An interpreter is a person who translates as someone else is talking and repeats out loud what the speaker has just said in the required language. There are several types of interpreting techniques. These are consecutive, whisper, simultaneous, escort/travel, phone, scheduled telephone and on-demand phone interpreting.

What is the Difference between Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpreting?

What is Simultaneous Interpreting?

When an interpreter is doing simultaneous interpreting, he or she typically translate each sentence into the required language as soon as the sentence has been spoken. Of course the translation can’t take place immediately because the interpreter has to be sure the interpretation is spot on. The interpreter has to be able to think quickly so the listeners don’t lose the train of the conversation taking place. It’s a matter of interpreting and translation spoken words that have been said no more than 10 seconds before. It’s vital that the interpretation conveys exactly what the speaker has said.

Simultaneous interpreting is found at large gatherings of people at meetings, trade shows and conferences. Normally the interpreter will be present sitting wearing head phones in a booth and talking into a microphone. There can’t be any delay in delivering the interpretation. Consecutive Interpreting is a little different as the speaker will stop frequently so that the interpreter can convey the translation effectively. This type of interpreting is more commonplace at small meetings and in court cases where witnesses are unable to speak fluently the language used in the court.

If an interpretation is required in more than one language each interpreter will take turns interpreting what the speaker has just said. Often in consecutive interpreting note taking will be used so the interpreter doesn’t miss anything that the speaker has said.

What are the Types of Interpreting?

● Whisper Interpreting

Whisper interpreting resembles simultaneous interpreting, but a microphone or headphone isn’t used by the interpreter. Instead, the interpreter sits close to the person who needs assistance with interpreting and whispers when interpreting in the targeted language. This is a common method of interpreting used at business meetings where there is only one person who requires help with understanding or at the back of a courtroom.

● Escort/Travel Interpreting

When a person conducts business overseas he or she often requires the services of an interpreter in order to survive in the host country. This is called an escort or travel interpreter. They may go one step further than just interpreting and help clients with anything from ordering a meal to securing a multi-billion dollar business deal.

● Scheduled Telephone Interpreting

This is often referred to as OPI or Over-the-Phone Interpreting and could be either consecutive or simultaneous. The interpreter does not have face to face contact with the other party as all the interpreting occurs via a phone. Typically, the accuracy of simultaneous telephone interpreting could be quite a lot lower than consecutive OPI so most interpreting uses the consecutive method.

● Interpreting Through on-Demand Phones

This is used when communication in another language is needed immediately. The party who wants the interpreting service calls the service and then chooses the required pair of languages and then the person is connected to the right interpreter who performs an interpreting job. This is frequently used by call centres, companies, legal and medical institutions, pharmacies and other organisations that regularly need to communicate with people who neither speak nor understand the language of the country they reside in.

What to Look for in different Modes of Interpreting

There are a number of things an interpreter has to be good at which includes expert language knowledge, sound expertise in the subject matter of the interpretation and an amazing listening ability. They also need to be experts in translating colloquialisms and idioms that can vary so much in meaning between different languages.

Translators are not the same as interpreters, but they have an important role to play in the translation and interpreting industries.

What are the two types of Translators and how do they Compare to Interpreters?

These days, you do have some choice about who or what you choose to translate text and you don’t always have to depend on a human translator. If the text is simple you could probably get an accurate translation from an online translation tool. However, if it’s a legal or medical document it’s essential that the translation is faultless. No action can be taken if the information is poorly translated which could happen if an online translation tool has been accessed to undertake the translation. This is much the same as comparing a human interpreter with a phone interpreter. An interpreter will come out with better interpreting of a person’s conversation if the face of the speaker is visible.

In conclusion, the closer the interpreter is to the speaker the better the interpreting and a better translation can be expected from human translator.

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