Depending on the type of event various modes of interpreting are possible. Having trained as a conference interpreter, I am able to work in all of the various interpreting techniques which will be presented to you below.
While interpreting simultaneously, conference interpreters usually work in a soundproof booth with headsets and microphones. They simultaneously translate what is being said into the desired target language. The delegates listen to the interpretation in their own language via receivers. The benefit: No time is lost and a large audience with various languages can be addressed very easily. As simultaneous interpreting requires a high level of concentration, simultaneous interpreters are working in rotation in teams of two (to three) interpreters per language.
If there are only one or two listeners for one target language, the traditional form of whispering, chuchotage (French: chuchoter – to whisper) is used. The interpreter is positioned right next to the listener and whispers the interpretation into the listener’s ear. An interpreter can also whisper for more than two listeners using a tour-guide system.
While interpreting consecutively, the interpreter does not work in a booth but is usually positioned right next to the speaker. The interpreter listens carefully to the speaker’s comments and records the words using a special note-taking technique in order to subsequently deliver the speech in the target language. Consecutive interpretation takes twice as long as simultaneous interpretation because the interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has finished speaking.
Liaison interpreters translate the conversation into the target language in sections following the natural rhythm of the discussion. As a consequence, the interpreter usually translates shorter sections (for instance question-answer) and he/she interprets “back and forth” into both languages. Liaison interpreters usually sit right next to the discussion partners at the negotiating table.