With simultaneous interpretation, the remarks to be interpreted are relayed to the interpreters via microphones and headsets. The interpreters are based in soundproof booths and simultaneously render the text into another language. Conference attendees can listen to the interpretation using headsets.
Simultaneous interpreters should be recruited for events where the use of consecutive interpretation is impracticable due to the number of languages spoken and the time delay associated with this mode of interpretation. Since simultaneous interpreting requires intense concentration, the interpreters work in pairs of twos or threes and relieve each other every 20 to 30 minutes.
With consecutive interpretation, the interpreter is located right next to the speaker and interprets his or her remarks consecutively (i.e. afterwards) as soon as the speaker has finished a passage. For the speaker, this means stopping and starting, as the interpreter needs time to render the remarks into another language. As a result, your event will be twice as long compared with simultaneous interpretation.
Consecutive interpretation should be used for short addresses (e.g. dinner speeches) or negotiations. Again, it should be possible for the interpreters to relieve each other at certain intervals.
The soundproof interpreting booths serve two purposes: first, to shut off the interpreters from any noise that might distract their concentration and, second, to make sure that those delegates wishing to follow the original speech are not disturbed by the interpreters' output.
When booking meeting rooms, please make sure that you allow enough room for the interpreting booth(s) (e.g. 3.50 x 2 meters for a standard booth plus equipment).
As interpreters are confronted with a wide range of fields, it is not possible for them to specialise in a specific subject. One of the most important characteristics of any professional interpreter is therefore the ability to make himself or herself familiar with new subjects, concepts and terminologies. The organiser of an event should facilitate the interpreters' preparation by providing them with reference material such as agendas, speech manuscripts, company brochures, annual reports, product descriptions etc.
In Germany, anyone who believes he or she can speak another language has the right to call themselves interpreters. However, there is a world of difference between speaking two languages and being able to interpret from one language into another. By working with university-trained interpreters, you can be sure of receiving professional services. Membership in the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) is also an important quality mark.