Oral interpretation is the process of sharing and expressing a piece of literature with a specific audience. The function of the interpreter is limited to being a nexus between the author of the selected literature and the audience responding to the piece of literature. Essentially, the goal of the interpreter is defined by the intention of the author in expressing the message in the literature. To achieve this, the interpreter must understand the background of the author and analyze the intentions of the literature piece before giving the oral interpretation performance. The task of giving an oral interpretation of literature is not a easy one and involves a lot of planning and analysis. A lot of work is involved behind the scenes whenever an interpreter decides to convey a message to the audience. The interpreter must go through the process of selecting the suitable piece of literature, analyze it and rehearse for the presentation.
The first step in oral presentation involves the selection of the piece of literature to be interpreted to the chosen audience. The interpreter does not just wake and decide to tackle any piece of literature. Rather, a vigorous process of selection is involved before a suitable choice is made (Naegelin et al., pp 57). The choice of the material is dependent on the interpreter and the specific topic that they want to address in the interpretation. First of all, the interpreter must choose a subject that interests them then look for material that address the particular topic. The interpreter must then choose a significant list of materials from which to choose from. Even when a specific piece of literature has been suggested to the interpreter, they should not just take the piece but should subject it to an evaluation. The choice of material should have literature value and must be worth presenting. The choice of the material is also dependent on the event and theme of the event or occasion. In addition, the piece of literature should be appropriate for the specific audience.
After successfully selecting the piece of literature, the interpreter must then analyze the material. Whether the material is a poem, drama or prose, the interpreter needs to break the material into parts for easy analysis. Every part of the literature must then be studied and understood fully through reading the selection silently for a number of times. The analysis should include the evaluation of meaning of unfamiliar words and their pronunciation. Further, the characters and the author’s intended audience should be analyzed. The language and plot elements should be analyzed for an understanding of their organization from introduction to conclusion (Lee et al., pp 72). The theme of the material should then be explored as well as the mood of the author in communicating the message. The overall analysis should be able to identify the specific message that the author aims to communicate thus giving it literature merit.
After developing the presentation, the interpreter then rehearses the presentation by reading it to a ‘dummy’ audience. The interpreter can read the presentation in front of a mirror or to the teacher. In addition, the presentation can be rehearsed to a classmate or to an entire class thus improving the confidence of the interpreter. In the rehearsal, the interpreter should focus on maintaining eye contact and the right attitude (Horsley, pp 59). Moreover, the interpreter should concentrate on effective characterization, character placement and effective use of voice elements. After rehearsing, the interpreter should ask for feedback both from self and from the dummy audience for improvements.
Horsley, Richard A. Oral Performance, Popular Tradition, and Hidden Transcript in Q. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006. Print.
Lee, Charlotte I., and Timothy Gura. Oral Interpretation. 7th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987. Print.
Naegelin, Lanny, and Ron Krikac. Getting Started in Oral Interpretation. Lincolnwood, Ill: National Textbook Co, 1993. Print.
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