July 15, 2011

Table Topics: Speaking and Translating a Nonexistent Language

Table Topics Master: Leila B.
Date: June 30, 2011

Table Topics:
This Table Topics session involved two members at a time. Normally, each attendee works independently.

  • Explore how speaking and being heard is more that than what you say.
  • Manage and cultivate all the physical factors associated with communication to effectively enhance your message.
An envelope was passed to each member in turn. He/she pulled out a piece of paper. Each member got a different description to vocalize and act out within a time span of 30-75 seconds.

  1. This summer, I'm going to scuba dive. 
  2. This summer, I'm going to plant trees.
  3. This summer, I'm going to work at the drive in movie theatre.

Word of the day:
Each member had to include the word of the day into their impromptu translation or pay a fine to the club. Guests were exempt from the penalty.

Subjects performed in tandem. All the members were seated around a circular boardroom table. We initiated the session counter-clockwise. 

Member 1 vocalized and acted out an improvised subject in a non-existent, made up language, while member 2 extemporaneously translated, into English.
Next, member 2, seated on the right, got a chance to take on the role of the speaker. Now the member on the right was the translator. And so on, until the circle was closed. This process gave every member a chance to experience both roles.

Translations were based on deciphering the following factors:
  • Gesticulations
  • Eye contact
  • Voice inflection
  • Body movement and body language
 Outcome:  This Table Topics session was extremely challenging. We realized how dependent we are on everyday spoken language to be descriptive and to communicate our ideas & thoughts.

On the bright side, this challenge stirred up a lot of laughs and self awareness.

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