5 types of face to face interpreting you need to know about

Published on February 7th, 2019

Face to face interpreting breaks down language barriers in situations where communication would otherwise be impossible. From courtrooms across the country to high-end business meetings and international events, face to face interpreting is essential to getting the right message across between speakers and audiences of different languages.

The thing is, there are various different types of face to face interpreting that are better suited to certain situations than others.

So, in this article, we are going to explain the five types of face to face interpreting you need to know about, so you can choose the right service for your needs.

Simultaneous interpreting

With simultaneous interpreting, the interpreter is required to listen to the speakers and translate their comments to the target audience, as they speak. This means your interpreter needs to be able to keep up with the pace of the speaker at all times and translate their comments with 100% accuracy – no paraphrasing whatsoever.

Normally, the interpreter will listen to speakers using headphones while sitting in a booth to avoid any distractions. They listen to the speaker and translate their comments in real-time, speaking through a microphone for the audience to hear.

Consecutive interpreting

Unlike simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting involves the speaker pausing at regular intervals (normally 1-5 minutes), allowing the interpreter to repeat what they say in the target language.

This is the most common type of interpreting used in courtrooms, but it is also often used by smaller businesses for meetings (enterprise businesses will normally use simultaneous interpreting).

Whispered interpreting

Whispered interpreting is essentially the same as simultaneous interpreting, where the interpreter translates comments from the speaker, as they are talking. The key difference is they are not sitting in a booth somewhere; they are sitting next to the person who needs to understand and whisper the translated comments into their ear.

This approach only works when the audience is only one person and this is the key thing to consider when you are choosing between different interpreting services: the needs of the target audience.

Liaison interpreting

So far, we have looked at interpreting services that mostly deal with one-way conversations. However, there are times when you might need to translate an entire conversation between languages and this is where liaison interpreting comes into play.

With liaison interpreting, your interpreter will translate comments by every party involved in the conversation and this is important for more casual events – even in the business sector.

Relay interpreting

Another scenario you might find yourself in is needing to translate a single message to multiple audiences from different language backgrounds. For example, when an international brand is releasing a new product to global markets and the CEO wants to send their message out in various languages.

This is where you will need relay interpreting, where you have a source language interpreter who passes the message on to a team of interpreters in a language spoken by all of them. Then, each team member translates the message into their own target language and relays them to each audience.

For example, when a Japanese camera giant announces a new model to the world, they will often use relay interpreting to translate their announcement into English and then subsequent foreign languages.

The key to choosing the right type of interpreting service is to understand the needs of your audience and the best method of getting your message across. If you need advise on the best way to approach interpreting, contact one of our interpreting experts by picking up the phone or reaching out to us on social media.

Posted on: February 7th, 2019