often a student becomes
interested in the language through a literature course in translation.

Team-taught courses provide another useful addition to a department’s
offerings—for example, a course on civilization and culture, or on
contemporary society, taught by an FL faculty member and someone in the
history department. Such interdisciplinary courses are by no means easy
to put together or to teach but they can be very successful.

These are all ideas that have worked quite well for us, but this is
certainly not an exclusive or prescriptive list. Nor do I want to
suggest that we have no problems, either in the Virginia program or in
Russian studies across the country. Enrollments are down in many
institutions. If foreign languages are the most vulnerable part of the
humanities curriculum as a whole, then Russian is probably the most
vulnerable among them, certainly more vulnerable than the more
traditional and better established languages.

In fact, until about twenty years ago Russian hardly existed at all as a
language taught in the colleges, let alone the secondary schools, of
this country. It is true that World War II and the Cold War aroused
considerable interest in the Soviet Union, but, with very few
exceptions, neither war had much impact on the American educational
system. Appropriately enough it was the Russians themselves who obliged
us to pay more attention to their language. The catalyst, of course, was
sputnik , a new word that entered the language to symbolize both
awareness of Soviet achievements and anxiety over an apparent failure of
American science and technology to keep pace.

One important response to sputnik was the National Defense Education Act
(NDEA) of 1958, which resulted in millions of dollars being poured into
language and area studies programs. Among the so-called critical or
strategic languages, Russian has benefited most from NDEA legislation.
Twenty years later we now find that Russian is taught in practically
every respectable college and university in the country. Major
institutions have Russian departments, or even Slavic departments where
not only Russian but other major languages such as Czech, Polish, or
Serbo-Croatian are taught. There are now twenty-three doctoral programs
in Slavic languages and literatures where only three or four existed
prior to 1958. Fourteen Slavic area studies programs continue to receive
federal support under NDEA Title VI, which also provides Foreign
Language and Area Studies graduate fellowships to major Slavic programs.
It should be noted that in awarding these fellowships preference is now
given to students in the non-Russian Slavic and East European languages
and in disciplines other than literature, history, economics, and
political science, which are felt to have come of age at the graduate
level.

It seems to me entirely proper that the traditional foreign languages
should maintain their preeminence. However, long years of neglect of
other major world languages can only be remedied in the short run by the
sort of federal boost provided by NDEA, which has brought the American
educational system more in line with the economic and political
realities of the twentieth century. It is worth remembering that many of
the so-called “smaller” languages are in fact spoken by hundreds of
millions of people: Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Arabic. No one would
suggest that what this country needs is a samovar in every kitchen, but
clearly it is a matter of national interest that a language such as
Russian should be made available in a substantial number of our schools
and colleges.

The position of Russian is certainly much better than it was twenty
years ago. However, the rather panicky reaction to sputnik brought with
it some problems because it created a hothouse growth of Russian and
East European programs that could only flourish, or in some cases
survive, with constant financial support from outside sources. Some
programs put down roots; others have begun to wither. It is obviously
unhealthy and impractical for foreign language instruction to depend
upon the inscrutable shifts of Soviet policy or the momentary shifts in
the climate of international affairs. There still exists the danger
under NDEA that some programs are obliged to balance on a seesaw of
grant and detente; in other words, good news is bad news and vice versa.

We have a habit in this country of throwing money at problems. This
leads to a sort of “greening of America” with a difference. What I mean
is that federal assistance and private funding increased FL enrollments
for a time, but all the while SAT scores were declining. This is a point
we would do well to remember as we enter what may be a new era of
federal funding for foreign language and area studies. One unexpected
result of the Helsinki Accords has been to bring the importance of
international studies to the attention of President Carter. Each
signatory commits itself to “encourage the study of foreign languages
and civilizations as an important means of expanding communication among
peoples—for the strengthening of international cooperation.” Having
signed the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in
Europe, the United States finds itself in a rather embarrassing position
since it needs to do a great deal more than it is currently doing to
“encourage the study of foreign languages and civilizations.” In
response chiefly to the actions of Representative Paul Simon of
Illinois, the President has ordered the creation of a Presidential
Commission on Foreign Languages and International Studies, which should
submit its report during 1978.

