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Consecutive Interpreting

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: