Simultaneous translation – Simultaneous interpretation techniques

Simultaneous interpreting techniques

Immediacy is the most important feature of simultaneous interpreting, this being fundamental as we know it today in European courts, international conferences and summits, or any interview requiring multiple languages. Therefore, below we will explain what are the different techniques that are performed duringsimultaneous interpretation.

What is simultaneous interpreting?

Prima di iniziare a parlare di ciascuna delle tecniche di simultaneous interpretation, è essenziale sapere di che si tratta. Questo concetto risponde a un processo in cui un interprete riproduce il discorso di un’altra persona contemporaneamente in un’altra lingua; ovvero viene eseguita un’interpretazione da una lingua all’altra nello stesso momento in cui viene prodotto il discorso, adattandosi alle parole originali. Ciò richiede una grande agilità mentale e una perfetta conoscenza di entrambe le lingue, poiché una riproduzione erronea del messaggio può causare grandi conseguenze.

Simultaneous interpreting techniques

Interpretariato simultaneo in cabina


Simultaneous interpreting generally requires the use of technical equipment such as headsets or closed booths. Furthermore, it is not uncommon to find several interpreters in the same booth, who have to alternate every half hour or forty minutes. Between the original speech and its interpretation there will be a certain gap, called décalage, which varies according to the type of interpretation, but must be as short as possible.

When there are interpretation booths in several languages, it may be necessary to use the so-called "relay" or "chain interpretation", i.e. a sort of indirect translation. In this case, one interpreter first translates the original message into one language and the rest of the interpreters use this translation to formulate the translation into the third language. It is commonly used in conferences or events where different languages are spoken.

Chuchotage or whispered interpretation


This technique, which some frame as simultaneous interpreting, and others as a separate category, relies on whispering into the person's or participants' ear what was expounded in the original talk. This way of carrying out simultaneous interpreting is common in places or situations that do not allow for the use of technical equipment such as, for example, meetings or conversations in the field of international affairs.

Sight translation


Although it is a hybrid between translation and interpreting, sight translation is based on the oral reformulation of a written text for a listening recipient. Although it is not widespread, it is usually used in the pedagogical field, in the courts to translate documents that have not been translated into written form, in conferences, press conferences and even in job interviews to learn about the interpreting experience of the person.

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