Knowledge of visitor interpretation/Activities/Principles Information Sheet

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Our guide for Bangkok City Tour

Image courtesy of re-ality


Interpretation of Tilden's Principles of Interpretation


Using the six key principles of interpretation:

Principle 1 - relate your interpretation to the personality or experiences of the visitor

Principle 3 - Interpretation is an art and is teachable


Did the interpreter relate to something the audience may have experienced or involve the audience?

  • Audience profile - it is not always possible to know about your audience and the ways they best learn, before you meet them. They will however, have certain commonalities eg. age, gender, nationality, experience and will usually have an interest in the subject of the tour they will be taking part in.

First visual and auditory (listening) impressions may provide some clues about your audience:

  • they are from a specific country or region
  • they are speaking a certain language
  • they may look of a similar age

The next step would be to ask some questions or try some communication techniques (before the tour gets started) which could help you learn more about them:

  • tell a joke - see if they understand your sense of humour
  • wear something or hold something up which may provoke a question from someone in your audience
  • ask if there is anyone from a particular country eg. USA, then ask where others are from
  • ask if there is anyone with a strong interest, or experience in the topic of your interpretation

Have you used the right resources (props) to support your interpretation. If you are presenting historic, scientific or architectural information did you use resources to help convey your message? eg. signs, information boards, printed material.

Principle 2 - Create an interpretation (weave a story into the facts) with a message from the factual information gathered

Principle 4 - Interpretation is not instruction but rather provocation


Is the message you want to convey clear - if your were to ask a client after you had delivered your interpretation - what was the main message you received for this - would they give you the answer you wanted eg. your theme message.

Will your interpretation generate some thought, provoke a response or from your audience? What have you done to ensure this?

Principal 5 - Address the whole and not just a part


What is the big picture - if there is one thing you would like your audience to remember about the interpretation you just delivered, then you must highlight the mainpoint or what is most important about the site or attraction in your interpretation. You need to do this in such a way that they will remember it. eg your topic is "Your Place" but your theme is how you fit or belong in Your Place. What do you want your audience to remember? That your place is part of you, it helped make you the person you are today and the person you will be tomorrow.

Principle 6 - interpretation for children is different


Interpretation addressed to children (say up to the age of twelve) should not be a dilution of the presentation to adults, but should follow a fundamentally different approach. Use your imagination, remember children have shorter attention spans and concentration, have fun.