module specification

TR7052 - Public Service Interpreting (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Public Service Interpreting
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
100 hours Guided independent study
64 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Practical Examination 40%   Interpreting a role play that reflects a public service interpreting assignment.
Practical Examination 30%   Sight translations of two texts relevant to the context of public service interpreting in and out of English
Coursework 30%   2000 essay
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Friday Afternoon
Spring semester North Friday Morning

Module summary

This module is dedicated to public service interpreting, English Law option. It is aligned with the interpreting and sight translation tasks of Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI), national qualification for the training of public service interpreters. Students who pass this module with 60% get the equivalent of the interpreting and sights translations tasks of the DPSI.

Students will learn how to work as an interpreter in the context of Immigration Services, the Police, the Courts (criminal and civil) and Probation Services. They will explore the context, the dedicated terminology and register, as well as the triad interaction between the service provider, the non English client and the interpreter.

The will practise two modes of interpreting adapted to the context: consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting (whispering). They will also engage with sight translations, using English and an additional language.
Students will engage with the challenges of the communication process during a public service interpreting assignment, such as power imbalance, turn taking, abiding by the code of conduct, maintaining impartiality and confidentiality at all costs.

This module includes generic sessions where the legal system is explained, and language specific practical sessions where students can practise public service interpreting in the legal context.

This module is tightly connected to module TR7051 where the code of conduct and the interpreter’s professional environment dedicated to PSI are explored, discussed and challenged.

Module aims:

  1. You will acquire a broad knowledge of Public Service Interpreting for the legal system (the courts, the police and the immigration services) and gain an understanding of the interpreting process relevant in these areas;
  2. You will be made aware of what is needed to interpret competently and ethically in the specific context of Public Service Interpreting;
  3. You will identify the problems raised in the interpreting process of this particular mode  and understand why they occur;
  4. You will develop knowledge of the interpreting strategies, procedures and techniques used to solve such problems and learn how to use them appropriately;
  5. You will acquire a critical awareness of the importance of context, register and the speaker's attitude in the interpreting process and the role they play in the decisions and choices made during the interpreting assignment;
  6. You will support effective communication throughout the interpreting act and intervene as appropriate in a competent fashion when communication breaks down;

Prior learning requirements

Available for Study Abroad? NO


The module provides a general introduction to the context of Public Service Interpreting in the legal field, the legal aspects of the profession, the code of practice and client etiquette. (LO.2; LO.5)

Students are familiarised with the techniques of consecutive and whispered interpreting, practise the techniques and learn to evaluate when to use them. (LO.1; LO.2; LO3; LO.4; LO.5; LO.6)

In the remaining weeks of the module, students are taught the subject knowledge required for legal Public Service Interpreting and are given the opportunity to acquire practical experience in practical language-specific sessions, where they simulate relevant interpreting situations. (LO.1; LO.2; LO3; LO.4; LO.5; LO.6)

In the course of this practical component students learn to recognise interpreting problems, pinpoint the reasons for their occurrence, find solutions and explain the strategies, procedures and techniques used to solve such problems. (LO.1; LO.2; LO3; LO.4; LO.5; LO.6)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The taught sessions will be dedicated to interpreting and sight translation practice. Students will be introduced to new legal topics and will have to practise interpreting using role plays and sight translations. Language specific tutors who are all professional practitioners in the field will provide guidance and reflection on performance.
Students will need to engage in independent practice to prepare their terminology with bilingual readings, researching the legal context in English and their other language. They will research the code of conduct and need to reflect on context specific situations that relate to their practice.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to:
LO.1 Apply your knowledge of Public Service Interpreting competently in its various forms, understand the interpreting process, and reflect on the mechanisms which underlie it;
LO.2 Interpret competently and ethically in a chosen context of Public Service Interpreting;

LO.3 You will recognise and reflect on the problems raised in the interpreting process and  be able to justify their occurrence;

LO.4 You will apply interpreting strategies, procedures and techniques to solve such problems and be able to use them competently;

LO.5 You will perform interpreting with particular attention paid to context, register and speakers' attitude  and develop a critical appreciation of their role in the decisions and choices made during the interpreting process;

LO.6 You will conduct effective and sustained communication throughout the interpreting assignment and take appropriate action if and when communication breaks down.

Assessment strategy

Students’ knowledge of Public Service Interpreting for the legal system, their understanding of the interpreting process and their ability to identify and reflect on the problems raised and the solutions found to solve them are assessed through two practice based exams in which students demonstrate their practical interpreting and sight  translation skills in the legal field. These practice- based exams will be assessed using criteria that are used to assess public service interpreters at national level, with the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

Students' critical knowledge of the legal aspect of Public Service Interpreting, their understanding of the sensitive nature of this particular mode of interpreting and their ability to deal with such sensitive situations according to the professional code of practice and client etiquette are assessed through a 2,000 essay. Students will have to explore a PSI specific context that is relevant to their practice and interest. Based on the context, they will need to raise one ethical challenge that they will discuss with references to the code of conduct and ethics. They will be able to engage in the code of conduct from the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) in the UK, and may compare it with other relevant codes of conduct from their fields of interest (e.g immigration services) or countries of residence (if relevant).

Students who pass the module with 60% and over will also be granted the interpreting and sight translations tasks of the Diploma of Public Service Interpreting (English Law) awarded by the Chartered Institute of Linguists.