One encouraging difference between this renewed federal interest in
foreign languages and that prompted by sputnik twenty years ago is tone.
For example, it was significant that the former National Defense Foreign
Language (NDFL) fellowships have been retitled Foreign Language and Area
Studies (FLAS) fellowships. In other words, “defense” is being removed
from the title, and from the motivation behind offering the awards. It
would seem that we feel less threatened militarily and have a more
healthy understanding of the importance of foreign languages for our
national well-being, even in a world at peace.

Whatever the recommendations of the Presidential Commission, it is
already clear that foreign language instruction has the support of the
recently installed U.S. Commissioner of Education, Ernest L. Boyer. Dr.
Boyer, until last year a chancellor in the State University of New York
system, has a strong professional background in international studies
and a thorough understanding of their importance in the American
educational system. His public comments on the problems and objectives
of education at all levels have been most encouraging, particularly his
speech at the annual meeting of the American Association of State
Colleges and Universities last December. He was reported in the
Chronicle of Higher Education (12 December 1977) to have stated his
intention to “revitalize [federal] support of foreign-language and
area-studies programs” and to give “a new priority” to
internationalizing American education.

We should welcome this increased awareness at the upper levels of the
federal government of what has come to be called “global perspectives.”
Let us take advantage of the new favorable climate of opinion and the
possible increase in federal funding to get “back to basics.” Foreign
language instruction and international studies need to be strengthened
at all levels, not simply at the college and university levels. We must
devote increased attention to the elementary and secondary schools in
order to effect a genuine change and improvement in the present
situation.

1.3.2.H.L. MENCKEN used to tell the story of a state legislator who
clinched his argument against a proposed allocation of funds for foreign
language instruction by declaring proudly, “If English was good enough
for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for me.” Funny perhaps, but it is
hard to keep smiling when similar expressions of smug obscurantism
continue to crop up with embarrassing frequency and in the most
surprising places. The deputy superintendent for instruction in the
Washington, D.C. system, James T. Guines, was quoted in the Washington
Post (4 September 1977) as saying that a cut in the school budget meant
that such luxuries as foreign language classes in elementary schools
would be the first to go. After all, he explained, “Even if you go
abroad now, you don’t need a language. The dollar speaks louder than
anything.”

A brief trip to Europe might assist Mr. Guines in acquiring a better
appreciation of the value of foreign languages—and of the dollar. But
before we become too self-righteous, we should remember that there is
another side to this question. We may agree that foreign languages have
intrinsic value, but that value will remain untapped unless and until it
is transmitted correctly. Another Mencken anecdote may clarify the
point. He recalled studying French for two years in high school and
looking forward to his first visit to France; much to his dismay, he
discovered that no one in Paris understood “high school French.”

Charity begins at home. We must put our own house in order. Foreign
language instruction needs improvement at all levels, but the crux of
our problem lies in the elementary and secondary schools. This is where
languages should be taught, not in the colleges. I am convinced that the
long-range solution to the plight of foreign languages in this country
will come with improvement of instruction at the high school level and
with coordination of an effective transition from high school to
college. However, in the meantime we must face the situation as it is
and do the best we can.

Our present prospects are, unfortunately, not very happy. There is no
need to rehearse the litany of complaints, but it is worth reiterating
that the plight of foreign languages reflects a larger problem that
threatens the educational system as a whole. I am speaking of the
continued decline in verbal and mathematical skills among young people,
demonstrated by the drop in SAT scores over the past few years. To no
one’s surprise, a special commission charged with studying the matter
attributed the lower scores to several factors, including too much
television. My own feeling is that two important underlying causes are,
or have been, a creeping anti-intellectualism in the public at large and
a loss of confidence among teachers.

As a result of this fatal combination, many students receive high school
diplomas that are not worth the paper they are written on. Large numbers
of so-called graduates are functional illiterates, incapable of even
balancing a checkbook. They can hardly read and write their own
language, so what hope do they have of learning another? The gradual
abandonment of the emphasis on the three R’s has been encouraged by the
“quick fix” mentality and the introduction of “innovative” ideas, whose
chief purpose appears to be to persuade children that learning requires
little or no effort. No one is suggesting that we return to the bad old
days, but surely the pendulum has swung too far from Gradgrind to the
Good Humor Man.

