Not many people know that there are two different types of interpreter services, but the differences between them are actually very important. Here are the differences between consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, the two types of interpreter services.

Consecutive Interpreting

Consecutive interpreting can involve long periods of speech before interpretation takes place. Often the consecutive interpreter will wait for the speaker to finish a sentence or idea, and depending on the scenario of the speech and whereabouts it is taking place, this can last a long time. As such, consecutive interpreters are required to use note-taking and memory techniques to be able to interpret the speech accurately.

Consecutive interpretation is most commonly used in more personal settings with smaller groups of people, such as business meetings, press conferences, interviews and most types of one-to-one communication.

Simultaneous Interpreting

Simultaneous interpreting involves the interpreter translating the speaker’s words into the target language at the same time as the speech is being uttered. It is very demanding, and usually requires the interpreter to wear headphones in a soundproof booth to eradicate distractions, and most simultaneous interpreters work in teams of two to maintain focus.

Simultaneous interpretation is preferred for meetings of larger groups, as the use of audio equipment doesn’t put a limit on the number of people able to be interpreted. Simultaneous interpreters may be used in courtrooms, conferences and lectures.