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Different models of interpretation

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Modes of interpretingEdit

Refers to the way in which interpreting is offered. These include simultaneous (at the same time) and consecutive (after utterance).

Simultaneous interpretingEdit

In some situations, the interpretation is given while the source speaker is speaking, as quickly as the interpreter can reformulate the message in the target language. Normally, in simultaneous interpreting between spoken languages the interpreter sits in a sound-proof booth, usually with a clear view of the speaker, at a microphone, listening through headphones to the incoming message in the source language; the interpreter relays the message in the target language into the microphone to whosoever is listening. Simultaneous interpreting is also the most common mode used by sign language interpreters.

Simultaneous interpreting is sometimes referred to as "simultaneous translation" and the interpreter referred to as the "translator". These terms are incorrect, as discussed in the distinction between interpreting and translation above.

Whispered interpretingEdit

In whispered interpreting, (also called "chuchotage" after the French word for the same) the interpreter sits or stands next to the (small) intended audience and interprets simultaneously in a whisper. This mode does not require any equipment.

Whispered interpretation is often used in situations when the majority of a group speaks one language, and a limited number of people (ideally no more than three) do not speak that language.

Consecutive interpretingEdit

In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter starts speaking after the source-text speaker has finished. (The speech may be divided into sections).

Normally, in consecutive interpreting, the interpreter is alongside the speaker, listening and taking notes as the speech progresses. When the speaker has finished, or comes to a pause, the interpreter reproduces (consecutively) the message in the target language, in its entirety and as though he or she were making the original speech.

Frequently, an experienced consecutive interpreter will prefer to interpret phrase by phrase, or even shorter portions of a sentence, in such a way as to approximate simultaneous interpreting. This method requires the speaker to pause between phrases and clauses long enough to allow the interpreter to render each portion of the speech instantly into the target language, without having to take time to take notes and without running the risk of forgetting any detail of the speech. This phrase-by-phrase method is frequently used in a number of settings, such as speeches before an audience, legal depositions, recorded statements, interpreting for a witness at a court hearing or trial, and others.

Liaison interpretingEdit

Liaison interpreting involves relaying between one, two or more people what is being said. This can be done after a short speech, or on a sentence-by-sentence basis consecutively or as whispering ("chuchotage"). No equipment is used apart from note-taking.


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