Types of Interpreting

What basic forms of interpreting can be distinguished? What type of interpreting is right for your event?

Basically, there are two types of interpreting: the simultaneous and the consecutive mode:

In a simultaneous interpreting setting, there are usually two interpreters per conference language sharing a sound-proof booth, transmitting the verbal output they receive almost simultaneously into the target language.

The big advantage of simultaneous interpreting is that it allows parallel multi-lingual interpretation without troublesome delays and that the audience have the choice whether they want to use the interpreting service or not.

Whisper interpreting is a variant of simultaneous interpreting that does not require any technological equipment. Here, the interpreter is placed right next to or behind the listener/s and whispers the verbal output into their ears. This type of interpreting is only advisable under exceptional circumstances, however, because, for obvious acoustic limitations, a maximum of only two listeners per interpreter is possible.

In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter first takes down notes while listening to a speaker’s statement or speech segment, and then starts to transmit the message into the target language. Typical settings for consecutive interpreting are welcome addresses at receptions, dinner speeches or negotiations or talks between smaller delegations. The term "liaison interpreting" is sometimes used for the latter scenario.

When planning your event, you should consider that consecutive interpreting necessarily produces a time delay of up to 100%.