Active Listening and English-Japanese Interpreting Workshop held

Our Foreign Neighbors We Care invited Mr. Naoto Okamura, an interpreter and translator as well as a lecturer of an interpreting training course at Nichibei Kaiwagakuin, to lead a workshop for the second time on the basic skills of interpreting on January 30, 2019. His lecture had been most favorably received at the first workshop last September.

This time the workshop focused on “What is active listening?” Mr. Okamura lectured us and gave all participants opportunities to learn practical skills through interpreting from English into Japanese and vice-versa. These methods are practical for effective interpreting on the job.

What is active listening? Mr. Okamura taught that the listeners should listen most attentively in order to fully understand a speaker’s message. They should also be able to explain it in their own words and without taking notes. At that point, the participants listened to a native speaker’s short speech on YouTube, “Improve Your Listening Skills with Active Listening”. After that, they were asked to interpret and record it into their smartphones. Later they were asked to confirm their own interpreting via their smartphones and by conveying summaries in pairs. This method was indeed very refreshing for many participants.

After that, the participants were given opportunities to practice slash reading and sight translation, shadowing using a Nikkei’s article, “Employment bill for foreigners”
as well as another English article. Moreover, some were asked to interpret them on the spot.

Mr. Okamura told us that his friend, a professional interpreter follows the habit of reading aloud for about two hours before actual performances in order to loosen his mouth muscles. Such a fascinating fact could only be introduced by an active interpreter like Mr. Okamura.

Many participants submitted positive comments in the questionnaire which we believe would lead to further self-study in the future, such as: “I was able to learn very practical and effective learning methods, although the level was high.” “I realized that improvement can only be achieved by daily strenuous efforts.”