The Good Humor Man approach is intellectually dishonest (children are
not fooled, by the way), and it does the children a terrible disservice,
as many of them come to realize later in life. Many boys and girls
accept tough discipline in sports, and anyone who can learn “plays” in
basketball can learn “plays” in English or mathematics. I do not believe
that young people who discipline their bodies cannot also discipline
their minds. But of course boys and girls have a right to an education;
they do not have any right to play for their school in basketball or
tennis, so they try harder.

2..3.2. Unfortunately, in too many schools sports dominate all other
activities. We are drifting away from the Greek ideal, which like so
much in the Classical heritage comes down to us in a Latin tag: “Mens
sana in corpore sano.” We need to give high school teachers something of
the authority enjoyed by the football coach. It might help, too, if we
could focus more attention on educators rather than “educationists” or
organizers of teaching, and also get school boards and PTA’s off the
teachers’ backs. Perhaps a little “teacher power” would lead to more
respect for teachers—and for the learning process—on the part of the
students.

I may appear to have drifted from the topic of foreign language
instruction, but I am trying to make the point that we share a community
of interests with our colleagues in English and mathematics, and indeed
with all teachers at the secondary school level. Foreign languages are
the most fragile and vulnerable part of the humanities curriculum. All
of us man the front line in a constant battle against obscurantism and
the Madison Avenue mentality, but high school teachers are in the
trenches. Foreign language instruction is bound to suffer if verbal and
mathematical skills decline and if the Good Humor Man approach continues
to flourish. Anyone involved in FL teaching also has a stake in the
maintenance of high standards of oral and written skills in the English
language, because the level of those skills determines the quality of
the students we see in our own classes. A foreign language can, of
course, be taught well or badly, like any other subject, but learning
must involve effort, memorization, precision, and a good knowledge of
how one’s own language works. That is why we should all welcome the
“back to basics” movement that appears to be gaining ground in various
parts of the country. Both students and parents are beginning to realize
that all the fancy talk about innovation and creative freedom does not
help much if a graduate cannot read and write beyond the eighth-grade
level and therefore cannot get a job. Frustrated by this discovery, some
parents have threatened to sue high schools for awarding diplomas under
false pretenses—which is precisely what some schools have done.

Perhaps those of us in Russian studies are more aware of the shared
community of interests and of the need for students to have a solid
grounding in basic verbal skills. We certainly have more to gain, first,
because Russian is such a late arrival on the American educational
scene, and second, because Russian requires a good understanding of
grammar and syntax (not that one can do without this understanding in
learning other languages).

The University of Virginia Slavic Department draws heavily upon applied
linguistics in teaching Russian. The discipline of modern linguistics
was largely created by Slavists and hence figures as a subject of
central importance in most Slavic departments. At the same time, this
approach recognizes the obvious fact that Russian is a highly inflected
language having, for example, six cases. A student who cannot
distinguish between subject and predicate or accusative and dative is
likely to find the going rough. On the other hand, Russian grammar is
logical and predictable; students willing to make a reasonable effort
usually do very well.

Russian classes are anything but dull. Our beginning text is A Russian
Course by Alexander Lipson (Slavica Publishers). It is a text with
excellent layout, tapes, and an exceptionally good workbook manual. The
book offers an ideal combination of liveliness and linguistic
sophistication. The first three chapters present a microcosm of the
Russian language in practice by use of the question-and-answer technique
and frequent repetition. Thereafter the grammar is introduced in stages
because the student now has an understanding of how the language works
in practice. The instructor speaks Russian from the outset, eliciting
correct answers by writing symbols or matchstick drawings on the
blackboard; he needs to be on his toes and to be something of a ham in
order to create the proper atmosphere of give and take in the repetition
of “rituals.”

Lipson’s text abandons the old-fashioned type of grammar sentence and
opts for nonsense phrases which force the student to focus as much on
the linguistic nature of the words as on their meaning. Much fun is had
at the expense of Socialist Realism and Soviet propaganda claims of
breaking cement-mixing records, but it is verbal play rather than social
criticism. Students learn a great deal about the fascinating inhabitants
of the twin cities of West Blinsk and East Blinsk, the latter being
renamed Gubkingrad in honor of Gubkin, the renowned hero of Socialist
Labor. There is also the continuing saga of Superman ( Sverxcelovek )
and Superboy ( Sverxmal’cik ).

