Consecutive interpreting: unilateral & bilateral
Consecutive interpreting refers to interpreting longer speech segments consecutively, i.e. with a time delay. The interpreter uses a special note-taking technique to make notes of the main points of the original text while it is being spoken, and then translates the speech into the target language with the help of these notes.
The number of consecutive interpreters required may vary depending on the type of event, level of difficulty and the interpreting time. Due to the delay in translation, the overall duration is about twice as long as for simultaneous interpreting. Events where consecutive interpreters are often used include bilateral meetings between heads of state or government, speeches, GMP inspections, training courses or guided tours.
There are two subcategories of this type of interpreting: unilateral and bilateral consecutive interpreting. Unilateral consecutive interpreting means that the interpreter translates only into one language and the text passages are longer (up to 10 minutes), as is the case with speeches or presentations, for example. In bilateral consecutive interpreting, the linguist interprets into both languages. The latter is mainly used for business meetings, discussions or negotiations.
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What is consecutive interpreting?
Interpreting is the oral transfer of information from a source language into a target language. Therefore, interpreting clearly distinguishes itself from translating, i.e. the written transfer of information. Interpreting services are offered in different variations. The two most important forms are consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting. In simultaneous interpreting, the speaker's words are translated almost in real time - the interpreter translates the speech from the source language into the target language as quickly as possible, while the speaker continues to speak in his or her language. Simultaneous interpreters translate at international conferences and congresses, anniversary events and even award ceremonies, wearing headphones.
Unlike a simultaneous interpreter, a consecutive interpreter does not talk at the same time as the speaker, but only after the latter has finished his or her speech in the source language.
Preferably, the interpreter is close to the speaker whose speech is to be translated, listens to him and takes notes. Only once the speaker has finished his or her message or pauses does the consecutive interpreter translate part or all of the speech into the target language. For longer speeches, the speaker and the interpreter take turns. The speech is divided into several sections and after each section, the interpreter takes over and translates what has been said into the target language.
The challenges of consecutive interpreting: why it is important to commission a professional interpreter
Consecutive interpreters should have a very good memory and an excellent ability to concentrate. However, since they can take notes during a business meeting or presentation, they do not have to remember everything. The secret of consecutive interpreting is good notes - the interpreter has to use a particular notation technique. This is important so that not only words can be understood later, but also complex contexts and conclusions. For interpreters, this note-taking technique involves abbreviations and symbols. The special technique is taught during the professional training and is later refined and individualized by the interpreter. An experienced consecutive interpreter does not write down too much or too little.
As an interpreter, you are always faced with challenges. Especially with politically charged issues or delicate business negotiations, incorrect translations can often have negative consequences. Word plays can also present certain difficulties. Often, these cannot be translated but only explained - and the joke is lost in translation.
Interpreters have to remain calm, be able to concentrate and have good intuition and finesse. A professional interpreter does not conceal, change or add anything. Often, specialist conventions also require knowing specific vocabulary, which has to be researched in advance. Our consecutive interpreters are optimally prepared for this.
Are you looking for an interpreter whose skills meet your specific requirements? Then our interpreting service is the perfect partner for you. Our consecutive interpreters support you at GMP inspections and audits, conferences, training courses, trade fairs as well as court appointments and notarizations. Only native speaking experts interpret and translate for us.