When to Use Consecutive or Simultaneous Interpretation

A few weeks ago AZ World Translation and Interpretation was asked to provide a proposal for a one day work shop. The client requested consecutive interpretation (meaning that the speaker does one, two or more sentences and the interpreter repeats after that) for a full day training workshop in the use of optical networking solutions for critical communications applications.

We replied that we would not provide a quote for a full day workshop using consecutive interpretation because it was not the right way of doing it. For a training session, you have to use simultaneous interpretation (meaning that the speaker does one sentence and the interpreter goes one sentence behind repeating everything, without interruptions, usually there is an interpretation booth and the interpreters could even be outside the room, however for a small group of 3 as it was in this case it can be done by whispering).

The client asked us why we refused to do the cheaper option of the consecutive interpretation and our answer was that it was not right to do consecutive. The best example I can come up with is you do not sell a 2000 computer for 2016 technology. Though that technology can do the work it is not right for the client needs. It was during the Nuremberg trials that simultaneous interpretations was chosen as the right way of interpreting conferences and AZ World was not going to go backwards!

To summarize:

  • Consecutive works great for a Q/A period and simultaneous interpretation works better for a conference, presentation, training session, etc.
  • Translators and interpreters/translations agencies have the duty of keeping our clients updated on what goes on the translation and interpretation world and should pass the benefits of our learning and discoveries to our clients.

Any thoughts? Do you want to share your experience?


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