The Different Modes of Interpretation

Although it may not seem so at first, we’re surrounded by interpreters. Radio interviews, sports press conferences, emergency announcements from foreign governments, entertainment shows…

We’ve all seen interviews where a sportsperson can’t make head or tail of the question and the journalist doesn’t understand the answer… How many times have you thought they could do with a translator? A fair few times, that’s for sure. The outcome of these situations is usually pretty dire, although it’s usually nothing more than an anecdotal misunderstanding.

But what would happen in a professional setting? Would a misunderstanding in a meeting for signing a business contract be an anecdote? Or would it be a mistake that could make a contract void or cause capital loss?

This is where interpreters come into play.

What does the role of an interpreter involve?

Although this is something that has been said time and again, we want to make it clear that an interpreter and a translator are not the same. A translator works with the written language, while an interpreter works with the spoken language. It sounds simple enough, but there are people who still confuse the two!

The work of an interpreter involves bridging the gap between two or more people who speak different languages. There are several ways to bridge this gap, and by that we mean that there are different types of interpretation.

What are the different modes of interpretation?

Here’s a short list of the most requested types of interpretation:

Consecutive interpretation

We receive most requests for this type of interpretation. Our clients come to us looking for interpreters to accompany them during tours of facilities, meetings, tastings, fairs, etc.

In consecutive interpretation, the interpreter first listens to what is said and takes notes. Then, when the speaker has finished, the intepreter starts to interpret. They transmit what the speaker has said in another language so that other people can follow the conversation.

Simultaneous interpretation

This mode of interpretation requires technical resources that are slightly more sophisticated than a notebook for jotting things down. In simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter speaks at the same time as the speaker. Specific equipment is therefore required so that the speaker and interpreter don’t have to compete to be heard.

Interpretation booths or systems, such as Infoport, tend to be used.

Interpretation booths are usually found in places such as assembly halls, conference rooms and lecture theatres, normally at the back of the room and separated by glass. The booths are equipped with a microphone and headphones through which the interpreter can hear the speaker. They can also be temporarily set up in conference and presentation venues, etc.

Infoport, on the other hand, is a portable interpretation system. Those participating in the meeting wear headphones and the interpreter, who is positioned close to the speakers (unlike in the case of interpretation booths), speaks to them through a microphone.

Whispered interpretation (or chuchotage)

This mode of interpretation is usually seen on television during state visits between leaders. As the name indicates, the interpreter interprets by whispering at the same time as the speaker. It is very common in formal business dinners and even in business meetings.

Do you need interpretation services?

Perhaps you’re looking for interpretation services and after reading this, are still not sure what you need. Don’t worry! Our team here at Tatutrad is here to help answer any of your questions. Most importantly, we adapt to your needs thanks to the flexibility of the different types of interpretation.

Send us an email or give us a call for more information!