There are four categories of interpretation services:
- Simultaneous interpretation
- Consecutive interpreting
- Whispering / Whispering
- Notarial or court interpreting.
What is simultaneous interpreting?
Simultaneous interpreting requires appropriate technical equipment – headphones, a microphone and a booth. It is the process by which the interpreter conveys the speaker’s message from a language into another language, or vice versa, at the same time as the speaker, and is used for conferences and workshops with a larger number of participants.
What is consecutive interpreting?
As with simultaneous interpreting, the name of the service explains the process. The speaker utters a sentence or a phrase, then pauses, thus allowing the interpreter to translate their message.
What does “chuchotage” or “whispering” mean?
This type of interpreting service is similar to simultaneous interpreting, except that it is not suitable for conveying the speaker’s message to a larger audience, but only to a small number of people, and is generally used for business or dignitary meetings. Basically, the interpreter provides simultaneous interpretation, but this time without the booth.
What is interpreting for notarial or court services?
This type of interpreting service is fundamentally different from event interpreting (which in most cases is simultaneous, more specialised and more complex), but it requires a special official authorisation which for instance in Romania can be obtained from the Ministry of Justice. Usually, authorised interpreters do not deliver the speaker’s message simultaneously, and consecutive interpreting, with a few notable exceptions such as emergency interpreting, is usually sufficient.
Similarities and differences
Similarities between simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting, chuchotage and interpreting for notarial or court services
In order to provide any interpreting service, the interpreter must know both the language of the speaker and the language of the receiver (the audience for whom he or she is interpreting) – the more proficient and nuanced the interpreter’s skills are, the better; mastering the specific expressions of each language and knowing the cultural particularities and the specific way of expressing ideas in a certain field will help the interpreter work more effectively in any of the four categories of interpreting services.
All interpreters, whatever the type of service they provide, must have glossaries specific to the fields in which they interpret and ensure that they keep them up to date and constantly enriched with new words and expressions.
Also, in all cases, notes are an essential aid to the interpreter during the event or meeting they are intermediating.
It is also important for the interpreter, whatever the service provided, to be able to hear the speaker very clearly and, preferably, to be able to see them as well. In this case, event interpreters that work in a booth make use of the video screens that show the speaker up close, interpreters working in the middle of the audience will always try to position themselves as close to the speaker as possible to get a better view of their face, and interpreters working in meetings will stand in close proximity to the speakers.
A good interpreter, whatever type of service they provide, needs to be flexible, attentive, quick to react, able to switch between languages without hesitation, and also interpreting experience is essential.
Differences between simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting, chuchotage and interpreting for notarial or court services
The differences between the four categories of interpreting are due to the environment in which the service is provided, the flexibility or rigour required, the specific nature of the interpreting, the technical equipment needed and the number of people served.
For example, an event taking place in a conference room is suitable for simultaneous interpreting, whereas a meeting between two heads of state will certainly benefit from whispering services, and under no circumstances from interpreting from a booth, and a business person visiting a factory in another country may choose to have their own interpreter at their side. In the case of a problem with the police or a marriage between two citizens of different countries, an authorised person with the necessary laws and legal language knowledge for both countries is needed.
In the case of a technical event, the interpreters required are those with experience in the field, as those who do not master the appropriate technical language cannot convey the speaker’s message to the audience correctly, and rigour is essential in this case. The same applies to interpreting for legal situations, where any mistake in expression can have legal consequences.
It can be impossible for an event interpreter to do their job if the technical equipment does not work properly (microphone not working, headset transmission interrupted, etc.), but these problems are non-existent in the case of meeting interpreting, where there are only a few people speaking in a small room, and the interpreter can ask the speaker to repeat what they said if they didn’t say it clearly enough the first time.
So each of the four types of interpreting has its own specificities. Just as you wouldn’t choose a tour guide for a large audience at a hall event, you wouldn’t ask for an interpreter that has been officially certified by the Ministry of Justice for an event about a new medical breakthrough, or an interpreter specialising in finance and economics for a psychology conference. The translation company offering these services will always provide the right solution for each particular situation, so Transl8’s recommendation is that you provide them with all the details of the event or situation for which you need an interpreter.