What is Consecutive Interpreting?
Consecutive interpreting is a type of interpreting in which interpreter waits for the speaker to make a pause in their speech, interpret what has been said and then listen to the speaker and wait for them to make a pause again to interpret. The frequency of pauses varies greatly but pauses are usually made after completing a few sentences. If the speaker is talking for a longer period of time, interpreter usually makes notes in order to render an accurate translation.
Advantages of Consecutive Interpreting
One of the greatest advantages of consecutive interpreting is that it doesn’t require any special equipment or much preparation apart from perhaps training. But it is recommended to provide the interpreter(s) with as much information or/and material as possible because the more they know the higher quality of service they will provide. Due to the fact that no equipment is needed, consecutive interpreting is also ideal when there is not enough time to install interpreting equipment or when the latter cannot be installed for one reason or the other.
Disadvantages of Consecutive Interpreting
Since consecutive interpreting requires from the speaker to make pauses and wait for the interpreter to translate what is being said before being able to continue with their speech, this type of interpreting significantly extends the duration of the event – usually at least twice the time it would last if interpreting would be done simultaneously. Also, consecutive interpreting isn’t appropriate when interpretation into multiple languages is required.
Consecutive or Simultaneous?
When deciding between consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, it is recommended to consider the factors below before making the final decision:
The number of languages requiring interpretation into. If interpretation is required only into a single language, both consecutive and simultaneous interpreting is a good choice. But if the speech needs to be translated into two or multiple languages, consecutive interpreting isn’t practical because the speaker would have to wait for all the interpreters to render translation into the target languages. In addition to dramatically extending the duration of the event, this can also seriously interfere with the speaker’s concentration because while waiting for the interpreters to finish, they must remember where they left off and what they are trying to say.
Venue. Is the venue already equipped with interpreting equipment? Is there enough time to have all the necessary equipment delivered and installed? If the answer is no, simultaneous interpreting isn’t really an option.
Duration of the event. Please keep in mind that consecutive interpreting will make the event last at least twice as long as simultaneous interpreting. In addition to doubling the cost of venue rental, this can also seriously affect the participants’ experience, especially if the event is planned to last for a longer period of time.