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Simultaneous Interpreting

Catleen Grötschel | Berlin | Simultandolmetschen

‘Can you do simultaneous translation?’ is a question frequently put to interpreters. Terms such as simultaneous translating or live translating are often used to refer to the art of simultaneous interpretation.

A simultaneous interpreter makes sure that the message comes across to all listeners without a noticeable time lag. How it works: The interpreters work in a soundproof booth where they hear the speaker through headphones. Simultaneously – almost at the same time as the speaker – they deliver the speech in the target language. This way, listeners that do not understand the language of the speaker are able to follow what is said without a delay or disruption of the event. Simultaneous interpreters work in teams of two or three people per language combination. They take turns every 20-30 minutes, as even a well-trained interpreter’s brain needs a break after such an intense cognitive strain.

Most conference interpreters also offer consecutive and liaison interpreting. Simultaneous interpreters are often found at conferences, conventions and lectures.

Chuchotage (Whispered Interpreting)

Chuchotage is a specific type of simultaneous interpretation. It is often referred to as whispered interpretation, because the interpreter whispers directly into the listeners’ ears. For small groups, a microphone and receivers may be used. However, chuchotage is only suitable for very few listeners and a short time span. To ensure a flawless delivery and avoid disturbing the other listeners, simultaneous interpretation in a booth is the preferable option for conferences.