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Understanding Simultaneous Interpretation

Business Simultaneous interpretation services

Last updated on October 13th, 2021 at 05:39 pm

Multilingual Meetings

If you’re planning a multilingual conference, speech, or large meeting, having an interpreter is important piece of the puzzle. Whether you need interpretation services into another spoken language or into American Sign Language for your audience, providing interpreted versions of the event is the way to ensure the information is understood. In this blog we’ll explore the difference between simultaneous interpretation, consecutive interpretation, and translations.

What is Interpretation?

Interpretation is the oral or spoken translation of an idea, thought, or speech. Interpretation is used for translating languages in person-to-person meetings, presentations, or groups.

Interpretation services are used by businesses, non-profits, and organizations across the world for live events and meetings to accommodate the greatest expanse of audiences from around the world, and across cultural and linguist lines.

Simultaneous interpretation is also called conference interpretation and sometimes called “simultaneous translation”, but the latter is used by the general public not by the people in the Language industry.  For that reason, it is important to clarify the type of language service needed to be sure that the client and the provider are on the same page and are understanding each other.

How is Interpretation Different from Translation?

Interpretation is focused on oral, or spoken communication, while translation deals with written texts.

Translators work with written communications, and have time to research, prepare, and edit. Interpreters work live at events in order to provide the audience with real-time translations of the messages.

Working with a professional language services company will help you understand the difference between the two services, when each is needed, how they complement each other, when you need both, and how to plan for interpretation and translation services in order to cover your multilingual needs on each occasion or project.

Types of Interpretation Services

There are two primary types of interpretation services: consecutive and simultaneous. While in both types the professional interpreter must hear what is being said, understand the message and reproduce it in a different language, they are best used in different scenarios and are render in a different form or time.

Consecutive Interpreting

A consecutive interpreter listens to what the speaker is saying and conveys that message in another language once the speaker has paused or finished their thought. With consecutive interpretation, the speaker is required to pause often to allow the interpreter time to deliver the information. This type of interpretation works best with small groups and one on one meetings, like medical appointments and business meetings. Because of the extra time that the relay of the speech in the other language takes, consecutive interpretation will add more time to the exchange.

Simultaneous Interpreting

A simultaneous interpreter does the same function of a consecutive one, but he or she translates and communicates the message in real time, while the speaker is still talking.

This type of interpreting services is highly specialized and demanding, as the professional interpreter must train for years to have the mental capacity and speed to do both, listen and translate at the same time. They may work with equipment headphones and microphones, but a high level of skill is required to interpret in real time. In addition to the expertise in the 2 languages involved, an extensive vocabulary and understanding of the subject matter, they must also have the training and ability to speak in one language while hearing other that is a little ahead.

This type of interpretation works best for large live events and offers several benefits; efficient communication to keep meetings and presentations moving along, the ability to read a speaker’s nonverbal cues in real time, and a wider appeal to a multilingual audience.

In person and remote simultaneous interpreting requires a large amount of mental effort and cannot be done for more than 90 minutes. Often simultaneous interpreters will work in pairs so they can swap off over the course of a presentation or day.

How Simultaneous Interpreting Works

Simultaneous interpreting is always performed live, but it can be done on-site or remotely.

For most events and meetings that are longer than 2 hours, you will need at least two simultaneous interpreters so they can take turns interpreting while the other stay hearing the interpretation of the partner. Depending on the needs of the meetings, these interpreters can be onsite, remote, or a hybrid of the two modes.

Special equipment is needed in simultaneous interpretation, devices such as a soundproof booth for the interpreter to work in and the technical equipment needed for listening to the speaker and broadcasting the translation. In many cases a technician is needed to ensure all the parts are properly connected and working. Selecting a language interpretation service provider like JR Language Services is the best way to set up your interpretation for maximum efficiency with the appropriate resources.

Interpreters are not just individuals who know multiple languages. They are trained, specialized professionals who are able to handle communication in a fast-paced, multilingual environment. They also have areas or topics of specialty to handle industry-specific content. Industry specialties can include:

  • Medicine
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Finance
  • Education
  • Science
  • Big Tech
  • Politics and Government
  • Environment

Remote Simultaneous Interpreting

With the increasing popularity of video calls and remote meetings over the last year, several platforms now offer the ability to host remote simultaneous interpreters for meetings and presentations. The most popular of these is Zoom.

The Zoom interpretation feature, also called Zoom translation, allows for simultaneous interpretation for several languages as well as American Sign Language. In fact, Zoom interpreting is being used to allow courts to schedule hearings and events with simultaneous interpreters for people with limited English proficiency. The Zoom simultaneous interpretation option is a great way to broaden the reach of your events and meetings to a more diverse audience while having access to professional interpreters that work remotely. This modality brings the flexibility to assemble teams for multilingual meetings faster.

Plan Your Multilingual Meeting with Time

Like in any event in life, planning early brings the benefit of discussing your needs with time to select the best option, remote or on-stie, and reserve the appropriate resources for your multilingual meeting. Call JR Language with your needs and goals, dates, number of attendees and languages required and one of our language solutions specialists will assist you in creating a successful multilingual meeting.

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.