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8 Types of Interpretation Services

types of interpretation services

interpretation services 8 types

If you are in need of interpretation services, it is a good idea to learn about the different types available so you can determine the best service for your needs and budget accordingly.

Simultaneous Interpretation

In simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter interprets for an audience in another (the target) language while the presenter speaks normally without pausing.  The presenter speaks to the interpreter or through an earpiece.  

Simultaneous interpretation is a challenging task that requires not only knowledge of both languages and subject matter, but also the ability to listen. The interpreter cannot start interpreting until he understands the meaning of the sentence so he will start giving the interpretation of a finished sentence, while simultaneously listening to and understanding the speaker’s next sentence. Hence, the complexity of the task and mastery of the subject matter involved requires a specialized interpreter. Not every professional interpreter is trained and skilled to be a simultaneous interpreter.

Simultaneous interpretation is a good fit for multilingual conferences and training sessions. It’s widely used in scenarios where different interpreters have to translate many languages at once. Example: UN meetings.

These events are usually lengthy. It is difficult for the interpreter to sustain the mental effort for a long period of time, so usually, interpreters work in pairs to divide the workload.

The use of equipment such as headphones and microphones is common for simultaneous interpretation, and technicians are often involved in such events.

Consecutive Interpretation

Consecutive interpretation is the most commonly used type of interpretation service. The interpretation is delivered by the interpreter after the presenter stops and pauses for the interpretation.

Since consecutive interpretation includes pauses, starts, and stops for the speaker to speak and the interpreter to render the interpreting, the communication process takes longer than usual. Always factor the extra time in the planning and scheduling of your event.

 Consecutive interpretation is best used in legal and medical appointments, small business meetings or any other event where the expected running time is around 1 to 3 hours.Depending on the size of the room and the number of attendees, a consecutive interpretation might require electronic equipment such as headsets and microphones.

Telephone Interpretation

Interpretation over the phone is a type of consecutive interpretation that involves two parties and their interpreter. After one party speaks, the conversation is immediately rendered by the interpreter to the other party in the target language.

This method works very well for quick conversations and costs less than an in-person interpretation. It is a cost-effective solution, that can be scheduled in a shorter period of time. Multiple languages are offered, and no special equipment is required.

Phone interpretation is frequently used to assist during a customer service call or calls to a Helpdesk.  This type of interpretation is also used to conduct international business phone meetings. 

On-Demand Interpretation

On-demand telephone interpretation is growing in demand among interpretation services. Unlike traditional telephone interpretation, on-demand interpretation does not require a previously scheduled appointment so it works best for unplanned meetings and emergencies. Simply call the number provided to you to connect with the interpretation service and indicate the language you wish to have interpreted. You should be connected with an interpreter in 2 minutes. Multiple languages are offered. Our translation Company offers an extensive list of Languages for telephonic on-demand interpretation services. 

For an important, complex or specific subject, it’s always best to hire an interpreter ahead of time. But many on-demand interpreters are very experienced. They should be able to perform well for short generic conversations.

Liaison Interpretation

Liaisons are most commonly employed by foreign diplomats and high-powered international businesspeople. They travel with their clients and provide interpretation services on call. These engagements are typically long-term, for a day or several days. Some clients might opt to keep the interpreter on retainer for future use.

To illustrate, you may want to hire a liaison interpreter if you are going on a trip to China for business purposes. The interpreter would attend all your meetings and professional events.

Whispered Interpretation

Just like it sounds, whispered interpretation involves an interpreter interpreting in real time by whispering the interpretation. This is similar to simultaneous interpretation and is best suited for individuals or small groups.

It’s also utilized in situations where the client would rather have the translation kept private. A consecutive interpretation might take too much time. For more formal meetings, the interpreter might render to their clients through an earpiece.

As with simultaneous interpretation, this type of interpretation can be taxing and works best for quick meetings and conversations.

Legal Interpretation

Legal interpretation is a highly specialized skill. It requires the interpreter to have a high level of legal knowledge and experience. Some services might require their prospective interpreters to have law degrees or be certified court interpreters.

Clients need to be able to fully grasp the details of their case. This is true when they are on trial or when filing legal proceedings against another party. Thus, it’s imperative that the legal interpreter conveys the exact meaning of the presented message in the target language. Otherwise, the legitimacy of a client’s case could be called into question.

Medical Interpretation

Medical interpretation is another service that requires interpreters to be highly specialized in the field they are interpreting for.  Medical interpreters must be experienced in the medical field so they can help healthcare providers and patients communicate accurately and effectively with each other.  These interpreters also need to be calm under pressure. Medical interpreters are often called on in emergencies. When doctors and patients do not speak the same language, there is a lot of room for miscommunication due not only to the language barrier but the intensity of the situation at hand.

In a hospital room, improper communication can have fatal consequences. Oftentimes, medical interpreters can save someone’s life.

In both legal and medical settings, interpreters must always remain neutral in their delivery, without taking either party’s side.

Narrowing Down Interpretation Services

Working with a knowledgeable and experienced Language Translation Company will go a long way. Explaining your needs and asking all the questions that you have, will help guide the service provider to best serve you.

JR Language Translation Services has a large pool of interpreters who are trained and experienced professionals in a wide variety of fields.  Booking your interpretation service with time in advance will help you secure the best-suited interpreter, and if needed have the equipment ready.

Technology is changing the world of interpretation, we have on-demand telephonic interpretation now and some companies are starting to offer video interpretation as well. Stay tuned for changes, we are incorporating new services as the interpretation technology continues to evolve.

Having trouble finding the right type of interpretation services for you? Contact us for more information!

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Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela. Jackie has a BS in computer engineering; As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.