Interpreting of any kind can be a challenging profession, even for seasoned professionals with years of experience. In common interpretation settings, like courtrooms and hospitals, they can often get by with consecutive interpreting. This is when the interpreter waits for each other speaker to finish what they’re saying before translating for everyone else. But then there is the much more intense simultaneous interpreting, in which the interpreter translates while others are still speaking. Sometimes the delay between source and target language can be as short as a few seconds. On top of that, the setting is usually a rather formal one, featuring a lot of complex terminology and dialogue. It takes a talented, committed linguist to stay afloat, and eventually master, this most difficult of interpretation practices.
Simultaneous interpreting usually conjures up images of politicians and other dignitaries, addressing a multinational audience. Linguists sit in booths with earpieces and microphones, each covering a separate language pair for at least one hearer’s benefit. While global bodies like the United Nations might use this kind of setup, it is valuable in other contexts, too. Businesses and organizations benefit from interpreters who understand the specific interpretation needs of a large event or conference. Whenever someone is delivering a complex speech to speakers of multiple languages, these interpreters help things proceed smoothly and efficiently. Luckily, providers like Global Arena are experts at providing these Interpreting Services to companies who have the need.
It may seem like conference interpretation is an extravagance, when consecutive interpreters can convey stretches of talk after the fact. Yet there are several advantages to relying on simultaneous interpretation in these situations:
Keep the audience engaged
Consecutive interpreting is useful in hospitals and courtrooms because the parties involved are primarily asking questions and giving answers. But with long stretches of talk by one person, or several parties contributing to a discussion; this style can become tiresome. If everyone has a different language background, should each person wait to speak through every translation of the previous speaker? When would it be appropriate to “pause” an extended lecture so each interpreter can say their piece? Simultaneous interpreting allows speakers to participate more fully, engaging with each other across language barriers more or less instantly. It saves a great deal of time, keeps the conversation moving, and ensures the listeners don’t become bored.
Choosing the right people for simultaneous interpreting services can be a challenge, especially at a large, diverse conference. Luckily, there are certifications for interpreters to ensure that they are fully qualified in their chosen field. And while medical or legal might be the most common, specialties like economics, politics, or engineering are all valid. At a meeting or conference where experts at the highest level are communicating, interpreters with this expertise are crucial. A good language services provider will be able to help you find ones who are ideal for any interpreting situation.
For simultaneous interpreting, more than one person per language pair is highly recommended. The interpreters on a team will trade off responsibility after a given length of time, since it is so taxing. Rotation helps each of them stay fresh, meaning you get the best results for your conference.
Aside from the elevated content that simultaneous interpreting usually calls for, linguists must also have a great deal of flexibility. Pairs of languages can have syntactic structures that are quite different from each other, sometimes radically so. Verbs often come at the end of lengthy sentences in German; polite language is used to frame utterances in Japanese. When the linguist is ahead by a matter of seconds, they must learn to anticipate what speakers might say. Simultaneous interpreters might use phrasing that allows important information to be added in as late in the sentence as possible. Additionally, they often capture more of the speaker’s feeling and subtext in the moment, rather than translating word for word. Less time to craft a message means more nimbleness is required—ideal for a brainstorming session or multinational roundtable.
All of these aspects are critical for a successful interpreting experience, for you, your attendees, and the linguists themselves. Remember: a trusted provider who offers conference interpreting services will have the knowhow and resources to find the best team possible. These are some of the most skilled interpreters there are; your liaison with them should match that standard of excellence.