Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpreting

If you’re an interpreter, you already know that simultaneous and consecutive are the two common methods of interpreting. If you’re looking for a certified interpreter, it’s more than likely you’ll work with one style or the other. Depending on which industry they’re in, interpreters are inclined to use one method over the other to better fit the appointment, conference, or meeting.

Simultaneous interpreting is when an interpreter listens to several sentences, then relays the interpretation back into the target language, all while listening to the next set of sentences to interpret.  With consecutive interpreting, the interpreter waits for the speaker to pause after a complete thought so a few sentences at a time can be interpreted back into the target language.

Understanding methods interpreters use will help us demonstrate best practices and correct behavior during interpretation sessions. Whether face to face, telephonically, or via video remote, these below tips will ensure we’re allowing both simultaneous and consecutive interpreters to complete their assignments properly:

  • For telephonic consecutive interpretations, have your name and other relevant information ready when the call is connected, including providing the desired source and target language.
  • Telephonic interpreters are unable to see you in order to receive visible cues to begin interpreting. In both face to face and telephonic sessions, remember to pause between a few sentences, or when a thought is completed. This will allow the interpreter to jump in and begin their consecutive interpretation.
  • Always be conscious that an interpreter is listening intently. As an audience member in a conference or meeting, side chatter and even loud whispering can impede an interpreter from hearing the speaker clearly. For both consecutive and simultaneous interpreters, remember to speak clearly, and at a steady pace. Refrain from rushing, switching languages mid-sentence, stopping mid-sentence, or speaking too softly.
  • Be mindful to not interrupt the consecutive interpreter, if you’ve forgotten to include an antidote, wait until they have completed interpreting the previous thought.
  • Stay away from overuse of slang and idioms. Although all interpreters do their due diligence and continuously learn and apply their expertise in cultural knowledge and language skills, staying away from these terms will help both consecutive and simultaneous interpreters to arrive at the correct interpreted terms at a faster rate.

At Telelanguage, our certified telephonic interpreters practice consecutive interpreting, making sure both you and the person you’re trying to communicate with are provided with accurate interpretations. When looking for a reliable language service, Telelanguage has over 26 years in the language service industry, and have over 4,000 interpreters ready to speak in over 300 languages. We’re available around the clock 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Connect with us in just seconds at 1-888-983-3532!

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