The point of all this silliness is that students enjoy the pleasures of
contrastive grammar, of punning with sounds that exist only in English
or only in Russian. Not only do they acquire a useful set of phrases,
but they learn to generate their own “rituals.” They begin to understand
that language, any language, is a system tending toward, but never quite
reaching, perfect balance in its various components and prosodic
features. They enjoy being “behind the scenes,” getting an insight into
the ways in which the linguist formulates rules for what takes place in
a language. They enjoy learning about linguistic universals, about the
relationship between front and back vowels and hard and soft consonants.
They perceive a parallel between consonantal and pronunciation changes
in Russian ( krast’—kradu ) and in English (wit—wisdom; Christ—
Christian).

I have the impression that many FL instructors lack linguistic
sophistication and do not know as much about the theory of language as
they could or should in order to employ an up-to-date methodology. It
might well be that we need a program of fellowships to enable foreign
language instructors at all levels to “retool” and acquire some
understanding of linguistics, semiotics, and communication theory.

Our students are not abandoned at the end of the first or second year,
although Virginia does have a two-year FL requirement. A determined
effort is made to coordinate all four levels of the Russian language
program so that students who wish to may continue with Russian in a
coherent manner; quite a large proportion do decide to go on with the
language. As a continuing text we use Genevra Gerhart’s The Russian’s
World: Life and Language (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). The aim of the
book is to tell the American student “what every Russian knows,” and it
succeeds admirably. Gerhart gives the connotative as well as the
denotative value of Russian words, thus putting cultural flesh on the
linguistic bones, breathing life into the frame.

We place particular emphasis on foreign study. Naturally, a summer or
semester in Leningrad or Moscow does not fit every student’s plans, but
we do offer these opportunities to qualified students through our
membership in such organizations as the Council for International
Educational Exchange and the American Council of Teachers of Russian.
Closer to home, students have available the total-immersion summer
programs at Indiana and Middlebury, as well as the weekend Russian
Language Camp sponsored in the fall by the University of Virginia and
James Madison University. Attendance at such domestic programs—or, even
better, study in the country itself—provides a target for the student to
aim at, a time and place to utilize what he or she has learned.

We are fortunate at Virginia in having excellent cooperation among
foreign language departments. One immediate result of this cooperation
has been the acquisition of a demonstration classroom with excellent
video-tape equipment. This superb facility provides both faculty and
teaching assistants with an opportunity to observe themselves and others
performing, and to correct errors or improve techniques. All foreign
language faculty and teaching assistants hold regular meetings to
discuss problems and methodology.

Each department and each college or university has its own institutional
mission, and it is both natural and healthy that there should be a wide
variety of approaches and emphases. However, the FL program must remain
central to the concerns of the traditional language and literature
department. If there are no students with a solid grounding in the
foreign language, then there will be no majors, no upper-level courses
in which the FL is used, and ultimately no graduates with a true
understanding of the life and culture of the country concerned. A
department that neglects its language program loses its heart. Every
effort should be made, whether the institution has a foreign language
requirement or not, to make the language program as successful as
possible.

The second major focus is, of course, the study of literature. It can be
an enormously civilizing and liberating experience for undergraduates,
providing we do not insist on burdening them with an unrelieved diet of
close formalist analysis of the sort inflicted on us in graduate school.
At the risk of excommunication by adherents to the exclusively intrinsic
study of literature, I must say that I believe it is a mistake to insist
that undergraduates share our enthusiasm for formalist or structural
analysis of texts. A department should make such courses available, but
it should also offer courses of a more humane breadth which treat, for
example, the relationship between literature and the society from which
it emanates, a topic that Harry Levin has written on with his customary
wit and elegance.

Whatever the approach, FL departments should never allow themselves to
be isolated. No one relishes playing the FTE game, least of all those of
us involved in the study of literature, concerned as it is with the
problematical and contingent in life and the larger questions of the
human condition. And yet, if we believe in the value of what we are
doing, we ought to have the courage of our convictions and be prepared
to defend our discipline in an honorable and intellectually responsible
manner. A foreign language department should consider carefully engaging
in cooperative joint programs or courses with other FL departments (and
English departments), as well as with non-language departments involved
in area studies programs. Another useful idea is to offer courses in
English translation. Some people frown on such courses as a sort of
betrayal, but if they are offered as supplementary courses to the
department’s core program they can provide a useful service and, if
taught well, attract good students. After all, not every student
interested in the novels of Dostoevsky or Camus or Thomas Mann or Borges
may have the time to study the foreign language to a level where he or
she can read them in the original. Quite often a student becomes
interested in the language through a literature course in translation.

