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Submission Guidelines for Certification Review

Module 103: Preparing & Presenting an Effective Interpretive Talk

Competency assessment:
Requires the interpreter to be able to plan, prepare and effectively present a professional interpretive talk that facilitates opportunities for the audience to make their own intellectual and emotional connections to the meanings/significance of the resource, through the cohesive development of a relevant idea or ideas.

What you will submit:
A videotape recording or DVD** (see important warning below) of a stand-alone interpretive talk that you have planned, prepared and presented to an on- or off-sight audience.

Note to submitters:

Submissions from seasonals, volunteers, partners, interns -- As of July 15, 2010, seasonals may again submit for this competency but only after completion of an advanced certificate in the on-line course for this competency. Submit a copy of your advanced certificate with your submission packet as described below.

Key submission points:

  • Before preparing your submission, it is to your advantage to review the Interpretive Talke curriculum and certification standard. The IDP on-line course for this competency is a recommended pre-requisite to submission for permanent employees -- and an advanced certificate in this course is a required prerequisite for non-permanent employees. Go to for on-line course information.
  • The talk you submit should have a primarily interpretive purpose and objectives. A talk that is primarily informational, no matter how well delivered, and though its subject may be important to park operations, will not meet this certification standard. The interpretive elements and interpretive delivery methods/techniques of the talk are the focus of this assessment.

  • Interpreters must be able to understand the structure and requirements for preparing, and the dynamics of delivering a stand-alone talk. The talk may utilize some props or other visual/auditory elements, as long as the narrative of the talk is not dependent on them to provide opportunities for connections to resource meanings. (Programs that rely heavily on media elements, props, activities or demonstrations are not recommended for Module 103; however, they may be appropriate as submissions for Module 210 or 220. Contact the Training Manager if you are unsure.)

  • The obligation for accuracy, topic choice and appropriateness, delivery mechanics, etc., remain the responsibility of you and your supervisor, and are not measured in this review.

  • A self-assessment worksheet is available for this module -- it is recommended that you review this worksheet before you submit.

Preparing your submission:

1) For this competency, you will submit a complete interpretive talk recorded on or copied to VHS videotapes or DVDs. It is not necessary to include warm-up orientation or question/answer portions of a program unless their content is somehow pertinent to the interpretive focus of your talk. If at all possible, choose a talk to submit that is between five and thirty minutes in length. Please indicate the exact length of your talk on the tape or disc labels.

2) The talk should be performed in a park setting with a "real" visitor audience. Off-site programs that interpret park resources are also appropriate. Please submit a program that was intentionally prepared as a stand-alone talk. (A portion of some other activity will likely not certify unless it clearly functions as a stand-alone talk.)

3) Since each competency has unique characteristics that are important to demonstrate, it is not to your advantage to submit the same program for more than one competency. Therefore, please do not submit the same program for more than one competency without prior approval by the Certification Program Manager or Training Manager.

4) Submit three copies* of the interpretive talk on VHS tapes or DVDs. The tapes or discs you submit must have clear, discernable audio, and primarily focus on the interpreter. Record and duplicate your tapes or discs at normal speed.  If possible, the audience should be shown in context at least once during the program -- group size does not matter. Any view of the resources being interpreted that helps a certifier understand the message is welcomed, but not necessary.

**Important guidelines for DVD submissions: We have experienced many problems with submissions on DVD -- the only media playback software that is standard on all government computers is Windows Media Player. Therefore, all DVD submissions must be able to play in Windows Media Player in order to ensure that the certifiers can view the DVD. Please convert your program to play in Windows Media Player as the default. Please check all three copies of your DVD submission to make sure the audio and video play all the way through in Windows Media Player. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in your submission being returned to you without being reviewed.

5) If at all possible, use a lapel microphone and mount the camera on a tripod when making your recording. For additional tips on preparing a video, see the attached "TIPS," prepared by Tom Davies, NERO.

6) Be aware that some states prohibit the videotaping of minors. If this is the case where you work, do not include video of the group, simply submit a one paragraph description of the audience, and note the legal restriction on the tape.

7) Complete and submit one copy of the attached "Product Submission Registration Form" with your submission. (Download in a Word format (43KB) or a PDF format (36KB).

8) Seasonals, volunteers, and other non-permanent employees-- must also include a copy of your advanced certificate from the online course for this competency.

When reviewing the video, certifiers will assume good faith effort, and that accuracy and authenticity of the program have been verified at the park level.

*It expedites the process if you can submit three copies of your tape. If not possible, be sure to keep one copy for yourself and submit at least one tape for review. If you are submitting on DVDs, you must submit three copies of the discs.

Where to submit:
Once you have reviewed your project with your supervisor and agreed that it is ready to submit, send to:

Always check your work against the certification standard(s)  before you submit the product for review.Certification Program Manager, Interpretation
Mather Training Center
P.O. Box 77
Fillmore St. and Storer College Place
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Attn: Product submission

You can request a "delivery confirmation" from the post office. Leave your videos in their protective boxes or cases, and pack them carefully. All videos will be returned. Keep the original video yourself, in case something happens to the package in transit.

NOTE: Certification in this competency serves the overall development of employees in Ranger Careers positions, and meets the NPS national standard for interpretive talks. Certification in this competency is a point-in-time assessment only. Long-term performance is measured at the park level. Eligibility for promotion is determined by the supervisor and park. Learn more about the peer review process.

Last module update: July, 2010
Editor: STMA Training Manager Interpretation

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