I know, the title sounds ridiculous. Consecutive interpreting without note taking is like a sunny day without the sun, like solid air and liquid earth. Or is it not?
I actually believe that this idea is not as far fetched as it may initially appear, for one simple reason: that we now have the technological means of digitally recording a speech, playing it back with top notch audio quality and slowing it down without degrading the audio output.
Most modern digital recorders have all of these features, plus others such as sophisticated voice activated systems that stop the recorder automatically when the speaker pauses.
Are there any advantages in interpreting a speech consecutively by using a digital recorder instead of a traditional note taking system?
I believe there are many.
For one thing, while you are recording you can focus your full attention on listening, while perhaps jotting down a few numbers, names or words you anticipate you will have problems with afterwards.
There is very little tension in this phase, you don’t have to scramble to understand everything immediately nor do you have to write down every important detail, as you would with traditional note taking.
Then, once the speaker is over, you play the speech back in your earphones (possibily noise cancelling ones) and interpret it “simultaneously”, but with the considerable advantage of having heard the speech already once before and of being able to pause it or slow it down if needed.