• Continental Interpreting

How Simultaneous Interpreting Works

Updated: Oct 28

Ever wondered how a professional interpreter can translate live so quickly?


Here are 4 areas of a typical simultaneous interpretation scenario.


The professional interpreter listens from a soundproof area

While the speaker is communicating with the audience, our simultaneous interpreters sit in a soundproof booth (table top booth or fully encapsulated booth) while they are interpreting into the target languages. One booth is required per language and the booths are usually placed on the side of the room, back of the room, behind stage, or in a nearby room. If a booth is not being used, the interpreter can use a portable hand-held transmitter if the setting is appropriate for this system.


The audience tunes in with listening devices

Audience members that need interpretation hear the interpreters through lightweight, wireless listening devices — a receiver and a headset that are tuned to the proper language channel. There are various setups that are available depending on the format of the meeting or event such as relay interpreting or two-way communication between speakers and attendees during round tables and Q&A sessions. The various interpreting systems are: RF Interpreting System, Conference Discussion System, Infrared Interpreting System, and Portable Interpreting System.


The professional interpreter works with a partner in a team

Due to the complexity of simultaneous interpreting (SI) and to avoid fatigue, we always provide two interpreters per language if the meeting or event is over one hour. Working as a team allows our interpreters to perform at their best level throughout the duration of the meeting or event.


Technicians are present for interpreting equipment assistance

Our on-site technicians are responsible for setting up the equipment, testing it, and monitoring throughout the duration of the meeting or event. Once the meeting or event is over, our technicians strike all equipment and return it to one of our office locations or have it shipped out. Additional event staff can be requested to assist with distribution and collection of listening devices (receivers and headphones).


Need interpreting services for a meeting or event?

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