Interpreting is to translate orally or into sign language the words of a person speaking a different language.
- Simultaneous interpreting or conference interpreting
At a simultaneous interpreting event, the interpreter has to listen to what is being said and translate this into the target language at the same time. Simultaneous interpreting is aimed at conveying the exact meaning instead of paraphrasing the exact words and is used for big meetings, conferences and trade shows. When interpreting simultaneously, the interpreter wears headphones and is located in a booth. He or she talks into a microphone that is connected to the headphones of the target language speakers. As there is no time to overthink translations, simultaneous interpreters must make decisions on the spot. Any translation delays might result in the loss of words or phrases, which might influence the message the targeted listener receives.
- Consecutive interpreting
Consecutive interpreting does not occur at the same time the source language speaker is talking. It is only when the speaker pauses (usually every 1-5 minutes) that the interpreter repeats what is being said in the target language. This type of interpreting is usually employed in smaller business meetings and court hearings. One of the most important skills a consecutive interpreter must possess is the ability to take notes. As it is virtually impossible to memorize multiple minutes of speech, note-taking is essential to convey the correct message. Consecutive interpreting is more than likely what people need when they think of business interpreters.
- Whisper interpreting or chuchotage
The interpreter performing whisper interpreting is sitting next to the person or people that they interpret for. While the source language speaker is talking, they quietly talk into the target speaker’s ear. Whisper interpreting is often used for business meetings where only one person is in need of interpreting or in courtrooms where someone sitting in the back does not speak the source language.