What Is Consecutive Interpreting?

Consecutive interpreting is a mode of interpretation where a speaker pauses at the end of a complete thought to allow the interpreter time to step up and deliver the same speech in the target language. It is sometimes referred to as Consecutive Translation; however, the formal term for conveying oral communication between multiple languages in this mode is known as consecutive interpreting in the linguistic industry.

Consecutive interpreting can be challenging for interpreters, who are responsible for listening to and remembering a large quantity of information so that they can repeat it in another language.

Consecutive interpreters may take notes of key points during a session in order to ensure all communication is conveyed in the target language. Since this type of interpreting is often done in small settings with only a few people, technology is not as important as it is to simultaneous interpreting, making it convenient and cost-effective.

Who Needs Consecutive Interpreting Services?

Due to their nature, consecutive interpreting services are ideal for clients who require language services for small setting events. These can include:

  • Medical and Legal Appointments
  • Workshops
  • Court Hearings
  • One-on-One Meetings
  • Business Meetings
  • Press Conferences
  • Interviews

Normally no equipment is necessary with consecutive interpreting, in contrast to simultaneous interpreting which requires soundproof booths for the interpreters as well as headsets and receivers for the individuals requesting interpretation. This not only allows for flexibility, but also reduces the cost of interpreting services.

Finally, with consecutive interpreting only one interpreter is required per language pair, whereas with simultaneous interpreting it is more common to have a team of interpreters to provide support during the period of time which interpreting is needed.

When two people need to directly communicate but don’t speak the same language, a consecutive interpreter will be able to eliminate the language barrier between them. If you are responsible for meeting the needs of patients or clients, no matter their native language, consecutive interpreting services may be just what you need.

Can Simultaneous Interpreters Perform Consecutive Interpreting?

Although there are some interpreters who have experience interpreting both simultaneous and consecutive modes, it is best for interpreters that have training and experience in consecutive interpreting to perform it.

Each mode of interpretation requires a unique skill set and therefore distinct training. All must possess a strong background in the topic or subject matter for which they will be interpreting, but consecutive interpreters in particular need an excellent memory to retain what a speaker has discussed.

They also must be confident to stand in the public light since often they are positioned center stage with the speaker.

Consecutive Interpreting Services

What is Bilateral Interpreting?

Bilateral interpreting is very similar to consecutive interpreting (and could even be considered a subset of the consecutive mode), but it is distinctly different in that the interpreter is expected to facilitate a two-way conversation, instead of a one-way conversation.

This requires the interpreter be able to skillfully perform back to back interpretations, in two languages.

A common example would be a medical interpreter – not only do they have to render the doctor’s or nurse’s speech into the patient’s native language, but they also have to render the patient’s responses or questions into the native language of the medical professionals.

How Do We Provide Consecutive Interpreting Services?

Language Connections offers consecutive interpretation services in more than 100 languages, and our team of qualified consecutive interpreters is distributed around the globe.

Depending on the nature of your interpreting session, we will assign you a consecutive interpreter who is not only a native speaker in your target language, but who also possesses necessary industry expertise. This ensures that your interpreter is familiar with the terminology, expressions and ideas that are common in your field.

Our experienced consecutive interpreting project manager will find the right consecutive interpreter to meet your needs, and will see the project through from beginning to end.

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