What is Consecutive Interpreting?

Consecutive interpreting is absolutely necessary to make sure someone who’s speaking a foreign language is understood by the entire audience. This specific type of interpreting involves the physical presence of the translator on stage, and a way of treating the text differently. If you’re interested in this field or work in an international environment, you might want to know exactly what the work of a consecutive interpreter is.

What does consecutive interpreting involve?

This type of interpreting is performed once the person giving a speech, or at least part of it, makes a pause. In other words, the translator or interpreter has to be present while the event is taking place and communicate what is being said in the target language.

Therefore, when you witness this kind of interpreting, you get a much more natural sense of speech, which helps you focus your attention and understand all the information that is being transmitted more easily. This is one of its advantages over simultaneous interpreting.

Skills needed for consecutive interpreting

If you want to develop your professional career as a consecutive interpreter, you must have translation and interpreting studies. You also need to master a note-taking system that allows you to write down all the references you need from the speech in time. Symbols, abbreviations, and similar resources are generally used in these cases.

Likewise, any person working in this profession must have a great capacity for concentration. You should also remember that you’ll be present at the event and therefore in the public eye. This means you must possess great self-control and, moreover, not lose the thread of what is being said at any time. It’s also very important to have good memory to be able to remember what is said.

When is consecutive interpreting needed?

The presence of professional interpreters is requested for specific types of events, of which a speech or a conversation is an essential component. In all cases, it’s important for the interpreter to remain impartial and not add any nuances when communicating in the target language.

Press conferences may require interpreting services, since it’s very useful to understand what the person giving the conference is saying, but also the questions coming from journalists. Similarly, consecutive interpreters also work in conferences, as long as they are required to address an audience that speaks a single language.

This type of interpreting service is also necessary in trials and court proceedings, because in these situations it’s absolutely imperative to reflect even the smallest detail or nuance of what is presented in the investigation. Lastly, interpreters play a vital role in business or diplomatic meetings and help ensure endeavors will come to fruition.

If you are thinking about becoming a consecutive interpreter, it’s very important that you consider all these factors before deciding whether it is the job for you.

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish) Français (French) Nederlands (Dutch)