Consecutive interpreting or whispered interpreting: everything you need to know

interpretazione consecutiva o interpretazione sussurrata

In the field of language use, the activities of consecutive interpretation (or dialogic interpretation) and of whispered interpretations they differ according to the way in which they take place. The difference between the two also takes advantage of their intended use and the circumstances in which they lend themselves to the event.

According to the definition kindly borrowed from the Zingarelli dictionary, the definition of “interpretation” – from the Latin interpretation,-one – is . Although the meaning assumed according to different terms by the word "interpretation" is purely addressed to the world of art or philosophy, we are interested in the value it acquires in relation to the linguistic sector. We assume that when we talk about linguistic interpretation, we are referring to the activity of oral translation performed by an interpreter.

Unlike the role of the translator, that of the interpreter performs a linguistic mediation activity by exercising the power of the so-called "living language", i.e. the oral language. There verbal communication aims to connect people who do not master the same language or who do not have a target language.

In the world of interpretation there is also a certain categorization and subdivision for the various modalities of interpretation. But no more talk, let's try to highlight the most peculiar characteristics of some of these categories.

What is consecutive interpreting?

Dialog / consecutive interpreting, foreseeing the intervention of an interpreter who transposes the translation accordingly to the exposition of the speaker. The interpreter, seated or standing, listens to a part of the speech, which he then translates at regular intervals the duration of which can vary between 5 and 15 minutes. He then alternates with the speaker, and then addresses the listener or listeners.

Given the length of the translation interval, the risk is that of not being able to memorize everything by heart. In the 50s and 60s consecutive interpreters were real monsters: they returned the message in the target language only with the help of their memory. Today, the interpreter makes use of the mnemonic capacity, but also of the pen and paper help, where he can annotate and encode the most salient keywords of the speech.

This allows the interpreter not to miss any point of the speech to be translated, rework in a very short time content written on the notepad and return a localized and fluid oral translation. Consecutive interpreting does not need large equipment: the interpreter works alone, without cabin and without headphones. Which implies a considerable saving money, but an increase in translation times compared to simultaneous interpretation.

For which events is the consecutive interpreting service most suitable?

The consecutive interpreting service (or dialogic interpreting) is mainly used for short-lived events and relatively narrow. For example, how can small meetings be, press conferences, presentations intended for a small circle of participants, commercial negotiations with foreign partners. It is also often provided for company visits on site or on the road or for international fairs, in Italy or abroad.

What is whispered interpretation?

It is a cheaper but less known version of the classic simultaneous interpretation in the cabin. It is often known by the term chuchotage (whispering), from French  whisper, whisper. In fact, it requires that the interpreter whisper in your ear of the user the simultaneous translation, with an imperceptible difference in time (décalage). As in consecutive interpreting, since no technical interpreting equipment is used, whispered interpreting is clearly very cheap. In fact, the interpreter works sitting or standing next to the user, relying solely on his general knowledge, his many years of experience and a very high degree of concentration. This modality is more complicated to the eyes (or rather to the ears) of the interpreters and the listener. Often the surrounding environment does not allow the interpreter to isolate himself completely, risking at the same time interrupting or disturbing the communication. Even the slightest background hum can be a nuisance. This can be remedied by relying on the advanced professional competence of the interpreter chuchotage.

For which events is the whispered interpreting service most suitable?

It lends itself well to events where they are one up to a maximum of three users who do not understand the speaker's language. In these cases, the technique of whispered interpretations provides a maximum duration of 30 minutes operated by a single simultaneous interpreter. It is therefore a short service and Reserved, as in a corporate meeting, a visit the museum (through contraption) or for public or televised events with foreign guests. To ensure that the interpreter's intervention is effective, the acoustic and logistical conditions must be efficient and guaranteed.

Furthermore, it may happen that the interpreter alternates between dialogical and whispered modes of interpretation, when one of the users wants to intervene and speak.

Despite the substantial differences between the two modalities, both make the figure of the interpreter the linguistic and cultural "bridge" between the various interlocutors.

If you want to know more, contact Congressi Internazionali! You can ask for a demo with talented and multitasking consecutive or multitasking interpreters chuchotage!

International Congresses Press Office

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