Consecutive interpreting

In consecutive interpreting, the speaker and the interpreter take it in turns to speak. The interpreter waits for the speaker to finish a sentence or an idea and then renders the speaker’s words into the target language. The interpreter sits with the delegates, listens to the speech and then renders it into a different language, generally with the aid of interpreter notes. Experienced, professional interpreters can interpret speeches lasting from 6–8 minutes with great accuracy. Consecutive interpreting requires no special interpretation equipment, unless the room where the meeting is taking place or the audience is especially large. In that case, the interpreter needs either a mounted microphone or regular microphone stand in order to keep their hands free for note-taking. Depending on the duration of the meeting, consecutive interpreting requires one or two interpreters who take it in turns to speak. This kind of interpreting is usually used for specific kinds of meetings, for example, at highly technical meetings, small group discussions, tours and state dinners. The main advantage of consecutive interpreting is that it requires no special interpretation equipment. This method of interpreting, however, has certain disadvantages. Consecutive interpreting can significantly prolong meetings (by as much as 70% of the allocated time). Moreover, delegates who understand the original language are forced to listen to it being consecutively interpreted.

Remote interpretation requires video and audio conferencing equipment because the delegates and the interpreters are located in different premises, cities or even countries. Remote interpretation can be done using both the simultaneous and consecutive method.

Remote simultaneous interpreting is regarded as a viable alternative when space limitations make it difficult to accommodate interpretation equipment in the conference room. In this event, interpreting booths conforming to the appropriate technical standards are placed somewhere outside the conference room. It is of the utmost importance that both the interpreters and the delegates are supplied with equipment that meets the highest sound quality. Moreover, interpreters need to have a good view of the meeting. They should be provided with three screens: one showing the meeting room, another showing whoever is currently speaking and a third showing any visual material the speaker may use. The font of any projected text should be big enough for the interpreters to easily read. This mode of interpreting comes with disadvantages, the most obvious being that it requires complex technical solutions. Moreover, in remote simultaneous interpreting the interpreter’s working conditions are somewhat strained. All of this may tell negatively on the quality of interpreting and the interpreter’s health.

Remote consecutive interpreting includes telephone interpreting and videoconference interpreting. This interpreting method is useful in situations where the interpreters and the clients are located in different cities or even countries. It saves on travel expenses and makes it easier to hire qualified interpreters who specialise in rare languages. However, remote interpreting, especially telephone interpreting, can be of limited quality. It is extremely important for the interpreter to see the speaker’s face clearly in order to perceive the non-linguistic information that is so indispensable in correctly interpreting and rendering the speaker’s ideas into the target language. This information is lost in telephone interpreting. However, the use of videotelephony is a solution to this problem.

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