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Simultaneous interpreting

Simultaneous interpreting is a form of interpretation where the speaker‘s words and the translation overlap. Usually, the interpreter does not fall behind the speaker by more than one sentence. Simultaneous interpreting can have many advantages. Most importantly, it is time-saving and several different language speakers can communicate at the same time. This method of interpreting is most commonly used during international conferences, seminars, congresses and other similar events. Simultaneous interpreting requires specific equipment (including amplifiers, headphones, microphones, and an interpreter’s cabin), and also the assistance of technical service personnel. The speakers talk into a microphone, while the interpreters listen and follow this speech through headphones, and simultaneously translate it using their microphone. The interpreter works inside a soundproof cabin and does not have direct contact with the speaker. There can be as many cabins as there are languages used during a conference. Listeners (participants) may listen to the interpretation in their desired language by using headphones and choosing the right broadcasting channel.

Simultaneous interpreting requires interpreters with a high level of education and experience. At least two interpreters will rotate at 15-20 minute intervals during simultaneous interpreting. It is highly important for the interpreters to become acquainted with the topic of the event in advance, (i.e. to study useful material related to the topics in question, such as the prepared speeches or PowerPoint presentations).

When ordering a simultaneous interpretation, one must consider the following:

  • Simultaneous interpreting requires some specific equipment
  • Simultaneous interpreting must be performed by particularly highly-qualified interpreters
  • It is important for the interpreters to become acquainted with any auxiliary material in advance
  • It is important for the agency to know where the event is going to take place, the number of participants and the number of languages to be interpreted

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