The need of language interpretation under different circumstances could vary greatly depending on the actual place of event where the interpretation is needed. For conferences where to be delivered are mostly informative long speeches with the draft, simultaneous interpreting is usually desired for better smoothness of the meeting, while for conferences where participating delegations negotiate or debate most of the time, the consecutive type of interpreting is often preferred as it provides a more precise conveying of their arguments in a clearer way.
In total, there are five commonest forms that interpretation can be delivered in, and different equipment could be needed to suit the requirement of each. And let’s take a quick spin through the five distinct language interpreting modes.
Simultaneous interpreting requires the interpreter to concurrently render the translated speech while the speaker is continuously making the speech in the source language. Special equipment are normally requisite, including a special soundproof booth that can accommodate up to 3 interpreters at the same time. This mode of interpretation is especially applicable to large conferences, seminars and forums.
Consecutive interpreters work successively when translating the addresser’s speech. When the spokesperson speaks in the source language, the interpreter takes notes and waits for the pause of the speech to deliver the translation. This type of interpretation is most widely used on formal and informal occasions and ideal for medium-sized and smaller meetings, discussions, press briefing and training programs.
Whispered interpreting involves an interpreter sitting right next to one participant of a certain event and simultaneously whispering the translated message to the very person. This type of interpretation is often conducted when only a few participants do not speak the language of the majority attending the event.
Liaison interpreting is often carried out in the form of escort interpreting, which involves an interpreter accompanying the subject providing verbal translation for less intense topics. However, liaison interpreting is often preferred for technical exchanges and worksite communication because the interpreters are able to fully digest the technical information and deliver more accurate translation.
Telephonic interpreting is a type of interpretation conducted over the telephone and can be either simultaneous or consecutive. This interpreting mode is especially useful when there are no on-site interpreters available on short notice or when the attending parties are far apart in physical distance.
Some business managers might have heard of the simultaneous type of interpretation, which enjoys the reputation for incredibly streamlined rendering of verbal translation concurrently going along with the original speech, and keep asking for the very type of interpreting service for whatever occasions they might take part in. That’s indeed an over luxurious obsession that costs much more and might not even produce accurate enough translation when language precision is of critical concern.
There are three tips I have to offer if you have an international event to host and need to accommodate the communication needs of the participants coming from different countries.
Know the event.
Before you decide which interpreting mode is best suited to your particular circumstances, you might take a further look into the context of the event you are hosting. Would it be an international seminar that participants discuss fixed agenda or a large official conference where each addresser has a long speech to make? Or would it be a training program where technical gurus try to impart their years of experience and expertise to multinational freshmen technicians?
Also, there are other points to take into account such as if there are random discussions or debates during the event, or how many participants speak what languages. These questions are very crucial because you have to choose the interpreting mode accordingly and the event per se largely defines your specific needs of the interpretation.
Know the topics.
Participants of a certain event may discuss many topics and you will have to make sure the interpreters know about the very fields the conversations or dialogs will be possibly set in. For example, an interpreter with extensive experience in telecommunications may barely know any terminology or technical procedures in the biochemistry industry and could turn the event into a disaster if such topics ever come up. Therefore, be sure your interpreters are well-versed in the potential topics of the event.
Know the interpreter.
Interpreters are humans and they have both physical and emotional needs. If the duration of one session of the event excesses certain hours, a couple of backup interpreters translating for the same language pair should be needed, especially for simultaneous interpretation that requires intensively concentrated brainwork of the interpreter. Thus, stamina and the number of interpreters are other key points for selecting interpreters for your event.
Despite most professional interpreters are ethical and honest, background checkup should always be a prior concern as a critical number of them just magnifies their previous experiences as a language interpreter or simply add non-existent ones to make his/her resume look shinier.