Nov 25, 2020 in Education

Jean Francois Rozan


Jean Francois Rozan is an author, a publisher and an interpreter. Some of his books include the Chroniques Des Annees Diffiles, Note-taking Consecutive Intrpeting, La Prise De Notes En Interpretation Consecutive and La Toma De Notas Interpretacion Consecutive. He has a total of 7 works in 59 publications which have been translated to four languages. His works are found in 208 library databases. Some of Rozans books such as the La Prise De Notes En Interpretation Consecutive have numerous editions. La Prise De Notes En Interpretation Consecutive has 37 editions that have been published between 1956 and 2007. This book has been published in 4 different languages. Rozan came up with seven basic principles of note-taking and also 20 symbols that are important for the process of note-taking. According to Rozan, his aim of writing a work-book instead of a book was that he intended it to be simple. He also aimed at using practical exercises to provide the solutions that may be applicable in addressing the issues associated with note-taking. The works of Jean Francois Rozan have been a source of inspiration for many writers and translators and his principles are still used in the present note-taking activities. Through the different works presented by Rozan over many years, important elements of note-taking such as the seven basic principles and the 20 symbols have been introduced.

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Seven Principles of Note-Taking

Jean Francois Rozan grounded his note-taking recommendations on a comprehensive verbal, semantic and intellectual examination of the original. He provided his own perceptive method of addressing equivalent reformulation and communicating effectively. Jean Francois Rozan had a practical manual devoted to note-taking which is known as La Prise De Notes En Intretation Consecutive. Published in 1956, this book provided seven basic principles of note-taking. Jean Francois Rozan also provides 20 symbols that are important for taking notes. There are two positions embraced by researchers in the field of note-taking. Jean Francois Rozan appears to have the stand that favors notes-taking in a particular language though he fails to lay much emphasis on this opinion. The techniques of verticality, shift and the significance of link words or conjunctions within a speech were for the first time written down by Rozan in 1958, but are still part of ABC of sequential note taking. Jean Francois Rozan proposed that notes should be taken down in the original language as often as possible. This is apart from the short normal words like connectives, borrowed mainly from English and applied regardless of the language pair.

Jean Francois Rozan asserts that the use of the technique always relies on the application of a certain number of principles known as instructions. One does not need to adhere to the rules proposed in such instructions. In fact, the product, device or system, for which they were devised, may well function even when they are not being observed, though this will be less efficient. Additionally, the simpler the instructions, the greater the possibility of the user to follow them. The same refers to note-taking. A small number of very simple principles ensure sound base and accuracy of this system, making its use forthright. Jean Francois Rozan outlines seven of these principles. They include noting the idea and not the word, the rules of abbreviation, links, negation, adding emphasis, verticality and lastly, shift. The practices of verticality, shift and the importance of link words or conjunctions within a speech were for the first time written down by Rozan in 1958. They, however, are still part of the ABC of sequential note taking.

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Noting the Idea rather than the Word

If any French text is given to 10 brilliant English translators, the outcome will be ten texts that have been all translated. These will be ten very dissimilar texts when it comes to the real words that were used. The fact that there are ten perfect translations, but ten dissimilar texts, is an illustration that the most important aspect is the renditions of the idea and not the word. This is especially typical for interpretation since the interpreter has to come up with a type of the text in a new language immediately. He/she has to be free of the frequently misleading restrictions that are symbolized by words. With the help of evaluation and notation of the concepts, the interpreter will avoid making mistakes and delivery difficulties. When one is influenced by the source language, it will cause problems for the entire process of interpretation and not just for the French- English interpretation. When taking notes, the interpreter has to focus on the main idea and the means of noting the idea in a clear and simple manner.

The Rules of Abbreviation

The rule of thumb is that unless a word is short consisting of about 4-5 letters, the interpreter has to note it in an abbreviated form. For example, if one has to note the word specialized, it is more significant and dependable to note sp rather than writing spec. The rule presupposes that if one has time to write a word as fully as possible but a word has to be abbreviated, then a person should write some of the first and last letters instead of attempting to write as many letters as possible from the start onwards. Rozan states that the interpreter should to interpret the meaning. He, however, advises that the interpretation should not be done word by word. Rozan also suggests that the interpreter has to also take advantage of abbreviations and note the arrangement of the concepts and the connections between them.

