Modes of Interpretation: Consecutive vs. Simultaneous

Consecutive Interpretation

In consecutive interpretation, the interpreter waits for the speaker to finish a sentence or an idea, and then renders the speaker’s words into the target language.

Consecutive interpretation is best suited for situations involving a small number of people, or where a personal touch is required. Examples would be business meetings, press conferences, interviews, teleconferences, or any type of one-on-one exchange.


Simultaneous Interpretation

In simultaneous interpretation, the participants wear headphones, and the interpreter renders the speaker’s words into the target language as he or she is speaking. Due to the tremendous level of concentration required to perform this type of interpretation, simultaneous interpreters generally work in teams of two.

Because this mode of interpreting saves time, it is preferred for conferences and meetings in which a great deal of information has to be conveyed. The use of audio equipment also means that there is no limit to the number of people who can participate.