Manage discourses in general settings

This unit describes the outcomes, skills and knowledge required to manage the physical setting and pace of discourses in general settings. It requires knowledge of the nature and structure of general interpersonal and institutional dynamics and the ability to recognise personal and professional limitations and seek assistance from appropriate persons. The content of the general setting is usually broad and routine, and there are few or two parties involved.No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication


This unit applies to interpreting in a range of general settings for a variety of purposes, where the interpreter has physical and visual access to participants and can take action to direct participants and manage communication flow.


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Plan discourse.

1.1. Establish assignment requirements with clients to identify planning and resource needs.

1.2. Arrange work environment to assist performance and ensure safe, comfortable and effective discourse settings.

1.3. Identify factors that maycompromise interpreter effectiveness, and make adjustments where possible.

2. Reach agreement with participants on process.

2.1. Confirm relationships between and with participants according to established protocols and practices.

2.2. Negotiate mutual agreement on roles, purpose and process of discourse suitable for the situation and participants and identify areas requiring further research.

2.3. Apply interpreting protocols in a professional manner and seek and provide clarification where required.

3. Manage flow of communication.

3.1. Assess participant attributes and use appropriate communication style..

3.2. Identify and address factors affecting communication flow.

3.3. Advise speakers on length, pace and form of delivery in a professional and courteous manner.

4. Monitor progress of discourse.

4.1. Identify and address problems in message transfer promptly to effectively transfer messages.

4.2. Monitor and facilitate interactions to ensure effective and equitable turn taking.

4.3. Identify communication challenges arising from cross-cultural and participant attributes, and use appropriate strategies to address them.

4.4. Identify personal and professional limitations in managing discourses and take necessary steps to accommodate these limitations.

4.5. Seek assistance from appropriate persons in challenging situations to manage discourse breakdown and restore communication.

4.6. Ensure conduct complies with professional standards and code of ethics.

5. Evaluate discourse management.

5.1. Seek and analyse feedback on discourse management from appropriate persons and evaluate effectiveness of performance to reflect code of ethics.

5.2. Take advice on issues and solutions and explore strategies to improve practice.

Required Skills

Required skills

communication skills to:

identify and plan for assignment requirements

commence discourses according to established protocols

manage communication flow in a sensitive and effective manner

discourse management skills to:

accommodate communication styles and preferences in discourse management

analyse discourse settings and communication preferences, and adapt style accordingly

initiative and enterprise skills to adapt to new and varied assignment situations

interpersonal skills to:

interact with people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with a range of communication needs

confirm assignment requirements and difficulties with clients and colleagues

seek assistance from clients, specialist advisers and peers

interact with a range of participants with confidence and cultural sensitivity

language skills to achieve competent performance given setting of discourses

literacy skills to prepare required background material and resources

organisational skills to identify and prepare work environment

problem-solving skills to:

assess barriers to effective communication and negotiate solutions

change conditions to enhance message transfer and interpreter comfort and safety

maintain effective communication flow in challenging situations

self-management skills to:

apply code of conduct and legislative requirements to work processes

deflect pressure from other parties to perform duties other than interpreting

evaluate performance according to client expectations

behave professionally in all situations, including in emergencies and with time pressures

identify personal and professional limitations in managing discourse

seek debriefing and support where required

technology skills to use a range of technical and electronic equipment, where necessary

Required knowledge

communication techniques that facilitate communication flow and discourse management

culture-specific knowledge to:

arrange work environment

confirm relationships between and with parties

identify factors affecting communication flow

strategies and techniques for working with people with special communication needs

language structure, dialects and idioms in source and target languages

discourse management issues, strategies and techniques

relevant codes of ethics

legal requirements, professional procedures and guidelines, ethical practices and business standards relating to assignment, including:

confidentiality requirements

privacy legislation

limitations of work role, responsibility and professional abilities

nature and structure of interpersonal, institutional and meeting dynamics

OHS and risk management practices and procedures relevant to nature of assignment

professional support networks, including peer help groups and mentors

source and target languages to achieve competent performance given setting of discourses

Evidence Required

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

In addition to integrated demonstration of the elements and their related performance criteria, look for evidence that confirms the candidate's ability to manage the physical setting and pace of discourses in general settings. This includes:

identifying and analysing assignment requirements and resources and the need for additional information

planning in order to anticipate factors that may impact interpreting in general discourse settings.

Supporting parties to understand and reaching agreement with parties on the interpreting process.

Directing participants in a respectful and professional manner to maximise communication flow.

Identifying communication challenges from cross-cultural and participant attributes and using appropriate strategies to address them.

