Whispering is a kind of interpreting where the interpreter simultaneously interprets directly into the ear of the speaker without using any special equipment. Whispering is often used instead of consecutive interpreting in order to save time, and even instead of simultaneous interpreting in order to avoid the use of simultaneous interpretation equipment. Whispered interpreting can only be used for one or two delegates sitting or standing in close proximity. In all other cases, whispered interpreting is inadequate. Sometimes the whispering interpreter uses headphones in order to hear the speaker better. Whispering, just like simultaneous interpreting, requires two interpreters. In exceptional cases, such as when the speaker and the interpreter are constantly on the move, and when the duration of interpreting does not exceed 60 minutes, whispering can be done by one interpreter. This kind of interpreting, however, has certain disadvantages: there is no sound isolation and no possibility to adjust the sound either for the speaker or the interpreter. Moreover, it puts a strain on the interpreter’s vocal cords and interpreters are more prone to agitation and distraction from background noise. All of this may tell negatively on the quality of interpretation and on the interpreter’s health.
The Association recommends choosing this method only in exceptional cases.