An interpreter is a linguistic mediator who facilitates barrier-free communication between persons who speak different languages. The most common forms of interpreting are:
Consecutive interpreting is where the interpreter listens to the speaker and takes notes, which they render into the target language once the speaker has finished. This is the most suitable approach for meetings with a small number of attendees, or for press conferences, or for other short events.
Simultaneous interpreting is where the interpreter renders speech into the target language at the same time as it is being spoken. It usually requires special booths, fully fitted with sound and microphone equipment. Although it can be used for any kind of event, is ideally suited for conferences, conventions and seminars where a large number of participants are involved, and for radio or television interpreting.
Liaison interpreting can be considered a variant of consecutive interpreting, the difference being that liaison interpreters are required to switch back and forth from source to target language. It is the most suitable approach for events with a small number of attendees, where the role of the interpreter is particularly important.
- Whispered interpreting or “Chuchotage”
This kind of simultaneous interpreting is used when only one person (or at most two) needs interpreting. The interpreter sits beside the person and whispers the translation into their ear.