Package Insert 39
Interesting facts and figures for customers and partners of mt-g.
November 2016
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Overview of different types of interpreting
Given that there are so many different types and methods of interpreting, it is not easy to maintain an overview. For this reason, we have created four short articles for you, which should give you a better understanding of the individual types and methods of interpreting.
Simultaneous interpreting
Simultaneous interpreting is the gold standard of interpreting methods. Translating spoken content into another language almost in real time demands optimum performance from the interpreter's brain. Simultaneously receiving, translating and relaying information involves vast amounts of neuronal activity and, as such, is extremely challenging. For this reason, simultaneous interpreters always work in teams at conferences or longer events so that they can alternate who is interpreting after certain time intervals. This change normally goes unobserved, as conference interpreters work in interpreting booths away from the actual audience.
Incidentally, simultaneous interpreting is more of an interpreting method than a type of interpreting. The most well-known type of interpreting is the previously mentioned conference interpreting. Less well-known, but no less challenging, is chuchotage, (from the French chuchoter = to whisper), also known as "whispered interpreting", where the translation is whispered to one or a few participants. However, this type of interpreting puts a lot of strain on the voice and cannot be maintained over a longer period. The primary advantage of both types of interpreting is that they save considerable amounts of time – particularly compared to consecutive interpreting.
As efficient as simultaneous interpreting may be, it is not necessarily the best choice. For this reason, we recommend that you work together with your contacts at mt-g to consider which interpreting method (simultaneous or consecutive interpreting) and which type of interpreting (chuchotage, liaison interpreting etc.) is the sensible choice for your assignment based on the situation.
Liaison interpreting
Most people have already experienced it in one way or another in their career, with their family or when travelling: Someone translates what is said in short intervals for someone who is not proficient in a foreign language. In a professional capacity, this is referred to as liaison interpreting. This differs from consecutive interpreting in that much shorter sections of speech are translated one after the other in a fast-moving environment. The interpreter does not resort to technical tools and has direct interaction with the people involved. This type of interpreting is particularly popular for contract negotiations or international meetings because the dialogue between the participants must be maintained at all times. A considerable advantage of this type of interpreting is that the interpreter is able to communicate with the negotiating partners about the subject in question at all times, in order to strike the right tone or find the right word when discussing complex matters for example.
Consecutive interpreting
Consecutive interpreting is the delayed interpretation of long sections of speech by a speaker. In contrast to liaison interpreting, the sections of speech to be translated are much more substantial; as such, these interpreters resort to an elaborate system of notes in order to ensure that their translation is as accurate as possible. The primary advantage of this type of interpreting is that the foreign-language contribution can be translated independently and clearly without the need for technical equipment. However, this type of interpreting doubles the duration of the event, which is a drawback that cannot be disregarded.

The interesting thing about consecutive interpreting is that it is both a method and a type of interpreting. For example, liaison interpreting also uses a consecutive method, but differs from actual consecutive interpreting in that the sections of speech that are translated are much shorter and much more dynamic.
Tour interpreting
Whenever foreign visitors are given on-site guided tours, companies have to decide whether these tours should be conducted in the foreign language itself or whether they should seek professional help. The latter option can prove particularly useful if complex machines or difficult contexts have to be explained, as this is much easier to do in one's mother tongue than it is in a foreign language. For tour interpreting, the interpreters often rely on portable tour guide systems comprising several receivers and headphones for the foreign visitors as well as a microphone and transmitter for the interpreter. This allows the tour to be simultaneously interpreted and the participants to follow the tour explanations in their mother tongue. For small groups and locations with low levels of background noise, a mixture of consecutive/whispered interpreting can be used, either with or without technical support.

We will be happy to advise you on the execution of such a project, support you with advice regarding the type of interpreting required for your event, and work with you to review the requirements so that you receive the exact service that you require.

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