Communicating with your clients: a systematic approach for translators and editors


Jura Žymantas,

Friday, 26 October 2007
9:15 - 12:30 h
Real Jardín Botánico/CSIC, Plaza de Murillo 2, Madrid, Spain

Mediation, or the negotiation of meaning, is central to translating, editing and communication in general. Wordsmiths mediate between the writer (researcher, report writer, etc) and the reader, as well as between speakers preparing poster presentations or longer talks and the eventual listeners. Mediation is equally important for language service providers when negotiating terms, conditions and project expectations with a client before undertaking a job.

Non-Directive Listening (NDL) is a systematic approach to full understanding in situations of mediation. It requires a listener's undivided, non-judgmental attention before beginning to act on the information understood. With this approach, both the listener and the speaker (or the author or the client) assure each other that they're on the same page.

Whether it's a question of unblocking ideas or clarifying and focusing them, NDL is a very practical tool for communication. Its principles have extended to many situations where understanding is essential, such as education, business negotiations and meetings, human resources and nursing. It has also been applied to systematic author querying by translators and editors.

In this session participants will be introduced to NDL concepts and have the opportunity to practice NDL in realistic situations.

Purpose | Description | Structure | Who should attend? | Outcome skills
Pre-meeting information | About the facilitator


To practice NDL in a series of structured situations. To discuss its application to our work as translators and editors.


We'll begin by focusing on situations in which listening is important in our professions followed by a look at behaviors which are barriers to listening. The major part of the workshop will consist of participants actually putting NDL into practice. We will also take a brief look at the theoretical underpinnings of NDL and suggest further reading. The workshop will end with a discussion of how NDL can enhance our work.


The NDL tasks will involve taking on three different roles: speaker, listener, and observer. Through reflection on our experience in these roles, we gain a better understanding of how to put the approach into practice.

Who should attend?

This workshop is for anyone who works in communication, in the broadest sense, and for anyone who listens and wants to improve this skill.

Outcome skills

Participants will recognize the difference between NDL and "ordinary listening". They will recognize behaviors which can interfere with understanding. They will be able to listen better, or at least differently.

Pre-meeting information

The Association for the Development of the Person Centered Approach. This website is addressed to all those interested in the field of human relations and personal and interpersonal development.

Summary/glossary of Rogerian terminology by Victor Daniels, PhD at Sonoma State University in California.

About the facilitator

Jura Žymantas divides her time at ESADE (Barcelona) between teaching and working as the International Student Advisor. She teaches English and communication skills to undergraduate business students as well as working professionals. She has also worked as a teacher trainer, accidental translator and interpreter.