In other words, in consecutive interpretation, there is normally only one person talking at a time, in contrast to the rapid-fire “real-time” nature of simultaneous interpretation. This “back and forth” format is often ideal for small groups or one-on-one settings, such as medical consultations, attorney-client negotiations, interviews, parent-teacher meetings, and similar.

Interpreting Language Piece by Piece

Consecutive interpretation helps ensure no one involved is talking over each other. Moreover, because consecutive interpreters interpret phrases, ideas, or blocks of speech into the target language—for example, translating every few sentences, not word by word—they have some extra time to confirm they are clearly representing the speaker’s message in its intended context. Although this process may take a little longer, it tends to pay off in terms of clarity and accuracy.

Despite the slower pace, on-site interpreters must be very well-trained in the source language and the target language, as well as have several special skills related to consecutive interpretation. For instance, they must have experience filtering out any background noise or distractions, have rapid note-taking capabilities, keen listening and memorization abilities, and an expert grasp of complex subject matter, such as legal terminology or medical jargon. At the same time, an interpreter’s cultural awareness and ability to analyze context are equally important for avoiding miscommunication.

Did You Know?

Why Choose Consecutive Interpretation?

As mentioned above, consecutive interpretation is ideal for settings with a smaller audience. As a result, companies tend to prefer consecutive interpretation when the use of simultaneous interpretations would be too costly and inefficient due to the use of specialized equipment, such as headsets, transmitting systems, and bulky sound booths.

Also, the complex nature of simultaneous interpretation often requires interpreters to work in pairs, which can significantly stretch a budget. Since consecutive interpreters generally work alone, perhaps with a notepad and writing implement as their only equipment, they can represent significant cost savings.

In addition to cost-effectiveness, on-site consecutive interpretation also has the advantage of increased proximity between interpreter and speaker. Rather than being placed in a soundproof booth at the back of a lecture hall, reliant on audiovisual technology, a consecutive interpreter is often located closer to the speaker in a much smaller setting. This not only removes the issue of audio interference, but also allows the interpreter to closely observe the speaker’s emotional nuances and expressions, which they can then factor in to their interpretation.

Our interpreters are specifically trained in consecutive interpretation assignments, with trusted credentials and experience with gold standard organizations in the industry. Whether you are in the medical, legal, nonprofit, or other field, they will ensure that key elements of communication are never lost in translation. To discuss your on-site consecutive interpretation needs, please get in touch with Trusted Translations today.