Note-taking in consecutive interpreting

  Key words/main ideas

  Links and separations between ideas

  Tenses of verbs

  Modal verbs

  Dates, numbers, names, lists

  Use whatever language that comes to your mind!

  Use different languages combined with symbols and abbreviations.

  Do not use loose sheets of paper; use a note-pad.

  Write only on the recto side of successive pages of the note-pad.

  Use an old-fashioned lead pencil (which flows more quickly across the page).

  Take notes in an economical way

  Symbols and abbreviations must be easily recognizable.

  Notes must be unequivocal.

  Do not invent symbols and abbreviations in the course of a speech if these symbols and abbreviations do not make immediate sense.

  Do not develop symbols and abbreviations so complicated that they take longer to note down than writing notes long-hand.

  Download This List As PDF

Symbol/Abbreviation Stands for 
: say, talk, tell
think, believe
ask, demand, question
! command, emphasise
$ money, pay, rich
β budgetary
ε economic, economy
ƒ function of, depend on, change according to
OK approve, accept, good
movement, leading to
increase, improve, go up
decrease, deteriorate, go down
tend to increase
tend to decrease
so, therefore, as a result
because, since
But but, however, nevertheless
+ in addition, also
± Approximately, around
more than
less/fewer than
equal to, the same as
not equal to, not the same as
country, nation
# numbers, statistics
W work, employment
Re regarding, about
happy, satisfactory, promising
螢幕快照 2016-07-25 下午12.08.50 unhappy, pessimistic
want, like, wish, desire
meetingsymbol meeting, conference
* conflict, fight, dispute
|— Start
—| finish, end
at the same time, while
negation: OK
veryimportant important
fairlyimportant failyimportant
( ) brackets used to indicate a digression (a joke or an anecdote), to remind the interpreter to include it in the interpretation. Key words can be noted in the parentheses.
b Billion
m Million
t Thousand
Grammatical Marker (superscript)  
d -ed, past tense
ll will/shall, future tense
g -ing, progressive tense
s Plural
r -er
Combined and Modified symbol  
ask asking, questioning
question questions, doubts
many many questions, very doubtful
somewhat somewhat acceptable, mediocre
excell excellent, great success
sort sort of like
dislike don’t want, dislike
yearn very much want to, yearn


Rozan, Jean François. (1956). La prise de notes en interprétation consécutive. Genevè: Librairie de l’Universite Georg & Cie S. A.

Jones, Roderick. (2002). Conference Interpreting Explained (2 ed.). Manchester: Routledge.

Mikkelson, Holly. (1998). Consecutive interpreting theory and consecutive note taking (videorecording). California: ACEBO.





This is an excellent resource for practitioners, students, educators and researchers of Interpreting. I am very happy to endorse it and to recommend it.

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Professor Sandra Hale, University of New South Wales

This is indeed a resourceful website not just for interpreting students but also for researchers who are interested in interpreting studies.

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Dr Ester Leung,
Associate Professor, Translation Programme, Hong Kong Baptist University

I am happy to endorse her website with the greatest praise for her efforts. This glossary will be useful to interpreting students from far and wide, and its usefulness will extend well across the borders of Hong Kong...

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Dr Ineke Crezee, Auckland University of Technology

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