Indicting Gender and Tense

After abbreviating a word with the help of a symbol or through contracting its component letters, it may be important to provide an indication of gender and tense. The rule applicable here is that the indication of gender and number should include the addition of or to the symbol or the abbreviation. In the indication of tense, there should be the addition of (missing word) for the future and the past.

Abbreviating the Register

Where possible, abbreviation should be done through the use of a word that conveys a similar meaning though it should be shorter. For example, the phrase, for the purpose of arriving at certain conclusion may be noted by using the phrase to end. Also, the phrase taking into consideration the situation at the present time may be noted as sit now. Jean Francois Rozan added that the rule suggests that unless the word is not long, that is, comprising of 4-5 letters, such word should be noted in an abbreviated form. He gives the example of gender having no meaning to the people taking notes in English. He adds that though meaningless, the word gender may be important when used in some languages such as the Slavic languages. The nouns of such languages include the word gender in the notes of the interpreter. Rozan also states that the symbol e is a representation of the French feminine ending. This leads to the conclusion that any letter may be used and everything depends on the languages involved or the notes taken by the interpreter.


The portion of any speech that is the most significant and difficult to note is the arrangement of concepts and the links amongst them. An idea may be slanted completely if its connection to the former idea has not been clearly indicated. Therefore, during note taking, a person should avoid missing out links. It is evident that if the links are properly noted, the other ideas may be summarized using only a few words. Noting links gets simpler if there are used the main words that follow so that with time, this becomes spontaneous. Linking does not only entail the representation of an idea but will regularly have an effect on the content of the speech. There is a need to take notes fast and without recapping the group of subject phrases and the combination of complement phrases to which the idea connects. It is possible to provide a solution to this problem easily and quickly with the help of the recall arrow. Furthermore, most of the connections between the entities together with propositions can be expressed using symbols such as =, >, +?.

Negation and Emphasis

Negation and emphasis are two main elements of any speech. They should, therefore, be noted with clarity.


Negation may be noted using a line running through a phrase or a symbol. For instance, if the word OK is used to denote agree, then to express disagreement, it would be possible to inscribe the word no. Therefore, in the above example, one would write no OK. This method is easier to understand and because no is a brief word, its usage would not be complicated.


In emphasizing a word, one may underline it once or twice if a person is working with a superlative or absolute. In some instance, the line may be substituted by a circumflex for the purpose of avoiding confusion associated with the application of verticality. Alternatively, the importance may be noted with the help of a dotted line. Using underlining in denoting nuance enables the interpreter to qualify the underlined concept without noting the qualifier.


The principle of verticality and shift forms the mainstay of the system of note-taking. Verticality denotes note-taking starting from top to bottom instead of left to right. This method allows forming logical group ideas, enabling a total and instant synthesis when the interpreter goes back to reading their notes. It also allows for a person to avoid many links that would otherwise be important for taking notes clearly.

Stacking and the Use of Brackets

Staking involves the placement of various elements of the text beyond or below each other. Brackets are an essential part of the verticality system. In each speech, there will be particular elements, which are mentioned for the purpose of clarifying an idea or highlighting a certain point. They are, however, not essential for the sequence of speakers thoughts. These parts of speech have to be noted with the use of brackets. To encourage the regular use of the verticality method, it is recommended that one should use moderately big, though narrow pieces of paper. This will enable one to know the maximum quantity of text on one page and will also spontaneously bring back ones notes to the left-hand side of the page.


It is one of the basic principles that underlie the system of note-taking. The meaning of shift is writing notes on the lower line where they would have been located if there had been a repetition of the text on the line above.


Symbols and abbreviations have been used for a long time in note-taking and training on taking notes. They have been applied to signify the expressions that are regularly repeated in speeches on different subjects. Symbols are easier to use as one can read them faster as compared to reading words. Almost all graphic signs may be used as a symbol in note-taking, and the meaning may depend on the circumstances in which the symbol is applied. For symbols, everything depends on the creativity of the interpreter. The strategies of using symbols and abbreviations are effective and save time during taking notes concerning different concepts. Rozan states that his manual should not serve something as dogma but as an inspiration at forming interpreters own notes.

