Visualization – A Vital Tool in your Toolbox
I just returned from the TerpExpo in Baltimore. It was a wonderful conference and I really enjoyed myself. I highly recommend that you attend if you ever get a chance. One of the workshops that stands out in my mind is “Discourse Mapping” by Shannon Simon. It was an excellent reminder to me of the importance of visualization and how practicing this skill will improve memory and interpreting product.
Although I am a visual thinker and never have had much of a problem with visualizing, I have never really done mind mapping before. It was amazing that drawing a picture really helped me remember the details of a story I had read 3-4 days earlier. If you have never tried mind mapping, I would suggest you try it. You will be amazed!
Mind mapping really helps you to let go of the words and get to the meaning. The presentor used the illustration of an iceberg. The top or surface of the iceberg is the lexical level, the grammar etc. This is called the cohesion or form. The bottom of the iceberg is the textual or deep structure, the meaning behind the words. This is called the coherence, the meaning , and involves using your ELK (extra linguistic knowledge).
Another illustration that was used, which I appreciated, is attributed to the GISH model of interpreting. The source language is like a tree. As we process it, we chop it down. Then we reconstruct it in the target language, and there is no need to add every leaf! How many times have we gotten stuck on the details and lost the true meaning or intent of the source language? I know I have…many times.
If you have never done any mind mapping, here is how. Take a text and draw it. No need to draw all the details, just put down something that will trigger your memory. You can draw it in a linear fashion or have one central picture as the theme and have subsequent ideas coming off it as spokes from a wheel. Any way that you feel comfortable doing it is fine.
I think you will find that you will draw it in a way that your mind already works. For example, I tend to be a minimalist. When I sign, I normally get to the point and then add essential details later. I notice that I did this also with my drawings. I took 7 paragraphs of text and drew two pictures and those pictures are enough for me to remember most of the details of the text.
Mind mapping is not only a visualization tool but is a great way for you to expand your memory and improve your processing skills. Try it. You may like it!
~ Teresa V. Ford