What Is Conference Interpretation?

conference interpretation

What Is Conference Interpretation?

Interpretation has many forms, which can be confusing to those who are unfamiliar with them. You might not know which mode of interpretation would best suit your needs, even, especially if you’re hiring an interpreter for the first time.

This article will inform you about the different styles of interpretation commonly used today, with a special emphasis on conference interpretation.


Modes of Interpretation

When you hire professional certified interpretation services, you have the option to select between two different interpretation modes:


Consecutive Interpretation

Consecutive interpretation is the most widely used type of interpretation. In this style of interpretation, the interpreter speaks only when the speaking party takes a break or pauses.

The speaker is instructed to pause after speaking one or two sentences, and the interpreter then steps in to deliver the interpretation. By using the natural pauses in conversation as cues for the interpreter to do his or her job, consecutive interpretation offers a seamless way of communication between two parties that do not speak a common language.

You can see consecutive interpretation in action in small group meetings, such as in clinics or during hospital visits and IEP meetings. The consecutive style is popular due to its simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and for the fact that it doesn’t require additional equipment.


Simultaneous Interpretation

The simultaneous style of interpretation marks a major difference from consecutive interpretation because rather than waiting for the speaker to finish a sentence, the interpreter speaks alongside the speaking party (in the other language).

In order to keep the interpreter from interrupting the speaker, the interpreter often sits in an isolated location such as a soundproof cabin that has a direct view of the speaker. The interpreter has a headset and a microphone inside the cabin and as the speaker speaks, the interpreter translates the dialogue into another language and relays it into the microphone in real time. You can choose to record the speech or broadcast it in real time to an audience that does not speak the same language as the speaker.

Simultaneous interpretation facilitates one-way communication. You can understand what the speaker is saying through simultaneous interpretation, but you cannot convey your own thoughts to the speaker. This is why people only use simultaneous interpretation on occasions like a public event or speech.

Simultaneous interpretation demands a greater amount of skill from the interpreter. Since the interpreter has to convey the speaker’s message in real time, they also have to be extremely fast to recall vocabulary and able to think on their toes. There are generally no breaks in communication that exist in consecutive interpretation, which is another reason this style is more difficult.

This level of skill and difficulty mark one of the reasons why simultaneous interpretation services cost more than consecutive interpretation services. Another reason is due to the requirements of additional equipment like microphones, headsets, screens, video cameras, and soundproof booths.

The additional cost of simultaneous interpretation is one reason why many people reserve this style for special events and public speeches.


Conference Interpretation

At conferences and other large events of that style, organizers often enlist the help of interpreters to be able to communicate to all audience members. Conference interpreters are a unique breed of interpreter in that they are able to switch between consecutive and simultaneous styles of interpreting and possess the highest levels of training of any type of interpreter. They must know a larger vocabulary, keep calm in high-stress environments, and always be the most professional interpreter possible.

Conference interpreters use a mix of different interpretation styles on the job. As per their employer’s requirements, they will switch between the simultaneous and consecutive styles of interpretation throughout the assignment. For instance, when someone is delivering a speech or a group is debating an issue, the interpreter will use the simultaneous style. When their employer wishes to communicate with a person who does not speak a common language, they will switch over to interpreting consecutively.


What Sets Conference Interpreters Apart?

Due to the diverse skills required of a conference interpreter, it’s clear that they have a harder job to do than many other interpreters who offer their services in simultaneous or consecutive styles.

Consecutive interpreters often operate in environments where stakes are high and tensions are soaring. In order to do the job effectively, they need to exhibit extreme psychological resiliency, too. No matter the environmental stress surrounding them, they need to keep calm and collected and facilitate communication impartially. Plus, conference interpreters have to be unafraid of interpreting for large audiences amid a diverse array of conference types.
Quick thinking and rapid problem solving is also a vital quality of good consecutive interpreters. As they might need to offer simultaneous services any time on the job, they need to have a fast thought process. An interpreter who is slow to react would not be able to do this job well.


Where Can You Find Good Conference Interpreters?

Finding a capable and trust-worthy conference interpreter may seem like a difficult task. However, the reality is that it’s quite simple. You just have to know where to look.

If you’re looking for a good conference interpreter, choose Acutrans to provide one for you. Acutrans is a professional interpretation and translation services agency that has been in the business for over two decades.

Acutrans employs an extensive team of experienced and certified translators and interpreters that numbers over two thousand! That’s how we are able to offer certified interpretation services in over 200 languages spoken around the world.

Our industry-specific teams of translators include experts in the fields of finance, legal, life sciences, health care, government, entertainment, marketing, and manufacturing industries, among many others. No matter the field your requirement falls in, Acutrans delivers a translator that is perfect for the job.


When you need a conference interpreter, Acutrans is your best choice. Get a free quote for our interpretation services.