What is interpreting?

An interpreting service is an oral translation process, that can occur in an international conference, a business meeting, a presentation, or a field visit.

An interpreter does his/her preparation work using the documents the client provide, but when it comes to the working field the interpreter can only count on his/her skills and everything they learnt in advance and on the information they can infer from the event itself.

What is translation?

A translation, as we said before, is a written translation of a novel, a contract, an agreement,  a legal text, a technical manual and so on. The main goal of a professional translator is to maintain the same style, features and contents of the original text. Moreover, a professional translator knows how to adapt contents to the pubblic speaking the target language into which he is working, so that the communicative power of the original text can be mantained and ensured in the target language.

Translation, being it a written text as we said, lasts in time and starts to be used after it’s completed, when the translator delivers it to the client.

Translators at work, a part from their own writing, linguistic and contextual skills, can also rely on dictionaries, computer assisted translation tools, the web for conducting their researches. Moreover, translators have much more time at their disposal for thinking about their translation output than interpreters do.

Which interpreting mode should I choose?

More often than not clients are very confused about different interpreting modes, and have no clue of which one is the best fit for the event their planning, sometimes you do not even know that different interpreting modes can be selected. This is the reason why we prepared a very easy few questions quiz to help you choosing which mode is the best for your needs. If after the quiz you still have some doubts or you are not sure about the mode you need, please feel free to contact us and we will work out together the best choice for the success of your event.

Interpreting Mode
  1. 1
    Simultaneous Interpreting

    Simultaneous Interpreting

    What is it?

    Simultaneous Interpreting is the interpreting mode in which the interpreter translates while the speaker is producing the speech, the same time with a delay of maximum a few seconds. The interpreters work from the interpreting booth, meanwhile the audience is provided with earphones to listen to the translation.

    In simultaneous mode interpreters work in teams of at least 2 people for each language combination and they take turns every half an hour not to overload their brains.

    Simultaneous Interpreting requires the interpreters to be well skilled and, most importantly, well trained. If you could be lucky and get out well from a business meeting interpreted by a non professional interpreter, you will never be able to have an acceptable output from the booth by a non professional interpreter.

    When is simultaneous the best choice?

    • Multilingual big international conferences;
    • Conferences, seminars, workshops with very stict time schedule;
    • Conferences, seminars, workshops with or company presentations with big audiences and many power point presentations;
    • Press conferences;
    • Conferences or lectures with long and complex reports, technical and sectorial conferences;

    Technical Requirements

    • Simultaneous Interpreting equipment: translation booth, earphones, microphones, earphones for the audience (if the meeting room has no booth, a mobile booth can be rent and set up for the meeting);
    • Two professional interpreters for each language combination involved in the meeting. If, for istance, English, Italian and Chinese will be spoken during the meeting you will need 4 interpreters and 2 booths: 2 of them working Italian/English and other two working Chinese/English;

    Strenghts of this mode

    • Time saving: in planning the meeting schedule you don’t have to count translation time.
    • Audience attention can be easily mantained: the audience listens to the translated speech in real time, so their attention will not decrease in waiting the translation.
    • Everyone can follow the speech and the speaker does not have to interrupt his speaking flow, this can ensure the mantainance of the speech logics. Even in Q&A sessions interaction is much more direct and quick.
    • The interpreter being in his own soundproof booth can be highly concentrated granting a high level output.

    Weaknesses of this mode

    • Simultaneous equipment rent might be quite high.
  2. 2
    Bidule Interpreting

    Bidule Interpreting

    What is it?

    Bidule interpreting is simultaneous interpretation without a soundproof booth using a mobile simultaneous trasmission system.

    This system should be used only when interpreting is required while moving, during field visits, factory visits and so on. The interpreter can work in real simultaneous mode, if the noise conditions allow it, or in a sort of brief consecutive mode.

    When is bidule the best choice?

