Simultaneous translation: where, how, when
In simultaneous translation, the interpreter translates as the speaker speaks.
The skills of our simultaneous interpreters
Typically used by our clients for international conferences and meetings and for training events, simultaneous translation allows an audience of people speaking different languages to follow the event in their own language.
Simultaneous translation is generally performed by a pair of interpreters per language; this is necessary because of the extremely high level of concentration, which requires the interpreters to alternate in 20-30 minute shifts over a seven hour working day.
Before the event, our Project Managers prepare terminology guides, often in collaboration with the client and the speakers, and whenever possible provide the interpreters with abstracts of the presentations, clarifying the meaning of any acronyms used.
Interpreters sit in a soundproof booth equipped with a console and located in a position that provides a direct view of the entire conference room. They listen to the speech through headphones and translate it simultaneously into a microphone; translation is transmitted to the headphones handed out to participants before the beginning of the event. When soundproof booths and specific conference equipment are not available for technical or logistic reasons, simultaneous interpreting can still be performed using the bidule system or the chuchotage technique.
The interpreter sits in the room, away from the participants, listens to the speaker and translates simultaneously using a wireless headset and microphone. The interpreter's voice is transmitted via radio connection to the headphones handed out to participants before the beginning of the event.
This system allows simultaneous interpreting in places not equipped with soundproof booths. And because it is wireless, it enables interpreters and listeners to move about freely during itinerant events.
With this technique, also known as whispered interpreting, the interpreter stands or sits close to the listener(s) and translates simultaneously the speaker's message in a low voice. Chuchotage interpreting does not require any equipment, however it can only be provided to a small number of listeners (maximum two or three).
Our interpreters use this technique mainly during public or private events such as auctions, trade shows, ceremonies or TV shows.
For the sake of accuracy
The correct term for simultaneous translation is "simultaneous interpretation", and the professionals who provide it should be referred to as interpreters, not translators.
The world's largest employer of interpreters is the European Commission, which employs hundreds of freelance or in-house interpreters for each of the official languages of the European Union. The other EU institutions (European Parliament, Court of Justice, etc.) also have their own, smaller, interpretation service.The United Nations employs interpreters in nearly all their offices worldwide. As the UN only has six official languages (English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic), it is a much smaller employer.
Wide availability of interpreters:
Italian < > English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese and Chinese. We also offer services in Japanese, Arabic, Korean, Hindi, Polish, Ukrainian, Rumanian, Dutch, Greek, Serbo-Croat, Hungarian, Belarusian, Swedish, etc.
Please contact us with any inquiries
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