At international conferences participants often ask us: “How do you do this? How are you able to listen and speak at the same time? That’s incredible!” I jokingly answer that interpreters are slightly schizophrenic: we constantly operate in two different languages and cultures.
In fact, when providing simultaneous interpreting services, we convert speech from one language to another with about a two-second delay. In other words, simultaneous interpretation (sometimes also referred to as simultaneous translation or 'simtrans') happens in real-time. This involves complex techniques and strategies which require many years of study and practice as well as high proficiency in both the source and target language.
It is vital that interpreters comprehend the message - not just the words - so that the full meaning is conveyed accurately to the audience. We put ourselves in the position of the speaker in order to strike the right note - contextually and emotionally.
Simultaneous interpreters are “generalists” that almost always work for specialists. Therefore, intense preparation and familiarization with the topic is essential. To achieve the best results, we work closely with our clients in the run-up to the event.
Given the inherent mental and physical demands involved (high levels of concentration and clear voice) we work in teams of two or three. It is necessary to alternate approximately every 20 minutes and assist each other with names, figures, and other challenges (poor acoustics, heavy accents or unusual dialects of the speakers, etc.). Considering the real-time setting, interpreters cannot consult a dictionary or the Internet to look up unfamiliar expressions, terms, or names. Therefore, they must have excellent proficiency in the source and target languages as well as professional support from their 'booth partner'.
A simultaneous interpreter works in a variety of multiple-language settings, including:
We typically work in sound-proof booths with state-of-the-art equipment. We hear the speakers through headphones and interpret simultaneously into a microphone. The signal is then transmitted to the listeners’ headphones. Even in times when physical events are not possible, it is possible to offer simultaneous interpretation through technology-based Remote Simultaneous Interpreting (RSI) solutions. Simultaneous interpretation provides a seamless experience for both delegates and speakers as there are no pauses needed for interpretation.
In the world of language services, simultaneous interpreting is considered the most demanding. Simultaneous interpreters must have excellent language skills and above-average fluency in at least two languages. Benefit from our team of excellent interpreters who aside from fluency are quick thinkers and have sharp hearing, subject matter expertise, and extensive vocabulary in both the source and target language. Contact us today and benefit from our highest-quality interpreting and translation services. We constantly strive to improve and are able to adapt to new situations and challenges. We are looking forward to your enquiry!