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To conduct a think aloud protocol to identify patterns in your thinking

Time Required for Activity: 15-30 mins


Interpreters will:

  1. Conduct a Think Aloud Protocol and record their thoughts.
  2. Review their thoughts and identify patterns.  

You can use this activity to address a variety of skills, including preparing for interpreting assignments, identifying specific skills needed for different situations, and managing emotions during interpreted situations.


Russell, D. & Winston, B. (2014). TAPing into the interpreting process:  Using participant reports to inform the interpreting process. The International Journal for Translation & Interpreting Research, 6(1).  

Smith, A. (2014). Think aloud protocols: viable for teaching, learning, and professional development in interpretingThe International Journal for Translation & Interpreting Research, 6(1).

Step One: Select Your Source

You can choose a source video from the GTC Resource Library – or you can select a source from your life. Though it would be more complicated, you could even do a live event that you comment on while you are experiencing it.

Depending on how long your source is, it will lengthen the time needed for this activity.

Step Two: Watch Source and Record Your Thinking

Watch your source and record what it is you are thinking during that experience. Here are some questions you can use to help prompt your thinking:

  • What do you notice about the person (or people) who are included in the source?  (This includes both speaker(s) and audience.)
  • What would you need if you were preparing to interpret this situation?
  • Do you have any thoughts or questions about the language used?
  • What do you notice about the context?
  • What emotions are you experiencing as you view the situation (and think about interpreting it)?

Recording Your TAP

Here are the options for recording your thinking:

  • If using sign language, set your phone or another recording device to record your thinking as you view the source.
  • If you are using spoken language, you can record with your phone or another recording device.
  • If you want to use written language, you can type out your thoughts. (This might require you to pause the video while you share your thoughts.)
  • If you have access to GoReact, you can add your source to GoReact as a stimulus and then watch the video and record your thoughts directly in GoReact.

Step Three: Look for Patterns in Your Thoughts

Review your documentation of your thinking.  Reflect on the following questions:

  • What patterns do you notice in your thinking?
  • Do you notice any connection between how you are feeling and certain events in the source?
  • If you were to interpret this source, what would you need to do to prepare?

Step Four: Engage in Dialogue with Partner (Optional)

If you have a mentor, coach, or peer who you are working with, you can use dialogue to deepen your learning.

Both of you can view the same source, and then compare your TAPs or you can simply share your TAP with your partner and see if they have questions or notice anything in the thoughts you have identified.