Simultaneous and Consecutive Interpreting
How does it work?
- Real-time interpreting, with only a few seconds of lag
- No need to plan for extra time
- Two interpreters are needed to allow for rest breaks to maintain the quality of interpretation; it is mentally taxing to listen and interpret at the same time, and studies show that quality decreases after 20-30 minutes without a break
- Group of individuals (3 or more)
- Multiple speakers of the same language are present, in addition to individuals who do not speak that language
- A family therapy session: bilingual family members may speak to the provider in English, and LEP family members need to know what is being said in real time; family members may converse with one another in Spanish and the provider needs to know what is going on in real-time.
- Several English-speaking staff, a bilingual child, and the Russian-speaking parents of the child at an IEP meeting
- Several Vietnamese speakers at a conference presented in English
- Individuals who are not able to participate in turn-taking, and whose utterances must be interpreted in real-time, are present
- Some mental health patients
- Interjections are more likely
- Speakers of the same language respond to each other without waiting for the interpreter to interpret into the other language
- Group is too large for interpreter to manage turn-taking
- Family counseling sessions
- Headsets and microphones, especially in the conference setting (in small-group settings, these may not be necessary)
- Detailed information about the appointment, as well as materials such as slideshows, should be provided to the interpreter ahead of time, particularly for specialized topics
- The interpreter may use a pen and paper to make note of names and numbers.
How does it work?
- Each speaker’s utterances are interpreted after they finish speaking
- Extra time needed
- One interpreter can generally cover a consecutive appointment because the interpreter is able to alternate between listening and speaking.
- 1:1 or a limited number of participants
- A patient and a provider for an annual checkup
- A parent-teacher meeting where only the teacher and parents are present
- Participants wait for the interpreter to finish interpreting into their language to respond
- Turn-taking is natural because without waiting for the interpreter the parties won’t understand each other
- For longer utterances, some pauses to allow for interpretation and check for comprehension from the other party
- If more than 2 people are present, the group is small enough that the interpreter is able to manage the flow of communication, asking parties to pause if necessary and preventing interjections
- Physical exams
- 1:1 counseling
- Interpreters may use pen and paper to take notes in order to accurately interpret longer utterances.
- Basic information about the nature of the appointment should be communicated to the interpreter ahead of time, particularly if it is a specialized appointment
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