Translation technologies


Advances in simultaneous interpretation for global events

Read time: 3 minutes

simultaneous interpreters at a business meeting

Did you know that there is evidence that even in Ancient Egypt, Tutankhamun relied on the services of simultaneous interpreters? Since ancient times, there has been a constant need to communicate orally with other cultures and in different languages. And today, in a completely interconnected world, the role of these linguistic mediators is even more important to facilitate communication between speakers from different corners of the globe.

What is simultaneous interpretation?

Simultaneous interpretation is the process of orally translating from the source language into the target language while the person is speaking. One of the most commonly used techniques is booth interpreting, in which the interpreter works in a soundproofed environment to avoid distractions and interference and not miss any detail of the conversation. It is a profession that requires a high level of concentration, as well as strong listening, comprehension, and effective communication skills. As in written translation, the interpreter must possess a great linguistic richness and be highly trained in both languages. Fluency and experience will be essential to avoid gaps or causing interruptions that hinder the natural flow of the dialogue.

Simultaneous interpretation is commonly used at international conferences, diplomatic meetings, multilingual events and live broadcasts to ensure clear and accurate communication between participants speaking different languages.

How does simultaneous interpretation work?

The people who perform this type of interpreting know that the instantaneous and fluent translation of spoken speech is very demanding. Concentration and preparation are essential due to the speed of the process. The interpreter must remain attentive and focused in order to transmit the speech in the target language, all the while listening to the person who is still speaking.

This type of interpreting is the fastest and most widely used method, since, unlike consecutive interpreting, it is not possible to wait for the speaker to finish before starting the interpretation, but rather it is a parallel and fluent stream of speech alongside the main one. Simultaneous interpretation in a booth is performed from a soundproofed room through a microphone so that the listeners wearing headphones can hear and understand the speech in real time.

Another simultaneous interpreting technique, as valid today as in Ancient Egypt, is whispered interpreting, where the interpreter speaks only for one or two people. In this process, the interpreter stands right next to the receiver and whispers the translation in their ear or in a low voice, thus ensuring that the communication remains discreet and effective. The interpreters’ versatility and adaptability to meet the specific needs of each situation is undoubtedly admirable, offering a personalised and high quality interpreting service.

Whatever the nature of the event, the interpreter usually invests time to prepare and familiarise themselves with the topics to be addressed, as they must document and anticipate certain technical terms or specialised concepts. In many cases, preparation includes watching old speeches to get to know how the speaker talks and the expressions they normally use. This prior preparation, in the form of exhaustive research, is essential to facilitate a more accurate and better quality interpretation.

Depending on the length of the conference, the interpreter can work alone (maximum one and a half hours) or with a partner. Since this is a mentally demanding job, it is advisable to take turns every 20 to 30 minutes and take breaks to rest. The breaks allow them to release the tension and clear their minds so that they can resume the activity later with the appropriate level of concentration.

The cost of interpretation can be set on an hourly or daily basis, and depends on the length of the speech, the language combination, the difficulty of the content and the experience of the interpreter.

In short, simultaneous interpreting requires a combination of intense concentration, quick thinking, and solid preparation to ensure effective communication between participants who speak different languages.

At iDISC, we are experts in offering translation and interpretation services in more than 40 language combinations, ensuring quality and accuracy in communication. We have also evolved to incorporate cutting-edge technologies that make the task easier.

We hope this information is useful. We will be happy to provide you with more details about simultaneous interpretation. Do not hesitate to contact us or visit our blog for more information.

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