Team-taught courses provide another useful addition to a department’s
offerings—for example, a course on civilization and culture, or on
contemporary society, taught by an FL faculty member and someone in the
history department. Such interdisciplinary courses are by no means easy
to put together or to teach but they can be very successful.

These are all ideas that have worked quite well for us, but this is
certainly not an exclusive or prescriptive list. Nor do I want to
suggest that we have no problems, either in the Virginia program or in
Russian studies across the country. Enrollments are down in many
institutions. If foreign languages are the most vulnerable part of the
humanities curriculum as a whole, then Russian is probably the most
vulnerable among them, certainly more vulnerable than the more
traditional and better established languages.

In fact, until about twenty years ago Russian hardly existed at all as a
language taught in the colleges, let alone the secondary schools, of
this country. It is true that World War II and the Cold War aroused
considerable interest in the Soviet Union, but, with very few
exceptions, neither war had much impact on the American educational
system. Appropriately enough it was the Russians themselves who obliged
us to pay more attention to their language. The catalyst, of course, was
sputnik , a new word that entered the language to symbolize both
awareness of Soviet achievements and anxiety over an apparent failure of
American science and technology to keep pace.

One important response to sputnik was the National Defense Education Act
(NDEA) of 1958, which resulted in millions of dollars being poured into
language and area studies programs. Among the so-called critical or
strategic languages, Russian has benefited most from NDEA legislation.
Twenty years later we now find that Russian is taught in practically
every respectable college and university in the country. Major
institutions have Russian departments, or even Slavic departments where
not only Russian but other major languages such as Czech, Polish, or
Serbo-Croatian are taught. There are now twenty-three doctoral programs
in Slavic languages and literatures where only three or four existed
prior to 1958. Fourteen Slavic area studies programs continue to receive
federal support under NDEA Title VI, which also provides Foreign
Language and Area Studies graduate fellowships to major Slavic programs.
It should be noted that in awarding these fellowships preference is now
given to students in the non-Russian Slavic and East European languages
and in disciplines other than literature, history, economics, and
political science, which are felt to have come of age at the graduate
level.

It seems to me entirely proper that the traditional foreign languages
should maintain their preeminence. However, long years of neglect of
other major world languages can only be remedied in the short run by the
sort of federal boost provided by NDEA, which has brought the American
educational system more in line with the economic and political
realities of the twentieth century. It is worth remembering that many of
the so-called “smaller” languages are in fact spoken by hundreds of
millions of people: Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Arabic. No one would
suggest that what this country needs is a samovar in every kitchen, but
clearly it is a matter of national interest that a language such as
Russian should be made available in a substantial number of our schools
and colleges.

The position of Russian is certainly much better than it was twenty
years ago. However, the rather panicky reaction to sputnik brought with
it some problems because it created a hothouse growth of Russian and
East European programs that could only flourish, or in some cases
survive, with constant financial support from outside sources. Some
programs put down roots; others have begun to wither. It is obviously
unhealthy and impractical for foreign language instruction to depend
upon the inscrutable shifts of Soviet policy or the momentary shifts in
the climate of international affairs. There still exists the danger
under NDEA that some programs are obliged to balance on a seesaw of
grant and detente; in other words, good news is bad news and vice versa.

We have a habit in this country of throwing money at problems. This
leads to a sort of “greening of America” with a difference. What I mean
is that federal assistance and private funding increased FL enrollments
for a time, but all the while SAT scores were declining. This is a point
we would do well to remember as we enter what may be a new era of
federal funding for foreign language and area studies. One unexpected
result of the Helsinki Accords has been to bring the importance of
international studies to the attention of President Carter. Each
signatory commits itself to “encourage the study of foreign languages
and civilizations as an important means of expanding communication among
peoples—for the strengthening of international cooperation.” Having
signed the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in
Europe, the United States finds itself in a rather embarrassing position
since it needs to do a great deal more than it is currently doing to
“encourage the study of foreign languages and civilizations.” In
response chiefly to the actions of Representative Paul Simon of
Illinois, the President has ordered the creation of a Presidential
Commission on Foreign Languages and International Studies, which should
submit its report during 1978.

