Styles of Interpreation

Interpretation concerns spoken language, while translation refers to the written format. The two forms of interpretation most commonly used are simultaneous interpretation and consecutive interpretation.

Simultaneous interpretation (SI)

In simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter delivers the message in the target language as quickly as he or she can translate it from the source language. The source-language speaker talks continuously while the SI interpreter sits in a soundproof booth and, observing and listening to the source-language speaker through earphones, interprets into a microphone. The SI is delivered to the target-language listeners via their earphones. SI is often used in seminars and workshops when the target language is delivered to a large group of people and timing is important.

Consecutive interpretation (CI)

In consecutive interpretation, the interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has finished. The speech is divided into segments, with the interpreter sitting or standing beside the source-language speaker and listening and taking notes as the speaker progresses. When the speaker pauses, the interpreter delivers that segment in the target language. CI is usually used in business meetings and negotiations and no equipment is necessary.

SI tends to be more expensive, reflecting the fact that the interpreters are highly trained and usually work in pairs and in blocks of half an hour due to the high levels of concentration required