Simultaneous vs. Consecutive Interpretation

Language interpreters play a vital role in global markets. These skilled individuals help businesses to have success in communication, expansions, and trade overseas. But, did you know that there are two primary modes of interpretation?

Both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting methods are used to help bridge cultural barriers and allow for a smooth communicative experience; however, they accomplish these goals in slightly different ways. For you to identify which method is best for your business needs, it is crucial to understand the differences between each style.

Below, let’s dive into the topic of simultaneous vs. consecutive interpretation to aid you in your success.

Simultaneous Interpretation

For a professional linguist to become skilled in simultaneous interpretation, it requires a great deal of specialized training and practice on their end. In fact, on average, it takes 2+ years for a linguist to become certified. So, why the need for so much training? Well, simultaneous interpreters must learn to listen to what the speaker is saying and be able to interpret with just a few seconds delay. Because of this complexity, it is typical for these interpreters to solely listen in their second language and translate the conversation into their native language.

The main advantage of this interpretation method is the time you’ll save during the process; the translation is nearly instantaneous. Simultaneous interpretation is ideal for larger, live events, such as conferences or speeches. Interpreters work in real-time, so the audience isn’t left waiting in the dark. For extended events, interpreters will usually work in pairs due to the high level of concentration required for the job. If one interpreter works for a long timeframe without taking a break, they may become drained, and their skills will likely suffer for it.

Consecutive Interpretation

With consecutive interpretation, the interpreter starts by listening to the speaker, and then once the speaker pauses, they translate the words into another language. Typically, the speaker will pause after each complete thought, giving the interpreter adequate time to deliver the message. Consecutive interpreters must have a good memory, as they need to listen to extended portions of the conversation before being allowed time to translate it. Being a speedy and diligent note-taker is another skill that greatly benefits these interpreters.

Consecutive interpreting takes longer than simultaneous interpreting since it requires the speaker to pause in between their thoughts. However, this method still has its benefits; for one, interpreters are given more time to accurately and fluently translate the spoken conversation. Consecutive interpretation is typically best for smaller gatherings or one-on-one meetings where the conversation is better suited to include interspersed pauses.

Interpretation Services Designed to Meet Your Needs

In summary, the mode of interpretation that you’ll require will likely depend on the type of event or meeting you’re holding. With this knowledge, your business can better identify whether simultaneous vs. consecutive interpretation will rightly suit its needs.

If you’re looking for qualified and professional interpreters, please contact Interpretation Services today. Our team of talented linguists will enable your business to break language barriers and have meaningful discussions. You can learn more about all of our interpretation services here.

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