Dakhina Olga

Andrey Falaleyev's methodology for training simultaneous interpreters

I am currently studying on the first Russian-English module of Andrey Falaleev's course. He is one of the best Russian conference interpreters, an AIIC member and Professor of the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. This is a very hands-on and intensive course: 10 days, 4 academic hours per day. We record our interpretation and send it to Andrey for feedback. I have 10 pages with some new phrases and ideas in my notebooks every day.
Together with Alena Malofeeva Andrey has published 10 books titled 'Exercises for Interpreters' with English-Russian pairs and different types of practical exercises. You can use just the books for practice if you can't enroll for his course. His main idea: technique is very important, and it can be improved significantly by many hours of practice, and then quantity will surely turn into quality.


Together with Alena Malofeeva Andrey has published 10 books titled 'Exercises for Interpreters' with English-Russian pairs and different types of practical exercises. You can use just the books for practice if you can't enroll for his course. His main idea: technique is very important, and it can be improved significantly by many hours of practice, and then quantity will surely turn into quality.


But I decided to attend the course because sometimes it is difficult to make yourself practice on your own. And I get inspired by communicating with the most talented people in our profession. The course gives me an understanding of what could be achieved if I continue expanding my background knowledge and working on my non-native English, and what the quality of my interpreting could be in 10-20 years' time.

I am going to try to express how I understand Andrey's philosophy and methodology.
So, what is this methodology about?:
Practice in using a big number of English–Russian pairs
It is very important for simultaneous interpreters as they need to know the equivalents and not just do word-for-word translation. That is why the practice of using a big number of English–Russian pairs is crucial. The interpretation will therefore come out of your mouth almost automatically, and it frees up time and energy to follow the speaker's train of thought.
Classes are very practical
Andrey is a coach, not a lecturer; his classes contain practice and only practice. He creates situations, and students, once in them, gain their own experience. Lectures give you knowledge, but only practice will give you experience.
Provocation method
Phrases for interpreting are both varied and complex: after 'green apple' you will hear something like 'grey eminence'. This is a method of provocation, so your reaction, concentration, and accuracy are developed.
Working along the lines of martial arts
We work along the lines of martial arts (wushu): every word that goes out to students is a punch, and they need to learn how to fend it off.
Analysis of key processes and concepts of the topic
Memorising long vocabulary lists makes no sense if there is no deep understanding of the topic. That is why any training begins with understanding the key processes and concepts of the topic in question.
Andrey's classes are very inspiring. I am extremely grateful to him for generously sharing what he has built up over 40 years as a simultaneous interpreter.

You can buy Andrey's books here, for example. And you can read more about his methodology here.
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