Using the Polish Tape Set, Front Matter


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Using the Polish Tape Set with The Interpreter's Edge, Generic Edition

developed by Holly Mikkelson & Jim Willis

in consultation with Ludwik Lamensowski


ACEBO P.O. Box 7485 Spreckels, CA 93962

ISBN 1-880594-19-6

Copyright (c) 1998 ACEBO.  All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced, or translated without the prior written consent of ACEBO.  No part of this publication may be stored or transmitted in any electronic form without the prior written consent of ACEBO.

Tape copyright (c) 1998 ACEBO.  It is a violation of US and international copyright law to copy or transcribe the audio tapes of the Polish Tape Set, in whole or in part, without the express written consent of ACEBO.

Printed in the USA.


Introduction How to Use the Polish Tape Set About the Tapes

Simultaneous Lessons Simultaneous Lesson 1, Drinks for Drivers Simultaneous Lesson 2, Free Time Simultaneous Lesson 3, Present-Day Legislation Simultaneous Lesson 4, The Role of the Interpreter in Legal Proceedings Simultaneous Lesson 5, Witnesses Simultaneous Lesson 6, Probation and Parole Simultaneous Lesson 7, The Rights of Criminal Defendants Simultaneous Lesson 8, Sources of Law Simultaneous Lesson 9, Theft and Robbery Simultaneous Lesson 10, Gas Chromatography and Infrared Absorption Simultaneous Lesson 11, Courts of Law Simultaneous Lesson 12, Collection of Fingerprints Simultaneous Lesson 13, Adwokat Rafal Kasprzyk Simultaneous Lesson 14, Drug Laws in Poland Simultaneous Lesson 15, Closing Argument Simultaneous Lesson 16, Crimes Simultaneous Lesson 17, Evidence Simultaneous Lesson 18, Excerpts from the Polish Constitution Simultaneous Lesson 19, Rape Simultaneous Lesson 20, Murder

Memory Lessons Memory Lesson 1, Main Idea Memory Lesson 2, Controversial Content Memory Lesson 3, Writing Key Words Memory Lesson 4, Visualization Memory Lesson 5, Detailed Information Memory Lesson 6, Verbatim Recall of Testimony

Consecutive Lessons Consecutive Lesson 1, Bank Robbery Consecutive Lesson 2, Hit and Run Consecutive Lesson 3, Alien Smuggling Consecutive Lesson 4, Burglary Consecutive Lesson 5, Administrative Hearing, Department of Motor Vehicles Consecutive Lesson 6, Juvenile Court Consecutive Lesson 7, Murder Witness Consecutive Lesson 8, Medical Exam Consecutive Lesson 9, Rape Victim Consecutive Lesson 10, Armed Robbery Consecutive Lesson 11, Personal Injury Deposition Consecutive Lesson 12, Drive-By Shooting


This book is intended to accompany the Polish Tape Set for use with The Interpreter's Edge, Generic Edition.  This is the sixth in our series of language-specific tape sets for the Generic Edition.  This book and the tape set it accompanies are not ordinarily sold or distributed separately from the Generic Edition.  If you do not have a copy of The Interpreter's Edge, Generic Edition, and the Generic Tape Set, contact ACEBO right away.  You can call us at (831) 455-1507, or write to us at P.O. Box 7485, Spreckels, CA 93962.  You can also contact us by email at


The Polish Tape Set for The Interpreter's Edge, Generic Edition was developed in consultation with Mr. Ludwik Lamentowski, Teacher of English (retired), University of Lodz, Poland.  ACEBO wishes to express its appreciation to Mr. Lamensowski for his outstanding contributions, without which the development of these materials would not have been possible. The voices of the following people are heard on the Tape Set:

  • Kinga Kozdron
  • Holly Mikkelson
  • Marek Niklas
  • Barbara Selwyn
  • Jim Willis


The three chapters of The Interpreter's Edge, Generic Edition cover the three modes of interpreting that court interpreters are required to master:

  • Chapter 1 covers simultaneous interpreting.  
  • Chapter 2 covers consecutive interpreting.
  • Chapter 3 deals with sight translation.

The organization of the material in this book and on the Polish Tape Set tapes corresponds to chapters 1 and 2 of the Generic Edition book.  Neither this book nor the Polish Tape Set tapes contain any sight translation material.

