training. Therefore any approach to teaching/learning that is based on the theory of MI, naturally acknowledges and focuses on the individual learners’ differences and tries to cater for them.
These intelligences include: Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence, Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Visual-Spatial Intelligence, Musical-Rhythmic Intelligence, Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence, Interpersonal Intelligence, Intrapersonal Intelligence, and Naturalist Intelligence.
An important aspect of this theory is that it accommodates both nature and nurture; all human beings are born with certain abilities that can be developed to a lesser or greater degree in the course of one’s upbringing. Therefore the degree to which a certain intelligence develops in a certain individual depends on how much time he spends using that intelligence and how fit the environment they are living in is. We will now deal with these eight intelligences in short.
This type of intelligence, sometimes referred to as ‘word-smart’ or ‘book-smart’, involves the knowledge coming through the language; through reading, writing, listening, and speaking. It consists of the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate meanings.
According to Gardner (1999), it involves understanding the order and meaning of words in speech and writing and how to properly use the language. Linguistically intelligent people are usually good at understanding the sociocultural nuances of a language, including idioms, plays on words, and linguistically-based humor. They have highly developed skills for reading, speaking, listening, and writing. They like various kinds of literature, playing word games, making up poetry and stories, engaging in involved discussions with others, debating, formal speaking, creative writing, learning new words, and telling jokes.
Also known as ‘math-smart’ or ‘logic-smart’, this kind of intelligence, according to Gardner (1999), uses numbers, math, and logic to discover and digest the patterns that come our way.
People with a strong logical-mathematical intelligence tend to think in more conceptual, abstract terms and often notice patterns that others miss. They enjoy solving puzzles, analyzing circumstances and other people’s behavior. They are keen on working with numbers and mathematical operations. Such people have an organized, systematic mind and always have a reason for what they do or think.
Sometimes referred to as ‘art-smart’ or ‘picture-smart’, this intelligence is defined by Gardner (1999) to entail the ability to create visual representations of the world and manipulate spatial relations. Those with strengths in this ability often understand new information best if they can make a mental picture by visualizing the new information or by creating a physical picture such as a map, chart or diagram which helps them develop their mental images. They usually enjoy mazes and can design, draw and create things. They also enjoy things presented visually, for example by video, photographs, pictures and charts. These individuals have a good visual memory and are able to recognize a shape when it appears in a new context. They have the ability to orient themselves in a new environment.
Such people are aware of the shapes, colors, objects, and patterns around them. They fancy drawing, designing, painting, working with clay, doing jigsaw puzzles, reading maps, and navigating.
As the name suggests, ‘music-smart’ or ‘sound-smart’ people remember melodies or notice rhythm. Gardner (1999) believes that these people are often very aware of sounds around them and enjoy producing music through playing musical instruments or making sound effects. This intelligence involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. According to Gardner (1983), musical intelligence runs in an almost structural parallel to linguistic intelligence. This intelligence allows people to create, communicate, and understand meanings made out of sounds, which is what happens in linguistic communication.
Although the term ‘musical’ does not denote music in its strict technical sense but generally the world of sounds, it is only too natural that people with strength in this type of intelligence have an enthusiasm for music and are very responsive to all sounds in their environment. They might prefer to study or work with background music. Having heard a melody only once, they can easily recall it.
Using the body to express emotions and communicate ideas, playing sports, creating new things, exploring the environment through the sense of touch are all signs of a high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Sometimes called ‘bodily-smart’ or ‘movement-smart’, people with a strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence often prefer physical activity to mental pursuits and like active learning by doing rather than learning through reading or hearing.
According to Gardner (1999), those with a strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence have a strong sense of body awareness, are keen on all sorts of physical activities, and communicate very well through body language and other physical gestures.
‘People-smart’ or ‘group-smart’ are other familiar terms to use to refer to this specific type of intelligence. This intelligence, Gardner (1999) maintains, refers to the ability to understand, interact with, and get along effectively with other people. It entails effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, and sensitivity to the moods, temperaments, motivations, and intentions of other people.
Interpersonally intelligent individuals learn best in cooperative group work, often show strong leadership and organizational skills and are skilled at communicating, performing for others, negotiating and understanding other people’s behavior, and resolving conflict among others. They often show strong empathy for other people’s feelings. They understand and care about individuals, have a lot of friends, like to socialize, and prefer being a member of groups.
The other terms associated with this intelligence are ‘self-smart’ and ‘introspection-smart’. According to Gardner (1999), intrapersonal intelligence means that the individual focuses on the self, understands and is aware of their own feelings, strengths, and weaknesses. People with strength in this intelligence tend to reflect on their own learning, their feelings and overall behavior. They are typically good at goal setting and enjoy activities which further their understanding of themselves as individuals. The person with this intelligence has a keen understanding of oneself. They focus inwards on feelings and ambitions. They like working alone and following their instincts as well as pursuing their own interests and goals.
A strong intrapersonal intelligence can lead to self-esteem, self-enhancement, concentration, and strength of character that can be used to solve internal problems. Intrapersonally intelligent people are insightful, highly intuitive, inwardly motivated, strong-willed, and self-confident. They tend to have well-thought out opinions about different issues and other people normally depend on them for advice and good-counsel.
These ‘nature-smart’ or ‘environment-smart’ people learn things best through interactions with the environment including outdoor activities, field trips, and involvement with plants and animals. They see the subtle patterns in the nature and the world around them. Naturalist intelligence allows people to distinguish among, classify, and use features of the environment.
According to Gardner (1999), it involves recognition, appreciation, and understanding of the natural environment. These people are fascinated by, and also affected by things like weather conditions, changing color of tree leaves, sound of wind or water, etc. At a young age, they are very likely to have a liking for collecting nature things, e.g. bugs, rocks, seashells, sticks, insects, and the like of this. They are normally fond of keeping pets and tend to respect all living beings.
Drawing on the results of their study, Russo and Pippa (2004, p. 423) claim that “there are measurable [nonlinguistic] pre-training conditions which affect either positively or negatively students’ future academic performance [in interpreting]” These non-linguistic factors are worth considering.
Similarly, Commenting on the current situation of interpreting programs as compared to the past, Riccardi (2005, p. 754) states that the increasing number of students willing to become conference interpreters “show the same weaknesses as in the past, often lacking the necessary background with respect to language proficiency and world knowledge, also because their personality traits may not be suited to the job.” (my emphasis) The fact that she mentions personality traits, among others, as a determining factor in the possible success/failure of the interpreting students, is clearly indicative of the importance of such factors suggesting implicitly that they may be worth investigating.
Summarizing the main criteria used to assess aptitude to interpreting in the selection practices implemented worldwide, Moser-Mercer (1994) mention the following areas: knowledge (mother tongue/foreign languages and general education), skills (comprehension, speed of comprehension and memory capacity, simultaneity of listening and speaking, voice and diction) and personality traits (stress tolerance, resilience and learning curves).
One of the most frequently discussed non-linguistic variables in the literature on interpretation is anxiety.