Simultaneous interpretation services: from the speaker to the listener

As promised, today we will talk about the types of interpretation services. There are four categories:

  1. Simultaneous interpreting
  2. Consecutive interpreting
  3. Chuchoutage / Whispering
  4. Interpreting for legal purposes (notary, court)

Initially we wanted to give you some details about each category of interpretation services. However, each one of them has its own beautiful and interesting features. So we decided to focus on each one separately. Today’s article focuses on the simultaneous interpretation service.

What is simultaneous interpretation?

The simultaneous interpretation service may also be referred to as “in-ear” interpretation. It is the process where the interpreter conveys the speaker’s message from one language into another language, at almost the same time as it is uttered.

At the same time? How so?

We’d better explain exactly how this process takes place.

First of all, the interpreter works in a translation booth where there usually are two consoles, each equipped with a microphone and a pair of headphones. Sound enters the headphones and the interpreter delivers the message through the microphone. The listener uses a receiver to hear the transmitted message. This is basically the process of simultaneous interpretation.

But how can the interpreter keep up with the speaker?

Easily! By learning to do it in a specialised department in college or dedicated school and by practising. Amazing, isn’t it? There are schools specialized in this. This activity really is one that requires commitment. Perhaps you didn’t believe me when I said that translators and interpreters are artists. These people really have the gift of communication. But they’re not just artists, they also go to school.

It’s important to know that not every translator decides to be an interpreter and vice versa. Some people are more comfortable doing written translations, while others prefer to attend all kinds of events and interpret. And then there is the category of those who decide to be translators and interpreters at the same time.

Where will I find a simultaneous interpreter?

As mentioned in the previous article, pretty much everywhere. At conferences, business meetings, various courses, negotiations and other events. Even if you don’t see them, the interpreter is there. If you don’t believe this to be true, just look around the room and see if there are people wearing simultaneous translation headsets.

What does an interpreter need?

The interpreter needs to see the speaker. Eye contact helps a lot in this area because the interpreter becomes a version of the speaker.

Another extremely important aspect for the success of the event is that the interpreter is provided with the necessary materials to prepare their vocabulary. Each area has specific elements and the interpreter can prepare for each area and if you have specific requests you can share them.

Water, a notebook and pen and a speaker who can pace their speech

Water for dry mouth, notebook (or tablet) and pen for lots of numbers as well as other details. A speaker with a calm, paced discourse is necessary so that the interpreter can convey the message as clearly and accurately as possible. And if you are one that speaks too fast and not very clearly, there is a chance that your message will not reach the audience exactly as you want it to. And sometimes we, the interpreters, take the blame, even though it’s not 100% our fault.

Great results come from working as a team, interpreter and speaker

And last but not least…

The simultaneous interpretation service wouldn’t work without the help of our technical team. Our tech colleagues set up and dismantle the booth and they make sure the sound system works and the interpreters can seamlessly do their job. On top of it all, they assist the interpreters throughout the event and are quick to intervene when something goes wrong and they also aid participants with the use of translation headsets. Yes, there sometimes is a whirring noise in the headphones and maybe even the booth glass is not squeaky clean.

However, interpreters and technicians have to work as a team and not against one another.

And we, interpreters, should learn that it’s not the technicians’ job to collect coffee, plates, glasses or even leftovers. So let’s respect ourselves as professionals as well as those we work with. And that also means not disturbing listeners with the sounds of water being poured in a glass, chatter between colleagues or a heavy exhalation. And if we forget to open the microphone, let’s stay cool and quickly solve the issue.

We hope we haven’t upset or forgotten anyone. If we missed anything, we’re looking forward to comments and suggestions with an open mind.

Until next time, we wish you a sunny day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Te rugăm să citești politica de confidențialitate și cookies, iar dacă ești de acord și accepți să primești comunicări pe e-mail de la, inclusiv comunicări comerciale, te rugăm bifează mai jos: