How did Speechpool come about?

A common complaint from trainee conference interpreters is that they can't find enough suitable practice material. For the dinosaurs among us who remember the days before Wikipedia and Google, this was an acute problem: we were completely reliant on our fellow trainees for good speeches. But even the Internet doesn't seem to have solved this problem.

Material available online is often too difficult for beginners, or outdated, or almost impossible to interpret (for example, news bulletins read out at breakneck speed!).

Some students have got around this problem by creating file-sharing websites and uploading their own, carefully crafted, speeches, which others at the same university can then use as practice material. This still doesn't solve the problem of trying to find speeches in the right language, however. If one of your passive languages is Hungarian, but no-one on your course is a native Hungarian speaker, where do you find useful Hungarian material?

So the idea behind Speechpool was born, in a lightbulb moment (on a modest scale, admittedly): a potentially vast collection of speeches produced by students for students, with minimal outside interference, and with a multitude of languages covered, as long as everyone gets involved. A constantly updated, genuinely collaborative project, free for the user and interactive, exploiting new technologies to the full.


Who is behind Speechpool?

Concept and development: Sophie Llewellyn Smith

Creative input in the initial stages: Matthew Perret and Andrew Gillies

Backing, financial and otherwise: the NNI (National Network for Interpreting) and Dr. Svetlana Carsten

Website development: Matt Clarke

Web page translation: alumni from the MA in Conference Interpreting and Translation Studies at the University of Leeds and students from interpreter training institutions around the world, who graciously agreed to work on the project unpaid.

Site content monitoring: a team of experienced conference interpreters have kindly agreed to keep an eye on the speeches being uploaded, to ensure good quality content.

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How is it funded?

Speechpool was originally part-funded by the UK NNI (National Network for Interpreting). However, Speechpool currently receives no financial support and is managed on a voluntary basis,in her spare time, by Sophie Llewellyn Smith. If you are finding the site useful, PLEASE contribute by making a donation via Paypal to help fund technical support, site maintenance and site hosting costs.Any help with translating web content will also be gratefully received.