Study Time Recommendations

When you are using the Polish Tape Set with the Generic Edition book and tape set, remember that interpreting isn't a skill you can develop overnight. Don't try to move through the lessons too quickly, or you won't acquire the mastery you'll need to be a professional court interpreter.  Because interpreting is so mentally taxing, you'll reach a point of diminishing returns after about 20 minutes spent on a given exercise.  That's why we recommend that you work on each mode of interpreting for 20 minutes, for a total of one hour each practice session.  You can practice twice a day if you want, as long as you allow a long enough interval between sessions.


Many of the texts presented in this book are drawn from actual documents and court cases, but the names used are fictitious and are not those of any actual persons involved in any actual court cases.

Some of the texts included in this book may carry a political content or be otherwise controversial.  This is by design.  The inclusion of such texts is intended to provide you with much-needed practice interpreting material with which you may not agree.  These texts should not be taken as representing the views of the authors or of ACEBO.

How to Use the Polish Tape Set

Before you start to use the Polish Tape Set, you should read all the introductory material in The Interpreter's Edge, Generic Edition book, specifically:

  • the general introduction, which starts on page v
  • How to Use This Book, which starts on page vii
  • the introduction to simultaneous interpretation, which starts on page 1-1
  • the introduction to consecutive interpretation, which starts on page 2-1

Simultaneous Lessons

Simultaneous interpretation is the most common kind of interpreting used in court.  Because the actual courtroom simultaneous interpretation you do will virtually always be from English into Polish, you will not be asked to interpret the Polish simultaneous lessons on the Polish Tape Set.  Instead, you will use them as warm-up exercises.  You will be instructed to shadow, dual task, and/or  paraphrase each passage.

Before you can follow those instructions, you'll need to know what those three terms mean.  They are defined starting on page 1-2 of the Generic Edition book, but we've included a brief explanation here as well:

To shadow is to repeat what the speaker says, word for word, in the same language.  Try to lag a full thought behind the speaker when you shadow.  This helps you get used to talking and listening at the same time.  Repeat the shadow exercise until you can shadow everything the speaker says without leaving out any words.  After you feel comfortable shadowing, go on to the dual-task exercise.  Begin all of your simultaneous practice sessions with five or ten minutes of shadowing to warm up.

Dual task means, simply enough, doing two things at the same time.  While shadowing, write something totally unrelated on a piece of paper--the numerals from 1 to 100, for example.  When you can do that without omitting any of the speaker's words, count by 3s from 3 to 99, and then backwards.  The point is to increase your concentration and accustom yourself to working on two different tasks at once.  Whenever you get to the point that you can shadow the speaker easily while performing the written task, increase the difficulty of the written task.

You probably already know what paraphrase means in its everyday sense, and that's very similar to how we use the word in the context of these training materials:  Begin shadowing the speaker.  As you go along, change the wording of the message wherever you can, without altering the meaning.  This is a very difficult exercise, and it serves several purposes:  It forces you to build up your decalage--the distance you lag behind the speaker--as you wait to hear something meaningful before rewording it; it builds your vocabulary; it increases your mental agility and problem-solving ability; and it enhances your analytical skills as you become more adept at ferreting out the underlying meaning of the message.  

Paraphrasing is a good maintenance exercise that you should return to periodically even after you begin interpreting. Although paraphrasing is a valuable learning tool and mental exercise, you should never paraphrase when you're actually interpreting in court.

The simultaneous lessons on the Polish Tape Set are designed to be used with the English simultaneous lessons in the Generic Tape Set.  For each of the twenty numbered simultaneous lessons in the Generic Tape Set, there is a corresponding Polish simultaneous lesson in the Polish Tape Set.

First, do a Polish simultaneous lesson, following the directions given on the tape.  Then remove the Polish tape from your tape player, put in the Generic Tape Set tape with the corresponding English simultaneous lesson, and do that lesson.

For example:

Polish Simultaneous Lesson 1 is the first lesson on Tape 1, Side A of the Polish Tape Set.  The directions for that lesson tell you first to shadow the passage, then to perform a dual-task exercise with the same passage, and finally to paraphrase the passage.  

