Tips to Ensure Successful Consecutive Interpretation

consecutive interpretation

Tips to Ensure Successful Consecutive Interpretation

Hiring a trained interpreter for consecutive interpretation can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve never done so before. Thoughts of possible scenarios—in which everything goes wrong and the session ends in shambles—may begin racing through your mind. It’s important to sit back, take a breath, and relax. If you’ve done your homework, made the proper preparations and taken the relevant precautions, the session is destined to go off without a hitch. If you’re still nervous, we have some pointers you can follow to ensure a successful consecutive interpretation session.


What Is Consecutive Interpretation?

There are many types of interpretation services, including simultaneous, consecutive, and conference interpretation. Consecutive is the most used style, as it is the simplest to perform. In consecutive interpretation, the source language speaker finishes each sentence, and then the interpreter conveys the message in the other language. There is no overlap where any of the parties and the interpreter are speaking at the same time (as opposed to conference interpretation where the interpreter and speaker communicate simultaneously, for example at a public speech or conference, etc.).

You might have already seen the consecutive style of interpretation in clinic or hospital visits, one-on-one meetings, and other small group settings with people that have Limited English Proficiency (LEP). 

Owing to its simplicity, consecutive interpretation is not only the most popular but the most economical style of interpretation. Interpreters often charge for their services by the minute or by the hour. To save you valuable time and money, there are a few tips you should follow to get your money’s worth out of an interpretation session (and make the experience more seamless for all those involved):


Tips for Successful Consecutive Interpretation


  • Hire a Reputable Service

The first thing to do when you decide to hire an interpreter is research. Go online and read the reviews from prior clients to gauge the level of service provided by any interpretation provider. Then, look at the website to see if they provide the specific interpretation service in the source and target languages that you require. A reputable firm will often employ numerous interpreters with proficiency in different languages and fields. This allows them to offer their services to a wide variety of clients, including you.


  • Hire the Interpreter in Advance and Inform Them About the Assignment

Let your agency know when you need an interpreter in advance (a reasonable amount of time before the actual event). This will allow them to pick an interpreter who is the best fit for your particular application and make the necessary preparations to get them to the venue on the appointed day.

Also plan on talking to your interpreter before the event to let him or her know what to expect on the day of the session. This will allow your interpreter to prepare properly for the job. If, for example, you plan to make a speech during the session, share the draft with your interpreter so he or she can deliver a more impactful translation.


  • Hire a Certified Interpreter If the Situation Merits It

Many situations benefit greatly from hiring a certified interpreter. In some cases, a certified interpreter is an absolute necessity to comply with the law and lend accuracy to the interpretation job. For example, when a lawyer needs to offer his or her services to a client with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), the law requires contracting a certified legal interpreter to communicate with that client. Similarly, by law, there will always be a certified interpreter who knows American Sign Language stationed at the Emergency Room to communicate with any deaf or mute people who come in.

Most reputable interpretation agencies offer certified interpreters. These interpreters gain their certifications after years of training and experience in their respective fields. The amount of time and effort they invest in this process imparts them with contextual insight and code of conduct they are able to follow while operating in these fields. This makes their interpretation more effective, seamless, and holistic.

If you believe your particular scenario could require a certified interpreter, do ask for one from your agency.


  • Use Short and Simple Sentences

Always keep in mind that the interpreter is a human being, not a robot. Try not to test their memory retention skills—always use shorter sentences when you can. 

Additionally, avoid using advanced vocabulary and highly technical terms. Try to use plain language as much as you can to convey the message. A trained interpreter will have an extensive vocabulary, but if you use simpler words to communicate, the interpreter will be able to translate much more quickly without breaking the flow of conversation.

Following this step will minimize the risk of miscommunication as well as cut down on the time required for the session, saving you hard-earned money as a result.


  • Let the Interpreter Take the Time to Effectively Convey Your Message

There are innumerable cultural and linguistic differences between languages. Conveying the exact meaning behind your message without any of the details getting lost in translation requires a little bit of time, especially in sensitive situations. Allow your interpreter the time they need to convey your message properly.

Sometimes, the interpreter will ask you questions to clarify your point so he or she can convey it to the other party. Do not think your interpreter is being rude or incompetent – this is just a professional trying to ensure that there is no miscommunication between you or the other party. Instead, encourage the interpreter to ask further questions for clarification when you use a particularly difficult term or concept.


Choose Acutrans for Consecutive Interpretation Services

If you are looking for a reputable agency that offers consecutive interpretation services, choose Acutrans. Acutrans has been in the interpretation and translation services industry for over 20 years. We have a team of more than 2,000 linguists and offer you the high-quality interpretation services that you deserve. 

Our extensive team allows us to offer you interpretation services in over 200 languages. We have people trained in the finance, legal, life sciences, health care, government, entertainment, marketing, and manufacturing industries, among many others. Acutrans has the experience and expertise to complete your job, regardless of your industry. 


Get a Free Quote for an on-site consecutive interpreter, or learn more about our on-site interpretation services.