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  • Writer's pictureMaría Palomares Tarí

SIMULTANEOUS VS. CONSECUTIVE INTERPRETING



Interpreters play a huge role in global businesses enabling communication when more than two foreign languages are involved in any type of multilingual setting.


There are multiple challenges that will inevitably come forward during any event planning process, whether it is a conference or meeting, or even an appointment with a doctor that does not speak your language.


For all of those scenarios, there are several types of interpretation you can choose from, with the two primary methods being including simultaneous and consecutive interpretation, both used to bridge linguistic and cultural barriers in different settings.

What is the difference between consecutive and simultaneous interpreters?


In simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter immediately reproduces the message in the target language while the speaker continues to talk. Basically, they work in real-time. In consecutive interpretation, the interpreter begins to interpret after the speaker makes a pause or finished speaking.


Simultaneous interpreting is the kind of interpreting that you see usually in action at large, that is, multilingual events. Here, interpreters sit in soundproof booths and translate the speaker’s words as he delivers them. It requires specialist audio and technical equipment, as well as the booths themselves. Sometimes they can also work in Remote Interpretation hubs (studios that provide interpreters with conference level hardware and software to support them when they work remotely). It also requires interpreters to work in pairs, due to the mental strain of simultaneously listening to one language while speaking in another. The consecutive interpreter, meanwhile, tends to work alone and has no need for any specialist equipment, except for usually a notepad and pen. It is suitable for various occasions where a limited number of participants is involved, e.g., small business meetings, receptions or press conferences.


Apart from this, there is also another interpreting mode, which is liaison or bilateral interpreting, a less formal form of consecutive interpreting suitable for visits of delegations, small business meetings, interviews, or negotiations between two parties, where the interpreter translates from one language to another, and then back again.


Want to get the job done right on your next event with a multilingual audience? Still don’t know what type of interpretation would suit your event best? Reach out to us!





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