Simultaneous Interpreting Defined

March 25, 2014

Often times we are asked about the differences between interpreting and translating — that’s an easy one. Interpretation is spoken while translation is written. But there are also differences within interpreting and translating. Spoken language interpreting is broken up into:

  • Simultaneous Interpreting
  • Consecutive Interpreting
  • Conference Interpreting
  • Whisper Interpreting
  • Sight Translation


What is Simultaneous Interpreting?


Let’s define.


Simultaneous interpreting is a very high level of interpretation, and often times requires the most experienced and certified interpreters. Simultaneous interpreting is when the interpreter is required to wear headphones and translate the speaker’s words into the target language in real time. The interpreters usually sit in sound-proof booths so that they can concentrate on translating what’s being said, and so as to not distract other people with the constant translation. This kind of translation mostly occurs during business conferences and high-level meetings (political, business…).

Simultaneous interpreting is different from consecutive interpreting, because while simultaneous interpreting requires immediate interpreting to what’s being said, consecutive interpreting allows the interpreter to take his/her time thinking of what is being said and translate it more slowly, the speaker pauses after every sentence or phrase to give the interpreting time to explain what is being said at a slower pace. This kind of interpreting occurs mainly in smaller conferences, interviews and teleconferences.

Simultaneous interpreting is a kind of interpreting that requires high-level, professional interpreters. Simultaneous Interpreting doesn’t allow room for error, mistakes, or confusing statements. The interpreter must have extensive experience in the field of interpreting and he/she should be confident and fast in making decisions; because while interpreting he/she does not have the luxury of hesitating in choosing the right terms, they simply have to translate, and translate quickly.

So many organizations and companies seem to depend completely on simultaneous interpreting services for their international meetings. It is proven that Minnesota translation companies, specifically INGCO International, provide the best translation and interpreting services. When looking for a simultaneous interpreter for your company’s next big meeting, don’t hesitate to call INGCO International.