Three paths to one goal: Communication


Types of interpretation

Interpreters are used not only at big international conferences, but wherever effortless communication in a number of languages is needed, including plant tours, board meetings, management conferences, European works council sessions and radio or television programmes..

Different types of interpretation are available depending on the kind of event being held:

  1. Simultaneous interpretation
  2. Consecutive interpretation
  3. Whisper interpretation

Various factors such as the size of the room, number of participants, number of languages to be interpreted and finally, the time allowed, will determine which kind of interpreting is best. Britta Gravemann will be happy to advise you prior to your event.

Simultaneous interpretation

With simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter listens to the presentation in its original language via headphones and transfers it into the target language over a microphone – virtually in real time. Simultaneous interpretation is the best form of interpreting to use if

  • a number of languages need to be interpreted at the same time,
  • it is an event with many participants, and,
  • the time allotted does not allow for consecutive interpretation.

It should be kept in mind that simultaneous interpretation is technically involved. Specifically that means that one or more interpreters’ booths and the associated control units and transmission devices will be required. Accordingly, a certain amount of space will be needed.

Consecutive interpretation

When consecutive interpretation is used, the interpreter does not sit in a booth but rather in the same room as the participants, interpreting the proceedings segment by segment using shorthand. Consecutive interpretation is best used if

  • it is a smaller event, in which all participants sit around one large table,
  • only one language pair must be interpreted,
  • the room size does not permit the setup of interpreters’ booths,
  • the timetable is adequate, since consecutive interpretation roughly doubles the length of an event, or
  • complex negotiations are being held, during which the participants will appreciate having more time to think.

Whisper interpretation

If time or space constraints prohibit simultaneous or consecutive interpretation it is possible to fall back on the “emergency solution” of whisper interpretation. With this type of interpreting, the interpreter either sits next to a participant and interprets (by whispering) directly for him or her, or uses a hand-held communication device that allows interpretation for more than one participant and free movement around the room.

Again, this is a makeshift solution that only works for shorter events and a smaller number of participants. Consult us directly to learn more about it.