There are two major methods of interpreting: consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting. Let's check out the difference:
During consecutive interpreting, the speaker stops every 1–5 minutes (usually at the end of every “paragraph” or after each complete thought.) The interpreter then steps in to interpret the message into the target language. The process is then repeated until the whole speech is completed. Consecutive interpreting is very common for business meetings, immigration interviews, medical appointments, on-site visits, court hearings, and more.
During simultaneous interpreting, the interpreter usually sits in a booth wearing a pair of headphones and speaking into a microphone. This is to limit distractions and allow the interpreter to focus only on the message that must be conveyed. Sometimes the interpreter cannot start interpreting until he or she understands the general meaning of the sentence.
Simultaneous interpreting is the most difficult type of interpreting and requires many skills, not least of which concentration. The interpreter must interpret the sentence into the target language, while simultaneously listening to and comprehending the next sentence. For this particular reason, simultaneous interpreters always work in pairs in order to take shifts every 15 minutes or so. It would be impossible to work in this way for a longer period of time. Simultaneous interpreting is most commonly used for conferences, meetings with large audiences, diplomatic visitations and live TV or radio interviews.
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