Interpretive Techniques for Challenging Topics

Interpretive Techniques for Challenging Topics

Interpreting the complex issues facing the oceans today, from global warming and ocean acidification to energy use and melting glaciers and ice caps, can be a challenge for interpreters in informal settings. The three units in this Interpretive Techniques training module draw upon the standards used by interpreters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Florida Aquarium and Alaska SeaLife Center, as well as the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) in their Certified Interpretive Guide trainings and the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI).

Through videos filmed in aquariums and national parks, we model techniques for interpreting these topics with a range of audiences. The lessons share different ways of communicating content provided in other Climate Interpreter training modules on Energy and Climate Literacy, Oil and the Changing Arctic, and Ocean Acidification

Because climate change has become politicized, and some climate change skeptics seem to be bold and outspoken, many interpreters may be timid about talking about it. First, remember that only 10% of the population has been characterized as “skeptics.” That leaves 90% of a general audience receptive or interested in learning more. As an interpreter, you are a credible source of information. By studying the other training modules on energy, ocean acidification and oil in the Arctic, and by trying some of the techniques modeled in the videos throughout this interpretive training module, you’ll soon feel more comfortable interpreting this controversial topic. You’ll also want to understand your organization’s stance on climate change and be comfortable with the science underlying your theme. It also helps to get together with other interpreters to practice your response to skeptics or dismissive arguments.

Interpretive Techniques Module overview: 

  • Unit 1 offers an overview of interpretation basics, including climate change intangibles, tangibles and values, framing and positive emotions.
  • Unit 2 explores audience, with person-on-the-street interviews about climate change, energy, ocean acidification and oil in the Arctic as well as techniques for engaging skeptics, less aware audiences, supporters and children.
  • Unit 3 delves deeper into techniques and methods, such as using analogies, or initiating questions and answers, storytelling and personification, “making the ask” and facilitating a dialogue about climate change and community action.

1 Comment

gregory kolar

What a fantastic training tool for interpreters of Climate Change or any other topic. The fact that all of the interpretive techniques and methods are enriched and made clear by the video clip examples is such an effective, and cutting edge way of teaching interpretation in a way that any interpreter, novice or skilled, can reap benefits.  The training module is so powerful that people who watch it will have a real chance to become a better interpreter because of it. So I encourage you to SHARE this training module as a way to not only better our ability to interpret climate change, but simply better our ability to interpret our natural world. Once again my compliments on this thorough and technologically advanced presentation on what it takes to be an effective interpreter.

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