Simultaneous interpreting means that the spoken word is transposed into the target language almost instantaneously. The interpreters sit in sound-proof booths and can transpose what is being said directly without any disturbance from background noise.
There is no need to interrupt the meeting and participants are able to give their full attention to the speaker.
As simultaneous interpreting requires a high level of concentration, interpreters switch round about every 30 minutes.
Two interpreters are therefore required for each target language.
This method is suitable for events with more than 20 participants and involving several languages.
With consecutive interpreting, short extracts of speech, up to a maximum of five minutes in length, are rendered in the target language by the interpreter after the speaker has finished. This doubles the time required so consecutive interpreting is best suited to small-scale events such as after-dinner speeches or short addresses.
Liaison interpreting is used for business meetings and contractual negotiations etc. As with consecutive interpreting, short extracts of speech are transposed after the speaker has finished thus doubling the time required.
Interpreters sit with the participants in a room (without a sound-proof booth) and transpose what is being said simultaneously by way of what is known as a tour guide system (TGS). This requires a high degree of concentration because the interpreter must “filter out” the background noise and also has to “whisper” to avoid disturbing the participants.
This technology is therefore only suitable for short events and those with a small number of participants.