Identifying personal and professional limitations and challenging situations and seeking assistance to address them.

complying with professional standards and codes.

reflecting on practice and using opportunities to improve practice

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Evidence for assessment of this unit of competency will make use of scenarios, case studies, experiences and, where possible, examples of interactions with colleagues and clients which illustrate a range of skills and strategies for managing discourses in general settings.

Resources for assessment include:

a range of clients and environments where preparation for assignments requires familiarity with assignment to plan and identify resource needs

discourses which require general and routine concepts, including community and cultural protocols and familiar procedures

settings which allow a range of capacity to influence meeting processes and communication flow

discourses which include parties with a range of experience with interpreting and its protocols and conventions.

observations and questioning of candidates interpreting in settings which require a range of techniques to address issues affecting communication flow.

Evidence for assessment should be gathered to demonstrate a range of experiences in managing discourses in general settings. Evidence could include examples of negotiations with client and participant expectations, using the resources of professional associations or employers, and should also include evidence of decision making where there are high levels of risk in ethical, business and professional issues influencing decisions.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Requirements may include:

discourse participants and languages spoken

discourse location or environment

familiarity with the content, subjects and expectations

familiarity with topic and context

work conditions, such as:

continuous hours to be worked

need for tandem or team or collaborative interpreting

required breaks

timing of discourse

Planning may include for:


context and subject

expectations and intended or desired outcomes

culturally appropriate behaviour and presentation

target language delivery

risk management considerations

safety requirements for interpreter

Arranging work environment may include:

clear lines of sight

adequate lighting and ventilation

acceptable visual and noise levels

comfort and safety

participant positioning appropriate to:

cultural and religious backgrounds

recording of assignment

party movements and dynamics


visually impaired participants

Resources may include:

background information

forms or paperwork

reference material, including dictionaries and glossaries

tools and equipment

supporting documentation to assist message transfer, such as diagrams, maps and photographs

Factors that may compromise interpreter effectiveness may include:

impeded lines of sight

inadequate lighting and ventilation

physical barriers to discourse management

persons other than participants present (e.g. family or observers)

visual and ambient noise

Adjustments may include:

addressing OHS concerns

adjusting position and setting in regard to listener or speaker as changing circumstances require

positioning self in a culturally appropriate manner

maximising access to hands-free telephone

remaining unobtrusive when not required to interpret.

using professional judgement to decide when adjustment isn't possible, and to use alternative strategies, such as withdrawal from assignment

Relationships between and with participants may include:

details of discourse, such as:

first time meeting or one in a series of meetings

government service provider with public client

service provider with private client

interests in relation to purpose of discourse

personal details of participants, including religious and ethnic backgrounds

family and kinship connection

cultural protocols and conventions


primary and secondary participants

professional agents and their roles

the role and expectations of the interpreter

Protocols to commence discourse may include:

effecting introductions

briefing participants

explaining purpose, process and recording requirements

confirming confidentiality of information, if appropriate to discourse

requesting participant details, such as names and titles

Attributes may include:

attitudes to:

communication needs of all parties





speaking or signing style and expression, including 'Australianised' language other than English

educational level

intellectual and physical capabilities


language proficiency, including pronunciation and vocabulary

Communication style may include:

language version or dialect


regular checking of understanding, particularly in Auslan and Indigenous dialogues

Factors affecting communication flow may include:

ethnic, political and religious affiliations or kinship

real or perceived direct or indirect conflicts of interest

stressful or confrontational situations


personal presentation

degree of familiarity with specific procedures

performance stress

personal beliefs, feelings and customs

personal competence

Strategies may include:

adjusting register

impartial interpreting of indicators of misunderstanding

explaining exchanges between interpreter and individual parties

selecting appropriate moment and method to communicate challenges

cross-cultural and interpersonal bridging

Challenging situations may include:

attempts to manipulate or influence interpreter

cross-cultural communication challenges, relating to:

culture-specific attitudes and behaviour

cultural conflicts, such as aboriginal country boundaries

different communication styles and preferences

challenging characteristics of participants, such as:


physical or mental disability

emotional or psychological state of participants (e.g. traumatisation, anger, fear)

lack of cooperation and resistance to process

discourse setting, including:

confined space

physical barriers to sight or sound

diverse expectations of participants

local variations in pronunciation, expression and vocabulary

type of discourse, such as:

emotionally charged discourses in crises, accidents or emergencies

conflict between participants

Appropriate persons may include:

chair of meeting

discourse participants

interpreting team colleague

mentoring interpreter

booking agency


Not applicable.

Competency Field

Translating and Interpreting.

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.