    • Factories field visits
    • Tourist tours or city tours

    Technical Requirements

    • Bidule system: earphones, microphones and small receivers
    • Two professional interpreters (the interpreting mode is the same as in simultaneous)

    Strenghts of this mode

    • When the interpreter has to work on the move this system is easy to use, light and easy to carry along.
    • Allows simultaneous interpretation even if there is no booth at disposal.

    Weaknesses of this mode

    • During conferences and seminars this mode should never been used, since the interpreter in most cases has no earphones and as to listen to the speaker directly from the conference room microphone.
    • If used in a conference room the bidule translation mode can annoy the audience being the interpreter seated among them speaking all the time, even if with a low voice.
    • Since the interpreter is not in a soundproof environment, his concentration level will be lower and his output wont’be as high level as expected.
  3. 3
    Consecutive Interpreting

    Consecutive Intepreting

    What is it?

    Consecutive interpreting is the interpreting mode in which the speaker and the interpreter take turns in speech production.

    The speaker and the interpreter agree on the turns length before the meeting starts, then the first goes on talking for a minimum of 20 or 30 seconds up to a few minutes and stops to let the interpreter translate. Usually during the speaker’s turn, the interpreter takes notes using a professional note taking method.

    When is consecutive the best choice?

    • International conferences in which time schedule is not to strict;
    • Very interactive seminars and workshops;
    • Official or private meetings with few partecipants;
    • Official lunches or dinners;
    • Open air events;

    Technical Requirements

    • One or two professional interpreters (depending on the length of the event and the breaks scheduled) ;

    Strenghts of this mode

    • No equipment is needed
    • The interpreters is seated next to the speaker, or close to him, interaction among the two is easier than in simultaneous and the interpreter is more involved in the communication process of the event.

    Weaknesses of this mode

    • Translation time: while planning the event the organizers have to consider translation time, so the time needed for every speaker nearly doubles.
    • Audience attention can decrease during the turns in the language they do not understand.
    • If power point slides are used, the speaker should explain one of them per turn, so that going back and forth in the presentation can be avoided.
  4. 4
    Liason Interpreting

    Liason Interpreting

    What is it?

    Liason interpreting is similar to consecutive interpretation withouth note taking and is mainly used in private or business meetings in which the interpreter sits together with two speakers going back and forth among his two working languages.

    This mode is normally used for business and commercial meetings.

    In liason interpreting the interpreter is a real bridge among partecipants, he has to mediate the conversation avoiding chaos to emerge.

    When is liason the best choice?

    • Business to business meetings;
    • Business partners meetings;
    • Business cooperation exploring meetings;
    • Big business connecting meetings in which many b2b meetings take place simultaneously in different rooms or tables and many interpreters are involved.

    Strenghts of this mode

    • Communication and exchanges among the interpreter and the speakers are easy and help result achievement.
    • Interpreters are not only translators, but real communication mediators.

    Weaknesses of this mode

    • Chaos may arise if the speakers do not respect their speaking turns not allowing the interpreter to finish his translation before giving their feedback.
    • The interpreter’s communication skills are paramount for the meeting to be successful.
  5. 5

    Whispering Interpreting

    What is it?

    Whispering interpreting, chuchotage in French, is a simultaneous translation mode in which the interpreter translates for only one person. In this case the interpreter is seated next to or behind the listener and actually whispers the translation in his ears.

    When is whispering the best choice?

    • Official dinner or lunch;
    • Conferences or working group in which only one partecipant does not understand the working language;

    Strenghts of this mode

    • The speaker does not have to stop and there is no time spent for translation for only one foreign guest;
    • The guest can easily follow and understand what is being said;

    Weaknesses of this mode

    • This working mode is very demanding for the interpreter, he works with no earphones and has to keep a very low voice all the time;
    • This mode can be used with only one foreign guest;
    • Having the interpreter whispering all the time can be annoying for the other partecipants and speakers;
    • Whispering into Chinese is particularly demanding for interpreters, being Chinese a tonal language whispering tones is actually very hard.

More Information

For more information please fill the box below