Is Simultaneous Interpretation Useful?

In an increasingly interconnected world, the need for simultaneous interpretation has never been greater. Whether it’s a business meeting between companies with different first languages or an international conference, remote simultaneous interpretation service providers are needed for seamless and efficient interactions.

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What Is Simultaneous Interpretation?

Simultaneous interpretation or simultaneous translation is the process of translating a speech from a source language into a target language in real-time. Simultaneous interpreting can happen either at a physical venue or remotely.

In simultaneous interpreting, the interpreter translates the speech without the speaker having to pause. This ensures smooth translation and seamless events. It’s admittedly one of the toughest forms of interpreting since it requires the interpreter to do several tasks at the same time.

How Simultaneous Interpretation Works

In simultaneous translation, the interpreter has to simultaneously reformulate the speech into a different language. They have to closely follow the speaker, understand the context, linguistic nuances, intonation, think of the relevant words and phrases in the target language, and then translate while listening to the speech.

If they work from the location of the event, the interpreter will be placed in a soundproof booth for better audio transmission. They would have a headset with a microphone and a computer with all the material about the event. If simultaneous interpreting happens remotely, the interpreter would require a platform with audio and video capabilities to facilitate simultaneous translation.

Since it’s a taxing job that requires exceptional levels of concentration and multi-tasking skills, simultaneous interpreters usually work in teams of two. Experienced event managers know that the ideal duration for an interpreter is half an hour. This reduces interpreter fatigue (please hyperlink to the article on interpreter fatigue).

Why Is Simultaneous Interpretation Useful?

While there are different modes of interpreting, simultaneous interpretation is one of the most impactful ones. It’s extremely effective for the following reasons:

  • More freedom: It’s self-serving to presume that everyone’s fluent in English. Many international delegates, business personnel, and government officials would be more comfortable in their mother tongue. Simultaneous interpretation liberates them from having to express themselves in a language they’re not fluent in.
  • Better communication: Since messages are translated in real-time, there’s little loss of content and importantly, context. This makes simultaneous interpretation more rewarding for the audience members. When participants can convey all their thoughts and the listeners can effortlessly understand them, the event experience will be significantly better.
  • Accuracy: In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter has to check their notes of what the speaker would have said. In several instances, this might lead to inaccurate translation due to this added task. With simultaneous interpreting, there’s no need to go back, which makes it more accurate.
  • Less work: While the task of a simultaneous interpreter is challenging, one of the rewards is that there is less post-event work involved. They don’t have to spend hours translating the speech into documents and distributing it among participants.
  • Higher engagement: When participants can understand the content, they would be more inclined to give feedback and ask questions to the speaker. This is how simultaneous interpretation creates higher engagement for all participants.

In short

Simultaneous interpretation opens up the world and allows for productive interactions between people and organizations. In a diverse world with linguistic limitations, this can only be a good thing.

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