One encouraging difference between this renewed federal interest in
foreign languages and that prompted by sputnik twenty years ago is tone.
For example, it was significant that the former National Defense Foreign
Language (NDFL) fellowships have been retitled Foreign Language and Area
Studies (FLAS) fellowships. In other words, “defense” is being removed
from the title, and from the motivation behind offering the awards. It
would seem that we feel less threatened militarily and have a more
healthy understanding of the importance of foreign languages for our
national well-being, even in a world at peace.

Whatever the recommendations of the Presidential Commission, it is
already clear that foreign language instruction has the support of the
recently installed U.S. Commissioner of Education, Ernest L. Boyer. Dr.
Boyer, until last year a chancellor in the State University of New York
system, has a strong professional background in international studies
and a thorough understanding of their importance in the American
educational system. His public comments on the problems and objectives
of education at all levels have been most encouraging, particularly his
speech at the annual meeting of the American Association of State
Colleges and Universities last December. He was reported in the
Chronicle of Higher Education (12 December 1977) to have stated his
intention to “revitalize [federal] support of foreign-language and
area-studies programs” and to give “a new priority” to
internationalizing American education.

We should welcome this increased awareness at the upper levels of the
federal government of what has come to be called “global perspectives.”
Let us take advantage of the new favorable climate of opinion and the
possible increase in federal funding to get “back to basics.” Foreign
language instruction and international studies need to be strengthened
at all levels, not simply at the college and university levels. We must
devote increased attention to the elementary and secondary schools in
order to effect a genuine change and improvement in the present
situation.

A paper presented at ADFL Seminar West, 27–30 June 1977, in San Antonio,
Texas. The author is Professor of Russian and Director of the Center for
Russian and East European Studies at the University of Virginia.

The paper discusses memory training in interpreting. According Gile’s
Effort Model (a Processing Capacity Account), short-term memory is an
essential part in the process of interpreting. This paper analyzes the
major characteristics of Short-term Memory (STM) and their implications
for interpreters’ memory training. The author believes that interpreting
is an STM-centered activity, which includes encoding of information from
the Source Language, storing of information, retrieval of information,
and decoding of information into the target language. The training of
STM skills is the first step in training a professional interpreter.
Tactics for memory training for interpreters like retelling,
categorization, generalization, comparison, shadowing exercises,
mnemonics, etc. are presented in this paper.

Interpreting is defined as “oral translation of a written text”
(Shuttleworth & Cowie: 1997:83). Mahmoodzadeh gives a more detailed
definition of interpreting:

Interpreting consists of presenting in the target language, the exact
meaning of what is uttered in the source language either simultaneously
or consecutively, preserving the tone of the speaker (1992:231).

Whether novice or experienced, all interpreters find this profession
demanding and challenging. Phelan says that “when an interpreter is
working, he or she cannot afford to have a bad day. One bad interpreter
can ruin a conference” (2001:4). In discussing the qualifications
required for an interpreter, Phelan mentions that:

“The interpreter needs a good short-term memory to retain what he or she
has just heard and a good long-term memory to put the information into
context. Ability to concentrate is a factor as is the ability to analyze
and process what is heard” (2001:4-5).

Mahmoodzadeh also emphasizes that a skillful interpreter is expected to
“have a powerful memory.” (1992:233). Daniel Gile (1992,1995) emphasizes
the difficulties and efforts involved in interpreting tasks and
strategies needed to overcome them, observing that many failures occur
in the absence of any visible difficulty. He then proposes his Effort
Models for interpreting. He says that “The Effort Models are designed to
help them [interpreters] understand these difficulties [of interpreting]
and select appropriate strategies and tactics. They are based on the
concept of Processing Capacity and on the fact that some mental
operations in interpreting require much Processing Capacity.”(1992:191)
According to Gile, Consecutive Interpreting consists of two phases: a
listening and reformulation phrase and a reconstruction phase (1992:191,
1995b:179):

Phase One: I=L+M+N

I=Interpreting, L=listening and analyzing the source language speech,
M=short-term memory required between the time information is heard and
the time it is written down in the notes, and N=note-taking.

Phase Two: I= Rem+Read+P

In this Phase Two of Consecutive Interpreting, interpreters retrieve
messages from their short-term memory and reconstruct the speech (Rem),
read the notes (N), and produce the Target Language Speech (P). Gile’s
Effort Model for Simultaneous Interpreting is:

SI=L+M+P

SI=Simultaneous Interpreting.

L=Listening and Analysis, which includes “all the mental operations
between perception of a discourse by auditory mechanisms and the moment
at which the interpreter either assigns, or decides not to assign, a
meaning (or several potential meanings) to the segment which he has
heard.”

M=Short-term Memory, which includes “all the mental operations related
to storage in memory of heard segments of discourse until either their
restitution in the target language, their loss if they vanish from
memory, or a decision by the interpreter not to interpret them.”

P=Production, which includes “all the mental operations between the
moment at which the interpreter decides to convey a datum or an idea and
the moment at which he articulates (overtly produces) the form he has
prepared to articulate” (1995a:93).

Gile emphasizes that the memory effort is assumed to stem form the need
to store the words of a proposition until the hearer receives the end of
that proposition. The storage of information is claimed to be
particularly demanding in SI, since both the volume of information and
the pace of storage and retrieval are imposed by the speaker
(1995a:97-98).

In both models, Gile emphasizes the significance of Short-term Memory.
It is actually one of the specific skills which should be imparted to
trainees in the first stage of training. Among all the skills and
techniques which are required for a good interpreter, memory skill is
the first one which should be introduced to trainee interpreters.

III. Conclusion

1.3. As we tried to prove within our qualification work the problems of
good listening and constant training of short-term memory are one of the
most difficult and problematic for those who want to make perfect in
learning any foreign language. So our qualification work set its task to
find out the most appropriate and easy-to-understand ways for improving
the mentioned tasks.

Why we named these problems difficult and decided to study it? As we
know, there are two kinds of human memory: long- and short-termed. The
day-by-day kind of it is a short-termed one. We often forget almost
immediately, what has just been said. As a result, we waste a lot of
time on looking through the requirable information in the dictionaries.
It is especially harmful when we have to use the simultaneous
translation. Short-Term Memory is also an essential part of
interpreting, but memory training has long been ignored by professional
trainers. From the above analysis, we can conclude that memory skills in
interpreting could be acquired by effectively designed exercises. With a
well-‘trained’ short-term memory, interpreters are actually equipped
with an effective tool for the encoding and decoding information. It is,
therefore, advised that institutions of interpreter training include
“memory training” in the design of their courses.

The second part of the problem is that we cannot listen effectively. The
problem caused as a result of it is that we are not able to transmit the
received information to the other speakers. As a result, the students of
foreign languages possess a bad capacity to retell the textual
information without mistakes or more or less adequately. That is why so
important for the teachers of foreign languages to know the appropriate
methodic of listening. Our qualification work might give such an
opportunity for the teachers. We gave a number of methods which are
suitable and approved by the collective of educators in the USA and
Europe.

As a supplementary part to our investigation we included the third
chapter where we gave the synchronic light to the Russian influence onto
the development of the English language. It helped us to understand some
methods used in the theory of translation for translating borrowed
words. Vice-versa, it helps us to understand the ways of translation of
neologisms borrowed from English in the Russian language. The latter is
especially actual for the reason of immediate and constant development
of electronic informational technologies and prolonging
internationalization of the English language.

One more problem we included into the third chapter is the analysis of
teaching the skills of good listening and memory training at schools. It
seemed to us actual because of the reason that our qualification work is
thought to be applied at schools and colleges previously. In this item
we gave the examples of methods used by the American universities.

On the whole, we dare to say that our qualification work will be useful
for everyone who is interest in the theory of translation.

2.3. Having analyzed the question studied we could get the following
results:

1) The problem of right translation both from receipted and accepted
languages can be solved by the applying of the formulae SI=L+M+P.

2) Good listening skills are achieved by means of training exercises.

3) Development of modern informational technologies forces us to pay
much attention to studying the problem of listening and memory training.

In conclusion to our work we would like to say that our qualification
work can be applied and used by the following:

1) The work can be useful for all the teachers of foreign languages when
they teach their students to translate the written sources of
information or when the latters are taught to speak and transmit the
information in foreign languages.

2) All the students of foreign languages department would be able to use
the work for better knowledge of English or when they have practical
classes on foreign language.

3) Translators and interpreters might find a lot of useful information
for the improvement of their professional activity.

4) The qualification work will be useful for everyone who wants to make
perfest in learning foreign languages.

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