Onsite Simultaneous Interpretation

In the simultaneous mode of interpretation, the interpreter keeps up with the speaker in such a way that they are never lagging behind more than a few seconds, which creates a real-time communication effect when performing the translation or interpretation service.

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What is Simultaneous Interpretation?

  • Simultaneous interpretation is the process of interpreting what is said, from one language into another, while it is being said. When you combine the linguistic expertise of professional conference interpreters and the proper technology, this form of interpretation enables real-time communication from the source language of the speaker to the target language of the audience, lifting the language barriers that exist so that people can understand one another.
  • A professional interpreter’s main goal is to facilitate effective multilingual communication among all parties. As a result, they are masters of tone, semantics and idiom in order to interpret or translate an expression accurately from one language to another.
  • By interpreting simultaneously, in real time, the natural flow of the speaker is left undisturbed, allowing for a smooth and clear output for the listeners. This differs from consecutive interpretation for a few reasons.

What is the Difference Between Simultaneous Interpretation Vs Consecutive Interpretation?

Simultaneous and consecutive, two primary modes of interpretation, are both used to bridge language barriers and help individuals understand each other. However in short, consecutive is referred to as a “stop-and-start” method, whereas simultaneous is “continuous.”

  • Consecutive Interpretation: Interpreter waits for the speaker to finish a sentence or thought before interpreting into the target audience’s language. This method can significantly extend the length of the meeting since consecutive interpretation naturally requires the repetition of the same communication from one language to another.  However, it is ideal for  interactive meetings with back-and-forth questions and answers. It is commonly used for business, medical, legal, interviews, small groups and one-to-one meetings.
  • Simultaneous Interpretation: Interpreter translates the speaker’s words at the same time as the speech is being delivered to the audience. There is only a short natural delay between what is being said by the presenter and the  interpretation being provided to the audience in real time.  Onsite simultaneous interpretation also requires professional installation and management of specialized equipment during an event. Another important difference is that simultaneous interpretation requires two interpreters to work together as a team and to take turns every 15-20 minutes. This is necessary to preserve the interpreters’ health and prevent mental fatigue during the demanding process of providing language interpretation simultaneously.

How do Simultaneous Translation Services Work?

Interpreters typically work in a soundproof booth, eliminating direct contact with the speaker. Using consoles with attached microphones and headphones, the interpreters listen for the incoming message in the source language and then translate into the target language heard by the audience on headset receivers.

From the beginning to end, the process for simultaneous interpretation looks like this:

  1. Listen to source language
  2. Comprehend what is being said immediately
  3. Assess contextual factors
  4. Interpret simultaneously to the target language

When are Simultaneous Interpretation Services Most Appropriate?

If your event can be described as a conference, convention, seminar or summit, simultaneous interpreter services are suitable. You want your message to flow as efficiently as possible, and the speed of this simultaneous service is most favorable in avoiding any delays in communication or content loss.

  • Live Television Broadcasts
  • Large Conferences/Conventions
  • Business/Board Meetings
  • Diplomatic Conferences
  • Courtrooms
  • Tours
  • Lectures and Presentations to Larger Groups

While it is possible to use Simultaneous Interpretation for the following scenarios, these are typically reserved for Consecutive Interpretation:

  • One-to-one Interactions
  • Medical appointments
  • Interviews
  • HR Meetings
  • Depositions
  • Independent medical evaluations
  • Client-Attorney Meetings
  • Medical Consultations

Why do you Need Simultaneous Interpretation?

Organizers of large events rely on interpreting services for a streamlined flow of communication between multilingual participants.

There are many reasons why this method of interpretation is preferred:

  1. Convenience. Attend a conference anywhere around the world in any language and listen to the translating and interpreting service through your headsets.
  2. Broader Options. Participate in a global meeting with delegates speaking in several languages. Everyone can speak and be understood at the same time, without pauses or breaks, through the real-time interpretation of the desired language.
  3. Save time. Interpreter services have no more than a few seconds delay in the communication of information from one language to another, therefore you can better manage your time, without losing the message.
  4. No Language Barriers. When there is instantaneous interpretation made available at your event, the language barrier is no longer a concern. You can conduct business productively, resolve problems, and work through complex negotiations without communication delays, frustrations, or interruptions.
  5. Widely Adopted. Simultaneous interpretation is the preferred mode of interpretation at live conferences for the world’s most renowned international organizations, from the United Nations to the most successful corporations.
  6. Understand Semantics. Even if you have a basic knowledge of the speaker’s language, this form of interpretation helps you fully grasp the idiomatic expressions or the technical parts of the presentation in your native language.
  7. Professional. Interpreting services are provided by expert linguists who not only convert speech concurrently from the source to the target language, but do so masterfully, by adopting the voice of the speaker and capturing the nuances, the gestures, and fullness of meaning with pinpoint accuracy, throughout the whole interpretation.
  8. Maintain Audience Attention. Avoids the problem of having the participants wait, potentially losing their patience and interest in the event. If the subject of your event requires an individual’s full attention, you risk losing their focus if you are not using simultaneous interpreter services.