After you have successfully completed those three tasks, take the tape out of your tape player and put in Tape 1, Side B of the Generic Tape set.  Do Simultaneous Lesson 1 on that tape.  Again, you are asked to shadow, dual task, and paraphrase, but this time in English.

You would then go on to Polish Simultaneous Lesson 2, followed by Generic Simultaneous Lesson 2, and so on.

The first two Generic simultaneous lessons don't require you to do any actual interpreting.  The other eighteen, however, instruct you to interpret into your target language--Polish.  

The texts of all the lessons are provided in this book.  Do not read the texts while you're listening to the tapes.  Instead, use the printed texts to check on yourself after you've done a lesson.

Memory Lessons

The Polish Tape Set contains six memory lessons.  The first five are on Tape 1, Side B.  The sixth is on Tape 2, Side A.  These memory lessons correspond to the six English memory lessons found on Tape 4, Side B of the Generic Tape Set.  These lessons are designed to prepare you for doing consecutive interpreting, which depends heavily on memory.

The English memory lessons in the Generic Tape Set are described in detail in the Generic Edition book, starting on page 2-1, under the heading "Memory Exercises."

As was the case with the simultaneous lessons, there is a one-to-one  correspondence between the six Polish memory lessons in the Polish Tape Set and the six English memory lessons in the Generic Tape Set.  Start with Polish Memory Lesson 1, followed by Generic Memory Lesson 1; then Polish Memory Lesson 2, followed by Generic Memory Lesson 2, and so on.  

The best way to do the memory exercises is to have two tape recorders —or  a single recorder with two tape stations.  Use one player to play the lesson, and the other to record your rendition.  When you play the memory exercises, pause the recorder when you hear the word stop.  Then record your version of the passage on the second tape.  When you play back your rendition, read along in the script as you listen to it, to check for accuracy.  If you don't have two tape recorders, you can switch cassettes in the same recorder.  Alternatively, you can give your rendition without recording it, and simply read the script immediately afterwards to check for omissions.   Do not read the script while listening to the tape for the first time, however.

Consecutive Lessons

When you've successfully completed the memory lessons, you're ready to tackle consecutive interpreting.

First, read the introduction to consecutive interpretation on page 2-1 of the Generic Edition book.

It is in the area of consecutive interpreting that the Generic Tape Set is necessarily least adequate, and it is here that the Polish Tape Set will be of greatest value to you.  The Polish Tape Set contains twelve consecutive lessons on tapes 2A through 3B.  These will be your primary consecutive interpreting practice materials.

Although the twelve consecutive lessons provided in the Polish Tape Set will give you plenty of realistic consecutive practice, you can still use the consecutive lessons in the Generic Tape Set, either as additional English-to-Polish consecutive practice, or as additional simultaneous practice.  Using those lessons for simultaneous practice realistically simulates a situation in which you might be interpreting English testimony to a Polish-speaking defendant.

Note that the consecutive lessons on the tapes do not give you time to interpret a question before the answer is given, or time to interpret the answer before the next question is asked.  There would be no way for us to know exactly how much time to leave, and to try to do so would waste a great deal of tape.  Instead, we've left very small gaps between questions and answers —just enough to let you know that the speaker has finished.  You can then press the pause button on your tape player, interpret the question or answer, and then unpause the machine.

You may find it useful to go back and repeat some of the earlier lessons after you've progressed well into the tape set, just to refresh some of the basic skills.  Even after you've begun working in the courts, it's a good idea to come back to these exercises occasionally.  

About the Tapes

The Polish Tape Set consists of three cassettes.  Those three cassettes are packaged in the same cassette album with the five cassettes of the Generic Tape Set.

The Polish Tape Set contains the simultaneous, memory, and consecutive  texts provided in this book.

The contents of each tape in the Polish Tape Set are listed below:

  • Tape 1, Side A:  Simultaneous Lessons 1 - 12
  • Tape 1, Side B:  Simultaneous Lessons 13 - 20 & Memory Lessons 1 - 5
  • Tape 2, Side A:  Memory Lesson 6 & Consecutive Lessons 1 - 4
  • Tape 2, Side B:  Consecutive Lessons 5 - 7
  • Tape 3, Side A:  Consecutive Lessons 8 - 10
  • Tape 3, Side B:  Consecutive Lessons 11 and 12

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