By: Nicole On: December 29, 2020 In: Interpreting Comments: 1
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From consecutive to simultaneous to over-the-phone to video remote, interpreting services exist in many forms and formats. But how do you know which style of interpreting is right for your event or meeting?

If you’re communicating with international clients, arranging a meeting with a contact from another country, or attending a conference without speaking the primary language, you need an interpreter.

Different situations require different interpreting formats, the most common of which are simultaneous and consecutive interpreting.

Check out the benefits of these forms of interpreting, and when to use them:

When to Use Consecutive Interpreting

Consecutive interpreting works best for small groups or one-on-one conversations. The interpreter waits until the speaker is finished before relaying the message in the listener’s language, and vice versa.

This type of interpreting is a popular option during both formal and informal occasions. These include:

Consecutive interpreting has the advantage of being more like a conversation, with both parties able to speak uninterrupted by an interpreter. However, it usually takes about twice the amount of time since the interpreter has to wait until each party finishes speaking before beginning the interpretation – in essence doubling the conversation time.

When to Use Simultaneous Interpreting

In simultaneous interpreting, also known as conference interpreting, the interpretation is transmitted to listeners in real time while the original speech is still in progress.

Simultaneous interpreting is primarily used in formal or large group settings, where one person is speaking in front of an audience, rather than in conversational environments. These events can include:

  • Diplomatic conferences
  • International conventions
  • Business or board meetings
  • Training sessions
  • Courtrooms
  • Lectures and presentations
  • Tours

This type of interpreting service frequently requires audiovisual equipment, such as wireless receivers, headsets, and microphones to relay messages quickly to a large audience.

More intimate gatherings might be better served by consecutive interpreting.

Other Interpreting Options

Consecutive and simultaneous interpreting are effective solutions for most face-to-face or conference settings. But what if you’re communicating with someone over the phone or via video, or have an urgent deadline with no time to arrange for an on-site interpreter?

In cases such as these, there are two other forms of interpretation which can be utilized.

Over-the-Phone Interpreting

Also called telephonic interpreting, over-the-phone interpreting helps solve dilemmas of distance or time, with an interpreter on the line to relay messages back and forth after they have been said. This interpreting method, similar to consecutive interpreting, is ideal for conference calls and scheduling appointments with international contacts.

But telephonic interpreting has its drawbacks. Without being able to see the speakers, interpreters may miss the context and expressions of the speaker, which often contribute to the overall meaning of the message.

This leads us to our last form of interpreting.

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)

VRI solves the same issues over-the-phone interpreting address such as when interpreting needs to occur in an emergency situation or when the language that requires interpretation is not widely spoken and thus the interpreter is located in a remote area.

However, VRI has the added benefit of visuals. This allows interpreters to decipher not only the words being spoken, but also the gestures and expressions. Such visual cues increase accuracy rate during interpretation and provide for a more personal experience since everyone involved in the exchange is able to see one another, rather than just hearing a disembodied voice over the phone.

How We Can Help

Whether you choose simultaneous, consecutive, over-the-phone, or video remote interpreting, you can find the right interpreting format that fits all your needs — and makes your message matter in any language — by contacting the professionals at Accredited Language.

Our experienced interpreters provide services in 200+ languages and dialects. We also offer interpreting equipment rentals and the audio engineers to back it up.

Call us at 1-800-322-0284 or simply fill out our free quote form.

Have you recently used interpreting services? What was your experience? Do you have a personal preference when it comes to simultaneous vs consecutive? Talk to us in the comments below. We love to hear from our readers.

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Request a free quote today!

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2 years ago

Hi there! Perhaps, there are exhibitions or related events for interpreters, where we can improve our knowledge? Let’s say to explore new technologies that we can advice to our clients?