Consecutive Vs Simultaneous interpretation

Understand the difference between consecutive and simultaneous interpreting
Knowing the difference between the two modes of interpretation will greatly help you while planning for interpreter services. Some events will require just simultaneous interpreting while others may require both!
Consecutive interpreting is when the speaker pauses after several sentences or phrases, allowing the interpreter time to relay the message to the other party or audience. Consecutive interpreters are used for a variety of situations such as:
• Workshops
• Interviews
• Consultations
• General conversation

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Simultaneous interpreting is when an interpreter relays information at the same time as a presenter is speaking with only about a 2 second delay. Audience members wear headsets and the interpreter is typically in the back of the room whispering the interpretation into a microphone. For this reason, simultaneous interpreting is also known as conference interpreting and is used for events such as:

  • Speeches
  • Presentations
  • Lectures
  • Community meetings
  • Business gatherings

Depending on the format of your conference/event, you may need just one form of interpretation. Many conferences contain a workshop portion for which having a group of interpreters to perform both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting duties is beneficial.

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Large events such as conferences take extreme coordination and preparation to be successful. This can increase dramatically when conference interpreting services are needed to serve a multilingual audience.

To ensure a smooth and successful event, preparation for interpreter services should begin with ample time until the event otherwise you risk all your hard work and preparation not being accurately conveyed in multiple languages which can reflect poorly on your organizations ability to organize and run an event to non-English speakers.

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