eTranslation Services

Interpreting Services: Which Is Right for Your Event?

Many people still think that translation services are the same as interpreting services. While both are language services, each service is different. Translation deals with written text, while interpreting deals with spoken words.

Translation companies often receive requests from clients for translation services when in fact they need interpreting services for their training, conference or business meeting. A translator does not interact with the audience directly. The translator renders written text in one language into other languages, in order for speakers of other languages to understand the message or information.

An interpreter performs a more dynamic task, listening to the speaker, either live or a recording, and translates the speech immediately.

Types of Interpreter Services

Interpreting services come in different types. The most popular are simultaneous interpreting and consecutive interpreting.

In simultaneous interpreting, the interpreter waits for the speaker to speak for a few seconds before starting the interpretation in the target language. In consecutive interpreting, the speaker pauses after saying a portion of their speech and the interpreter gives the gist of what the speaker said.

You can likewise request for remote interpreting services, either by video call or over-the-phone. Remote interpreting service is effective when the participants are not in the same room or separated by geographic distances. The service can be used for webcasting and video conferences, as well as for other situations that require the use of an interpreter, such as emergencies, and in clinic and hospital settings.

Escort or travel interpreting services are usually utilized by travel planners for tour groups and business travelers. The interpreter typically understands local culture, as aside from interpreting during meetings, the interpreter acts as a tour guide, to ensure that the traveler can cope with the foreign culture.

Whisper interpreting services are effective for small group meetings where an interpreter sits close to a participant to provide consecutive interpretation quietly. It is most effective in a courtroom or during meetings where only one person needs interpreting services.

Language Interpretation Services

Language services providers offer different types of services. Some provide translation and interpretation services, while others either concentrate only on translation services or interpreting services. It’s vital that clients specify what type of service they actually need.

When ordering language interpretation services, the client should provide the following information:

  • Schedule of the meeting or conference
  • Time slots when the interpreter should be present, such as during the entire meeting or at certain times only
  • The venue of the meeting or conference
  • Expected number of participants
  • Subject/topic of the meeting
  • Need for subject matter expertise and special terminology
  • Provision of advance copies of reference materials, position papers, speeches, presentations, etc.
  • Dress code
  • Transportation arrangement for the interpreter
  • The language pairs you need, such as English and Spanish, English and French, or English and German
  • What type of interpreting service you need – simultaneous or consecutive interpreting
  • The layout of the room where you’ll hold the meeting or conference
  • Equipment that you need – soundproof booths, microphones, sound system, headphones
  • Will you record the meeting and will it be shared with the public later
  • Is the conference a closed-door event or open to the media

The translation company needs to know these things in order to assign the right interpreters for your project. Your requirements help the company decide how many interpreters you need and the types of equipment you’ll use.

For most large gatherings, where participants speak several languages, you have to choose between simultaneous and consecutive interpretation.

Simultaneous Interpreting

If the conference or meeting will last the entire day or a few days, it might be better to opt for simultaneous interpreting. With simultaneous interpreting, the sense of immediacy is present. The delivery of the translation is in real-time. The interpretation starts a few seconds after the speaker begins to speak. The interpreter translates exactly what the speaker is saying.

Several interpreters in soundproof booths will deliver the message in the target languages. It is standard to have two interpreters for each target language, so one interpreter can take a rest while the other performs the task.

Simultaneous interpreting is effective for formal and large group events such as:

  • International conferences or conventions
  • Diplomatic conferences
  • Business meetings
  • Training seminars
  • Trade shows and trade fairs
  • Tours
  • Presentations and lectures
  • Courtroom sessions

Consecutive interpreting

Consecutive interpreting is more effective for one-on-one talks and smaller meetings. The setting is less formal and more conversational compared to simultaneous interpreting. The interpreter does not translate everything that the speaker says. While listening to a part of the speech, the interpreter takes notes and summarizes what has been said, delivering a condensed version of the spoken words. The disadvantage of consecutive interpreting is the amount of time it consumes. Since the speaker has to pause to allow the interpreter to translate the words into the target language, it doubles the conversation time.

You can choose consecutive interpreting if you are hosting:

  • HR meetings for multilingual applicants and employees
  • Interviews
  • Court depositions
  • Medical consultations
  • Parent-teacher meetings
  • Attorney-client meetings

Remote interpreting

In remote interpreting, the interpreter does not have to be in the same room or location as the client. They can be in their office or their home and provide the service whenever it is needed. Remote interpreting over the phone can be scheduled or on-demand.

The medical and health crisis due to Covid-19 is a global issue where remote interpreting can help. You can either use over-the-phone interpreting (OPI) or video remote interpreting (VRI). People who are affected and seeking medical attention do not always speak the local language, and most revert to their mother tongue. Remote interpreters will not be put at risk as well. They can provide interpreting services either by phone or video call, ensuring that the medical practitioner can understand patients’ symptoms and provide them with the necessary medication and treatment, while the patients can understand what the doctor is telling them, in simpler terms and in the language they commonly speak.

Simultaneous conference interpreting

Corporations, organizations, and event planning specialists prefer simultaneous conference interpreting services when they have a large-scale, multilingual event. With the size of the venue and the number of participants, the event organizer and the interpreting service provider should meet to discuss logistics.

They need soundproof interpreters’ booths, an excellent sound system including microphones for the interpreters and excellent headphones for the audience. Their booths should be elevated so they can see the speakers and the participants, as well as the monitors for visual presentations.

The skill of a simultaneous interpreter is more than impressive because they translate what is being said just a few words behind the speaker. They deliver the translation in the target language almost at the same time, considering the special terminology that the speakers use in their presentations. They listen to the speaker, mentally translate the words quickly and accurately, and deliver the translation immediately. Interpreters do not use reference materials such as dictionaries while interpreting.

Simultaneous interpreting provides real-time interpretation in the target languages. There is only a slight delay in the delivery of the translation, so the conference ends on time. Likewise, they are not affected by outside distractions, allowing them to do their job effortlessly.

Get in touch with the experts when you need interpreting services

Here at eTranslation Services, we work only with interpreters and translators who are native speakers and have years of experience behind them. It is our mission to deliver the best language service to all our clients. Thus, we see to it that we assign projects to the right linguistic expert. If you have a conference, seminar, workshop or business meeting coming up that needs interpreting services, please get in touch with us via email at [email protected] or call us at (800) 882-6058 so we can discuss your requirements.


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