The consecutive interpreter should not use too many symbols. If every word is expressed by a single symbol, then one will have a page filled with signs that will need to be interpreted. There will be a reproduction of the speech because of the words rather than the ideas. This would imply that in the process of note-taking, more effort would be needed to symbolize instead of analyzing. The principal rule of interpretation is that the actual work should have already been done when one starts rereading their notes. The words and their meaning should be clearly understood. Notes serve the purpose of reminding the interpreter instantly of each idea in a certain passage of speech and the connection between them. Notes also help to facilitate a fluent and elegant interpretation which implies that words have to be given in their contextual meaning instead of their dictionary meaning.

Rereading ones notes should not be an interpreting practice, but if that were the case, one should use short hand. In note-reading, one concentrates their attention on the form, while in note-taking; the focus is placed on the sense. The quantity of symbols should, therefore, be limited and they should be applied only at the main stages of reasoning and thought. The stages include the expression of a thing, giving the thing a motion and then placing it through establishing its connection with something else. This leads to the three main families of symbols, which are the symbols of expression, symbols of motion and the symbols of correspondence.

There are four symbols of expression. They represent the four main types of expression that are thought, dialogue, discussion and judgment. There are three symbols of motion that are variations in which just one of them points in opposite direction from the context. These include the arrow for transfer, which symbolizes movement from point A to point B. There is also the arrow for increase which is an arrow pointing upwards denoting increment, development and advancements among others. Its meaning is also clear and the text to be applied should be dependent on the context only. Lastly, there is the arrow for decrease, which is an arrow pointed downwards denoting decrease and reduction among others. The symbols of correspondence include relation, equivalence, difference and framing. The symbols for things include symbols for different concept words such as states, questions, members, and trade among others. For example, a country is usually denoted by the symbol of the square. Symbols used to denote people include emoticons such as smiley face to symbolize happiness.

Symbols are important though it is essential to abide by several basic principles to ensure they assist rather than hinder. A symbol has been defined to mean anything, a mark, sign, letter or short word, used to represent a thing, a group of synonymous concepts. Symbols are used as they are faster and easier to rite compared to words. Symbols are also used because they remove source language interfering as they are representations of words instead of ideas.

Symbols should be clear and not ambiguous. One should prepare symbols in advance, and they should not make up mid-speech. What should be noted with symbols are the persisting ideas. These symbols may be applied irrespective of the meeting preparation. The symbols should be applied only once and then they should be discarded. Symbols may be misinterpreted if the interpreter fails to read their notes in the normal sense of the word. Misinterpretation of the symbols may also occur if one is constantly reading ahead of their notes. A consistent and meaningful note-taking system is important to understand and use different symbols.

Organic symbols mean that a single symbol is taken as the foundation of a few other related symbols. The most apparent illustration is underlining. One may underline any symbol that strengthens emphasis. One may also underline twice or draw a dotted line below the symbol or phrase to show different levels of emphasis. One can get symbols from anywhere on condition that a person sticks to some basic rules. Symbols should be used if they come to ones mind and the interpreter does not have to use the meanings assigned to symbols. Symbols are meant to be immediately being associated with the meaning of the symbols given by the interpreter.


Rozan states that the use of techniques always depends on the application of instructions though there is no need for the interpreter to follow the instructions. It is easy to follow simple instructions as compared to complicated ones. Rozan discusses seven of these principles that are; noting the idea and not the word, the rules of abbreviation, links, negation, adding emphasis, verticality, and shift. He also provides an analysis of 20 symbols.

Using the symbols and abbreviations is better than using words as symbols and abbreviations are easier and faster to read hence allowing one to save time during note-taking and interpretation. The interpretation of the symbols has been stated to depend on the person interpreting. During interpretation, the use of too many symbols is discouraged as it will lead to reproduction of the words rather than focusing on the ideas. In regard to abbreviation, Jean Francois Rozan added that a word should be noted in an abbreviated form unless the word is short.

Rozan states that the interpreter is required to do a translation of the meaning but the translation should not be done word by word. The interpreter should also make use of abbreviations and note the sequence of the ideas and the connections between them. The interpreter should also always take notes of the negation, apply emphasis and use the concepts of shift and vertility that are part of the foundation and support of the system of note-taking and shift.

The principles outlined by Rozan are applied in real examples from different languages such as French and English. The author states that his handbook should serve as an inspiration to the interpreter to shape their own notes. The books by Rozan have served as an inspiration for many people. Rozan states that he wrote a work-book instead of a book because he wanted it to be simple. He also wanted to show how the use of practical exercises can help to develop solutions to problems associated with note-taking.

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