Types of interpreting(glossary)

Types of interpreting

A. Conference Interpreting

"Conference interpreting" refers to the use of consecutive and simultaneous interpreting at a conference or a meeting. Nowadays simultaneous is far more common and is used almost exclusively in international organizations.

i. Simultaneous Interpreting

In simultaneous interpreting the listener hears the interpretation into the target language (= language into which the interpreter conveys the meaning), at the same time as the original speech is delivered in the source language (= language in which the speaker gives the speech). Special technical equipment and infrastructure (booths, microphones, and headphones) is required for simultaneous interpreting; it, however, allows meetings to progress smoothly without unnecessary interruptions, thus considerably increasing the time available. Simultaneous interpreting is the only recommended solution in events where more than two languages are used.

ii. Consecutive Interpreting

In consecutive interpreting the interpreter listens to a speech or part of a speech while taking notes. When the speaker has finished, the interpreter stands up and delivers the speech in the target language. The speech may last up to ten minutes today, although in the past thirty minutes was not unusual. Consecutive interpretation is not a summary; it is a complete rendition of the original speech in another language. Obviously this method is time-consuming as the time element is almost doubled. Today consecutive interpreting is most commonly used at bilateral meetings and negotiations where small groups of people participate. No technical equipment (interpreter booths, consoles, headphones, etc.) is required.

iii. Whispered Interpreting (chuchotage)

Whispered interpreting is used when only one or two participants do not understand the source language. The interpreter listens to the speaker and simultaneously renders the interpretation to the listener or the listeners. No technical equipment is required for whispered interpreting. This technique is only used only in special cases and for a limited period of time. Acoustics can be a problem for both interpreter and listener.

B. Bilateral or liaison interpreting

During liaison or bilateral interpreting (sometimes referred to as ad hoc interpreting) the interpreter uses two languages to interpret for two or more persons. This type of interpreting is most commonly used in informal situations, for business meetings or community interpreting.

C. Legal or court interpreting

Legal interpreting services are supplied not only in the courts of law but also at the police station and the border or immigration agency. They are also provided to foreigners at notary offices for the reading and signing of notary acts, agreements, contracts etc. Although this type of interpreting is particularly demanding, quite often (also because of the lack of related legislation in Greece) people who just speak the language are called upon to perform this difficult task. Experience has shown that only properly trained professional interpreters can meet the requirements of this highly demanding interpreting modus, where a full understanding of legal terminology and familiarity with international cultures is of the essence.

D. Market research

Simultaneous interpretation of individual or group qualitative or quantitative interviews mainly in the pharmaceutical sector or/and in relation to consumer products. It is carried out in a room equipped with simultaneous interpretation equipment and a unidirectional mirror dividing the room from the interviewees. Interpretation is carried out in the presence of foreign clients.

E. Remote interpreting

Remote interpreting refers to meetings with interpretation at which interpreters are located in a place other than the meeting room. This means they may not have a direct view of the speakers, the rostrum or what is going on in the room.

F. Community interpreting

Community interpreting is a specific type of interpreting service needed more in community-based than organisational situations. It is a particularly critical service in communities with large numbers of ethnic minorities, enabling those minorities to access services where, due to the language barrier, they would otherwise find it difficult to communicate. Situations where community interpreters are necessary include medical, educational, housing, social security and legal areas, as well asylum proceedings. 

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