Consecutive interpretation: 7 good reasons to take your notes on a tablet

Taking notes is one of the best professional habits and not so secret secrets of consecutive interpreters. Notes are useful to jot down parts of the speech, to decide on which specialised phrases to use in order to deliver a homogenous, consistent translation to the audience and last but not least to help build a solid glossary for future events.

Most old-school consecutive interpreters would use notebooks – plain paper and a pen can work wonders and it all can be sorted and discarded after use once the event is over. But there are better ways to work, and one great improvement of a consecutive interpreter’s life is the large screen mobile device – the tablet.

Be it an iPad or an Android, the tablet makes all tasks easier. Here are some ways in which a tablet can make you life as a consecutive interpreter easier – they will all sound like a sales pitch, but you’ll really find these helpful:

✅ You have everything you may need at a tap away

With a tablet you can keep virtually anything in one place (and, hopefully, neatly organised) and you can also manage emails and other activities at the same time. Having a whole library of documents, glossaries, notes and the Internet at your disposal at all times is so helpful you’ll never want to go back to paper. This is true for old information and also for new documents: maybe you need to access an urgent email with the latest version of the presentation that the speaker had changed one night before the event and it’s only now reaching your inbox; maybe you need to double-check the meaning of a word or to consult the thesaurus for synonyms or maybe you just love to be able to toggle between notes and glossary at any time and to be able to just fast search without the fuss of shuffling papers. For easy access, you can download on the tablet all the supporting materials (those used to prepare for the event) and even put them side by side on tablets with bigger screens.

✅ You can quickly share notes with your colleagues

Upload anything to a cloud of your choice or just share any files through messaging apps or by e-mail. Give and get access to documents on the go and be always one step ahead.

✅ The stylus really makes the tablet a digital notepad

Use Notability on iPad or Samsung Notes on Galaxy Tab or literally any other notes app that you can download and install on your device and you’re good to go. Scribble, take neverending scroll notes or paginate them as you like and make use of the many formatting tools available without the need to carry around pens, pencils, markers and whatnot.

✅ You can record the speaker at the same time as you take notes

This can be especially helpful if you are the kind of consecutive interpreter who likes to check the accuracy of their work and seeks to continuously improve. You can use the recordings to see what went well, what went meh and what is it that you can change in the way you work for doing your job even better at the next event. You can also keep proof of your work for situations when someone may challenge your skills or preformance.

✅ The tablet is solid enough to write on

Sometimes your work environment makes taking notes on paper difficult. Paper is more difficult to hold and you may need to put something firmer underneath just to be able to write properly. With the tablet, this problem is solved.

✅ The backlight will save the day in darker rooms

As it is less likely that you’ll need to perform in full sun, when tablets are more difficult to read, and that many times you need to take notes in a room where the light is dim or the place is poorly lit, the tablet will be of help.

✅ You protect the environment

In short, if you start using a tablet, you simply stop using so much paper and save trees.

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