Simultaneous interpreting

Interpreting is a verbal form of translation used for face to face meetings. However, not ever meeting is the same and depending on your circumstances you will require different kind of interpreting – and simultaneous interpreting is the most complex one.

For meetings where there are only few people involved you will most likely require a consecutive interpreting. This form of interpreting is based on speakers alternating with the interpreter. This means that if you are having a meeting with someone who doesn’t understand English, you would speak to them, as you normally would, but every couple sentences you’d need to stop an allow the interpreter to convey your message. The other speakers would have to allow interpreter time to convey their messages too.

However, this approach would not work if there are delegates from different countries and you’d need few interpreters. The consecutive interpreting would also not work on conferences where the speaker doesn’t have the luxury of stopping and waiting for the interpreter to speak. For these sorts of cases you would need a simultaneous interpreting.

Simultaneous interpreting takes place, well… simultaneously. So the speaker or presenter does not stop during their presentation, they carry on as at their normal pace. The interpreters listen to the presentation, interpret the message in their head and speak to the delegates whilst at the same time they continue to listen to the presentation. This requires superb concentration and is very strenuous. Therefore, for every language pair two interpreters are needed. They change every 15 minutes, so they get bit of rest when the other interpreter is working.

In addition, specialist equipment is required for the simultaneous interpreting assignments. The interpreters need to sit in sound-proof booths, which are usually placed at the back of the room so they can still see the presenter. If it’s not possible to it the booths in the room, they can also have a live feed video in the booth in order to follow what is going on in the room.

In addition, the delegates requiring interpreting will have to wear head sets and have access microphones (for the Q&A sessions) which of course will be linked with the interpreters’ equipment in the booth.

So, if you are organising a conference which will require simultaneous interpreting, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can provide you with experienced simultaneous interpreters and equipment needed for your event.

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