Consecutive Interpreting

In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has finished speaking.

It is widely believed that simultaneous interpreting is going to squeeze its consecutive counterpart out and demand for the latter will fall. This is not true, however. Consecutive interpreting has many benefits: it is more precise and far less information is omitted in comparison with the simultaneous method. Moreover it requires no special equipment; it can take place in any environment and is generally carried out by one interpreter (not 2 or more as in simultaneous interpreting).

Consecutive interpreters have several ‘modes of operation’ as some speakers are so carried away by their speech that sometimes they only pause after 30 minutes or more. That is why consecutive interpreters have always got a notebook and a pen with them. An entire speech can hardly be put down verbatim but it is quite enough to outline the gist and major bullet points. Professional interpreters are skilled in shorthand notation which saves a considerable amount of time by putting down words in symbols.

Consecutive interpreting (CI) is rendered as “short CI” or “long CI”. In short CI, the interpreter relies on memory; each message segment being brief enough to memorize (something in between consecutive and simultaneous interpreting). In long CI, the interpreter takes notes of the message to aid rendering long passages. These informal divisions are established with the client before the interpreting is carried out, depending upon the subject, its complexity, and the purpose of the interpreting.

There is an unspoken rule for speakers to render speech in smaller portions in order to be well and fully understood. Even a very experienced interpreter is not a voice recorder and can hardly deliver your 2.5-hour soliloquy in the target language. However he/she will do their best to this effect. Please take a look at "Don't Forget» page for other useful advice.

Consecutive interpreting is usually called for in small-scale meetings with bilingual audiences. In multilingual environments simultaneous interpreting is obviously better as the event would be much longer otherwise.

No special equipment is required for consecutive interpreting so it can be carried out anywhere, in a restaurant, on site, on a tour or during a visit. It is also often needed at international exhibitions/fairs/shows. Telephone interpreting is also well developing these days.

One more advantage inherent in this type of interpreting is that the speaker can prepare their next idea during interpreting. Consecutive interpreting is not as expensive as simultaneous interpreting and does not require extra accessories, which is a further cost-saving.

Be sure to contact us if you need consecutive interpreting from/into English

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