In consecutive interpreting, the speaker repeatedly speaks and then pauses to give the interpreter the opportunity to interpret. The interpreter translates what has just been said and, as soon as the interpreter has finished, the speaker continues his or her speech or discussion. This process is repeated continuously during the gathering.
Consecutive interpreting mainly occurs in small groups, such as meetings of a highly technical nature, small training sessions, or one-on-one discussions. Because brief pauses — during which the interpreter translates what was just said — repeatedly occur, the gathering or discussion can take approximately one and a half times what the normal meeting time without interpreting would be. This is a factor that must be taken into account. The advantage of the included pauses is that the audience receives a very accurate and precise translation in return. It also allows for extra explanation to be given, if required, as the interpreter often makes notes on paper for later reference. If something is unclear or you’re not sure you’ve understood it correctly, you can just ask.
Does this method appeal to you? You’re in good company, then, because consecutive interpreting is a popular interpreting method. Considering that no equipment is required, it offers a great deal of flexibility. In general, a consecutive interpreter can also handle a larger group than a whispering interpreter can.
Proper preparation for consecutive interpreting is crucial. Consider an interpreter as a ‘new employee’ who is not yet familiar with acronyms or other operational terms. If the interpreter is able to prepare well by receiving a briefing in advance, you can expect an even higher quality of the service. We ask you to explain specialist vocabulary in advance or to provide us with documents with which the interpreter can become familiarised.
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