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Two Modes of Interpreting

There are two modes of interpreting: simultaneous, and consecutive. Simultaneous interpreting requires interpreters to listen and speak (or sign) at the same time someone is speaking (or signing). Ideally, simultaneous interpreters should be so familiar with a subject that they are able to anticipate the end of the speaker's sentence.

 

Because they need a high degree of concentration, simultaneous interpreters work in pairs, with each interpreting for 20-minute to 30-minute periods. This type of interpreting is required at international conferences and is sometimes used in the courts.

In contrast to the immediacy of simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting begins only after the speaker has verbalized a group of words or sentences. Consecutive interpreters often take notes while listening to the speakers, so they must develop some type of note-taking or shorthand system. This form of interpreting is used most often for person-to-person communication, during which the interpreter is positioned near both parties.

 

-"Interpreters and Translators." Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Media-and-Communication/Interpreters-and-translators.htm July 21, 2010.

 


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