How to order interpreting services


Most people tend to see translation and interpreting as synonymous. Essentially, the definition of interpreting can be understood as the oral translation from language A (source) to language B (target) of a speech uttered on the spot. It always involves three groups: the speaker, who expresses the speech in the source language; the interpreter, who interprets it in the target language; and the receiver or audience, for whom the message is being interpreted. 

Another important concept to understand is that interpreting may also largely rely on the general sense of the statements being expressed, whereas translation tends to be more literal. 

In this article, we will take a look at the different modes of interpreting, avoiding the most common misconceptions connected to the field. We will also outline the easiest way to order interpreting services. So let’s begin.

Characteristics and modes of interpreting

Working as a translator gives the benefit of deciding when and where to work with the text (or prerecorded video/audio material), and a good translation is in most cases one that has previously been thoroughly checked and polished. This takes time. A translator must efficiently use the time provided to deliver a final product that, however adapted to the target language, still retains the main features and accuracy of the source text. 

This is not always possible in interpreting because of its very nature: it is a rather transitory performance that is always carried out on the spot and expires by the time the speech is concluded. Hence, it is subject to different rules, which depend on the four modes of interpreting currently available: consecutive, simultaneous, whispered, and remote. Let’s look at them in more detail.

What is consecutive interpreting?

In consecutive interpreting, the speaker conveys a complete sentence or thought and then stops. That’s when the interpreter, who has been patiently waiting, comes into play and starts interpreting the message. Consecutive interpreting is the most time-consuming mode of interpreting. The waiting time can vary depending on both the speaker’s and the interpreter’s preferences. 

If it’s short, the interpreter will rely on memory alone to deliver the message. If the speaker takes more time to finish a coherent thought, as is often the case in a press conference, the interpreter will customarily use notes to remember the salient points of the speech. An efficient interpreter is thus also an efficient notetaker, as big chunks of information have to be reduced to a few conceptual points intended to be made available in the target language. For this reason, consecutive interpreting also tends to be less literal than other modes.


Where is consecutive interpreting usually needed?

Consecutive interpreting is suitable for gatherings with a small number of participants, such as business meetings, legal settings, medical appointments, diplomatic conferences, educational sessions, community events, interviews, and small conferences and workshops. It is also used at large gatherings or events where it is not possible to provide an audio headset to each participant.

What is simultaneous interpreting?

Simultaneous interpreting, as its name suggests, is a style where both the speaker and the interpreter are talking at the same time. It has the clear advantage of saving time for all parties involved: speaker, interpreter, and audience. This also comes, however, with a couple of downsides. 

First, the interpreter has to be very skilled and have comprehensive knowledge of interpreting techniques. Because of the absence of a time lag between utterances, they also have to carefully choose the most fitting words to briefly and concisely convey the message. 

Second, this service is more costly as consecutive interpreting. Because of the stress and mental fatigue involved in simultaneous interpreting, it is recommended to hire two interpreters, who will alternate every 20 minutes or so, in order to maximise efficiency and clarity. 

The interpreters, in this case, usually sit in a soundproof booth, where they receive the message via earphones. They talk into a microphone and transmit the interpreted message to the audience, which receives it via speakers or earphones. This type of setting is also known as conference interpreting. 

Where is simultaneous interpreting usually needed?

Simultaneous interpreting is mainly suitable for large-scale events such as conferences and international summits with attendees from various linguistic backgrounds, multinational corporate meetings, educational lectures or seminars with an international audience, and legal proceedings such as international tribunals. 

It’s also used in television broadcasts of live international events, diplomatic events including speeches by heads of state or international negotiations, professional workshops and training sessions for a global audience, and large religious services or international church conferences.

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Did you know?

Simultaneous interpreting can also be applied to sign languages, where an interpreter converts spoken language into sign language. A sign language interpreter will stand where the talk is being given and interpret the speech for the deaf audience. There’s an extra benefit to sign language interpreting: the deaf audience can effectively communicate with the interpreter without disturbing the talk, and ask (or, better, sign) questions for clarification. This setting also needs two interpreters, as any sign language simultaneous interpretation is just as tiring and stressful as its spoken counterpart.

What is whispered interpreting?

Whispered interpreting, also known by its French name chuchotage, can be considered a form of simultaneous interpreting because the “whispering” interpreter talks at the same time as the speaker. While in other forms of simultaneous interpreting the interpreter sits in a booth, in whispered interpreting they are standing next to the receiver of the message. 

Naturally, this form of interpreting can be used to convey the message to an audience of only one person or a handful of people, if we take into account that most “whispering” interpreters do not actually whisper, but rather talk at very low volume.

Where is whispered interpreting usually needed? 

It is used whenever the number of people who do not understand the conference language is very small. 

Whispered interpreting is usually preferred for one-on-one or small group discussions, site visits, informal dinners, small workshops, courtrooms for specific individuals, and negotiation meetings. The interpreter whispers the translation directly to the listener, allowing for real-time understanding without disrupting the overall conversation.

What is remote interpreting?

In remote interpreting, the interpreter is usually situated in a different location compared to where the speech is taking place. This mode of interpreting is cost-effective since in the absence of an interpreter on the spot, one can be easily contacted remotely with no extra costs deriving from transportation or accommodation. All that is needed is an internet connection and functioning electronics: monitors, speakers or earphones, and microphones. 

Where is remote interpreting usually needed?

Remote interpreting simplifies communication across different locations using technology like video conferencing or phone calls. It’s widely used in virtual meetings and webinars for global participant interaction, telemedicine consultations connecting patients with healthcare providers of different languages, and online education to enable interaction between students and instructors from varied linguistic backgrounds.

Additionally, it is used in international conferences and events held virtually, legal proceedings such as virtual court hearings, business negotiations and corporate training with international participants, and customer support services for global companies – ensuring language is not a barrier. This method improves accessibility and efficiency in global communication without requiring a physical presence.

Some software platforms for remote interpreting include Zoom, Interprefy, KUDO and VoiceBoxer. 

Ordering the right interpreting service

Now that you are familiar with the various modes of interpretation, congratulations! You should have a better idea of how interpreting works. All you have to do is provide us with a few small pieces of information that will make hiring an interpreter seem like a walk in the park. So be sure to answer the questions below when you send us a query.

Remember that it’s always better to ask us first in case you are not sure what’s best for you.

In other words, will we need some kind of audiovisual equipment, microphones, speakers etc? Interpreting for a few people is obviously different to interpreting for a large crowd. Just give us the details so that we are already prepared and provide us with the necessary technology.

This not only enhances their performance but also aids in selecting the most suitable interpreter for the task. 

It is also important to provide interpreters with preparation materials (such as speeches, presentations and glossaries). The more material and context they have, the more successful their performance will be.

Please also provide all details about travel and accommodation arrangements in advance, including schedules, addresses etc.

Great! Now we’re ready to work for you. Just keep in mind the following bullet points to ensure smooth and clear communication:

This article should have covered all the main things you should know before hiring our interpreters. However, Transly Translation Agency remains at your disposal should you have any further requests. We look forward to working with you!


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