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3 Key Types of Interpretation

Posted by Anne Q. on May 27, 2021.

Interpretation serves multiple purposes in the business world. It assists your company in forging new partnerships with foreign partners, managing your global teams or bringing your events to wider audiences. The nature of each mentioned purpose is unique, which requires different types of interpreting.

Before digging deeper into different types of interpreting, let’s talk about the basic first. What is interpretation and how is it different from translation? While the former is the process of converting spoken from one language to another, the latter relates to the conversion of written words.

1. Simultaneous Interpretation

Simultaneous interpretation (also called Conference interpretation) is one of the most frequently required types of interpreting in business. As the name suggests itself, simultaneous interpretation is the process of interpreters simultaneously interpret and render speakers statements into another language while listening to and comprehending the next sentences.

Simultaneous interpreters sit in the booth, wear headphones, and speak into a microphone, usually 5 to 15 seconds later than the speakers as they need to listen to the speakers’ statements to understand the general meanings. During the whole process, interpreters constantly take quick notes to avoid missing important information.

In the process of simultaneous interpretation, specialized equipment plays a crucial role in facilitating smooth communication. Equipment like soundproof booths, headphones, microphones, and other simultaneous translation units, enable interpreters to provide real-time language conversion during significant events such as conferences, meetings, and trade shows.

Simultaneous Interpretation

Simultaneous interpreters must be high-skilled linguists who are decisive and quick thinker to handle well possible unexpected situations because they cannot go back to re-listen to any words that they miss.

This type of interpreting is mostly used for big conferences, meetings, and trade shows.

2. Consecutive Interpretation

On contrary to simultaneous interpretation, consecutive interpretation does not occur at the same time as the speaker’s speech. Only when the speaker pauses, usually at the end of a few sentences, a paragraph or an idea, do interpreters start rendering what the speaker said in the target language.

Consecutive interpreting is used for meetings with a smaller number of participants or in court on the witness stand. It can be done via telephone (over the phone interpreting, on-demand phone interpreting), video calls (video remote interpreting), or face-to-face (e.g. whisper interpreting). Under the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, consecutive interpretation in form of scheduled video calls is gaining much prevalence.

Video Remote InterpretationImage source: Christianacare

3. Escort Interpretation

Escort interpreters, also known as Travelling interpreters usually accompany their clients to many venues, for example, meetings on an overseas business trip or a business dinner. Besides being a linguist, an escort interpreter also works as an assistant or a cultural ambassador who helps clients cope with foreign cultures.

Escort Interpretation

From the interpreter’s side, this is a nice way to travel to different places while also getting paid.

Wrap Up

Each type of interpreting has its own pros and cons and suitable for specific purposes. Based on the participant’s size, locations, and other requirements, you can select the right services for your needs. In case you need help from experts, don’t hesitate to contact GTE Localize for a free consultancy.