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Simultaneous and consecutive interpreting – what’s the difference?

in Education and Training, Language Connect

As a prominent provider of language services, we are often required to explain how the services we offer work. In the case of interpreting, we offer different services and they differ greatly in how they are performed. Those seeking interpreting services must be aware of the difference between consecutive and simultaneous interpreting.

Simultaneous interpreting

Simultaneous interpreting requires the use of equipment because an interpreter renders the speaker’s words into the target language whilst they are speaking. The interpreter is often placed in a sound proof booth from which they interpret and target language listeners use headphones to hear the speech. Simultaneous interpreting requires a high level of concentration and often requires more than two interpreters, working alternately in relay, to maintain the quality and fluency of the communication.



Where is it used?

Simultaneous interpreting is preferred for conferences and meetings where speeches are given. The flow of information isn’t affected and the use of equipment means that there is no limit to the amount of users who can listen to the interpreters.

Consecutive interpreting

Consecutive interpreting involves an interpreter listening to the speaker and then rendering their sentence(s) into the target language. The speaker pauses after each sentence or small section of speech  and the interpreter then renders it to the listener.



Where is it used?

Consecutive interpreting is ideal for interviews, meetings and small events where there is a certain level of exchange required between two parties.

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