Conference interpreting is a general term for interpreting at large international multilingual gatherings such as parliamentary meetings, international conferences, seminars, training courses, shows and galas. Depending on the type of meeting, either simultaneous or consecutive interpreting is used. We will be glad to assist you in choosing the right form of interpreting for your meeting.
Simultaneous interpretation, colloquially also called “simultaneous translation”, has become the most common form of interpretation since it enables the spoken word to be rendered in in various languages for a large group of people almost simultaneously. In simultaneous interpretation, the speaker and the interpreter speak at the same time. With the help of special simultaneous simultaneous interpretation equipment, the interpreter can listen to the speaker through their headphones and then interpret the message into a microphone, which transmits the interpretation into the headphones of the listeners. Interpreters work in teams of two in soundproof booths. Since their work is very demanding and requires an extremely high level of concentration, the interpreters have to take turns of about 20-30 minutes.
If interpretation is needed for a group of people that is going to move around, for example during a factory tour or a guided tour, a wireless tour-guide set can also be used for simultaneous interpretation. Another special form of simultaneous interpretation is “whispered interpretation” or “chuchotage”, during which the interpreter sits behind or next to the clients and interprets by whispering the speech simultaneously to the listeners, without any headphones or microphones. In order not to disturb other listeners, whispering interpretation should only be used for up to two listeners.
In consecutive interpreting, the speaker and interpreter do not speak at the same time (as with simultaneous interpreting) but instead take turns, with the interpreter speaking after the speaker has finished. The interpreter listens to the speaker, takes notes and then uses their notes to render the speaker’s words in the target language. Consecutive interpretation doubles the meeting time but no interpretation equipment is needed. It is well-suited to scenarios such as guided tours, gala speeches and interviews.
Liaison interpreting is a form of consecutive interpretation in which shorter passages (of one to three sentences) are interpreted. However, in some situations whispering interpretation can also be used, in which case the interpreter whispers their interpretation for one or two listeners while the speaker is speaking. In liaison interpretation, the number of listeners is limited and it works well for bilateral company negotiations, business trips and fairs.
As its name implies, court interpreting is used in the legal context, i.e. in settings such as court proceedings and police interviews. Depending on the facilities and the needs, court interpreting can be either simultaneous or consecutive. Court interpreters in Germany are sworn interpreters who are bound by strict confidentiality rules.