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Interpretation Types

Interpretation Types

Last updated on January 10th, 2018 at 06:04 pm

As mentioned on the post The Interpreter: a writer or a talker?, there are 6 ways in which an interpretation can be performed that are officially called types. Knowing each of these subdivisions will help clients have a clearer idea of what they need, resulting in a better communication between the client and the language service provider.

These types are:

  1. Simultaneous interpretation– the interpreter is inside a soundproof booth (unless doing a sign language interpretation) and with the help of headphones translates the message of the speaker as fast as possible, almost at the same time as the speaker. If the event is too long, he/she may work in pair.
  2. Consecutive interpretation– the interpreter starts the translation after the speaker pauses. There is short and long consecutive interpretation. In the former the interpreter only relies on his memory to perform the interpretation and in the latter, he takes notes.
  3. Whispered interpretation– a type of simultaneous interpretation. The interpreter sits near the audience and almost whispers the message of the speaker. It is often used with groups of people where very few do not speak the language of the speaker.
  4. Liaison interpretation– in a type of consecutive interpretation but, instead of conveying the message of one speaker it involves conversations among many speakers.
  5. Relay interpretation– it is done when there is no interpreter than can work into different languages at the same time, but there are interpreters with different language pairs that can be combined. Check the following diagram:
  6. Sight translation– in reality it is an interpretation but, instead of working from an oral text, it starts with a written one. This type of interpretation is more frequently used in hospitals and courts.

To learn more about interpretation, please read our Modes of Interpretation post.

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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.