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Consecutive interpreting

Consecutive interpreting is suitable for business meetings, shorter events, presentations, negotiations, press conferences and similar settings, where simultaneous interpreting is not possible.

Professional interpreters only

Professional consecutive interpreting is not to be confused with ad hoc or liaison interpreting, which is usually performed by untrained interpreters. Professional consecutive interpreting is a skill set, including prolonged note-taking and coping strategies, that is only provided by specially trained conference interpreters.

Interpreting in semantic batches

Whereas ad hoc interpreters use their short-term memory and interrupt the communication to deliver what they remember every few phrases or so, professional conference interpreters use special note-taking techniques that enable the speaker to carry on until they complete a larger, more meaningful segment. This minimises the interpreter's interference as much as is practical.

Interpreter delivers content concisely

When the speaker stops, the interpreter delivers the presented content in an accurate but concise manner, without leaving out any details and retaining the original narrative structure and sequence. However, any duplicated meaning may be left out to speed up the interpreting process. The interpreter normally takes less time than the speaker did to deliver the content, but it is reasonable to expect that interpreting will require around 70 percent of the speaker's time.  The speaker should take this into account when planning timing for events.

Interpreter as moderator

In some settings, such as business meetings, negotiations or inspections, consecutive interpreting becomes a central and sensitive process. Here the interpreter assumes the role of a moderator, helping the parties clarify each other's statements. In these cases, the interpreter's professionalism is crucial.

Short events and business meetings

Consecutive interpreting requires additional time and attention from the audience, so it is suitable only for short occasions or presentations, as well as business meetings and document work. In all other situations, simultaneous interpretation is preferable.

Two interpreters may be needed
One interpreter may handle shorter events, but if the service is required for more than two hours, a team of two interpreters may be required.