What are the Main Types of Simultaneous Interpretation?

  • Onsite Simultaneous Interpretation: The interpreter is physically present at the location of the event. It is customary for an onsite simultaneous interpreter to work inside a soundproof booth and for the language interpretation to be heard by the audience via headset receivers. Onsite simultaneous interpreters are uniquely qualified and often need to travel to provide their services in international conferences around the globe. In fact given the limited supply of professional conference interpreters and equipment rental services around the world, a big event often requires the deployment of large crews of interpreters, technicians, project managers and large amounts of equipment, which can result in significant flight, hotel and transportation costs.
  • Remote Simultaneous Interpretation: Advanced cloud-based technology makes it possible for interpreters to work remotely from anywhere around the world, while audiences listen to the interpretation on their smartphone or electronic devices. Organizations that depend on simultaneous interpretation services for successful events find that remote interpretation is an excellent alternative to onsite interpretation and more cost-effective since they can save as much as 50% off traditional interpretation costs. With Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (RSI), interpreters don’t have to be flown to events and equipment setup requirements are minimal, greatly simplifying the organization and delivery of the interpretation service. RSI greatly reduces the carbon footprint historically associated with onsite simultaneous interpretation services.

What Type of Equipment is Required to Execute Onsite Simultaneous Translation Services?

Scheduling and managing onsite interpreters is of the utmost importance for a successful multilingual event. However, these efforts would not be beneficial without the use of proper interpretation equipment.

When orchestrated correctly, the right equipment will allow for a seamless onsite interpreting service. While some equipment requirements can vary slightly, the core components are the same.

  • Interpreter Booth: Soundproof booths used to avoid noise interference. By hearing only the speaker, the interpreters are not distracted by ambient noise, and their interpretation can only be heard by the audience that it’s intended for. Depending on the audience size, you can choose from one of two interpreter booths:
  • Tabletop: Placed on a table, surrounding the interpreter on most sides it only provides partial sound isolation. This is recommended for smaller audiences or tighter spaces.
  • Freestanding: A larger fully-enclosed booth that is much more insulated, offering excellent sound isolation, complete with four walls and suitable for a team of two interpreters.
  • Interpreter Console: Allows the interpreter to take in the presenter’s speech through their headphones and microphone and instantly transform it into another language through simultaneous interpretation.
  • Transmitter: The interpreter translates what is said simultaneously into the target language and an Radio Frequency (RF) or IR (Infrared) transmitter instantly sends the signal to the digital headset receivers in the room.
  • Audience Headset Receivers: Worn by the audience members that need to hear the interpretation of the presentation. Delegates listen in to the interpretation through headphones plugged into their wireless receivers.


How do you Prepare for Language Interpretation Services?

Successful interpretation requires more than just hiring the right company of interpreters. Proper preparation is key and will ensure a smooth and streamlined experience.

These four simultaneous interpretation tips will enhance the quality and overall experience at your next event.

1.     Determine the size of your audience. It’s important that you obtain the most accurate number of attendees so you can plan accordingly for the number of headsets needed.

2.     Figure out how many languages your event will need. The number of languages will determine the number of booths, transmitters and onsite technicians needed.

3.     Map out where the interpreters will be seated. Due to the high concentration required for this line of work, it’s important to map out a place for the booth where the interpreters feel most comfortable and have a good view of the speaker.

4.     Talk to your interpreters prior to the event. Make clear your requirements, your audience and their needs so they can deliver the best experience for your attendees.

Taking the Next Step Towards a Successful Event

It’s time to find the right interpreter services near you now that you’ve identified that this form of interpretation is right for your business’ needs.

With the right team of professionals by your side to help you plan, your goals can be achieved, all in a timely and efficient manner. Interpretation services enhance the experience for your attendees, and there’s never been a better time to get started.

With hundreds of successful simultaneous interpretation projects under our belt, we have the experience to cover events of any size.

Please email us or call us today at 1 877-808-5030 for a complimentary consultation.

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At Interprenet, our team of skilled professionals can provide your business with a large variety of languages. If you do not see the language you need, please reach out to us.

The most commonly requested languages for simultaneous interpretation are:












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