Consecutive interpreting

The interpreter sits alongside the delegates or at the speaker’s platform. The speaker delivers the speech in chunks of several minutes, pausing after each section for the interpreter to reproduce that section of the speech in the target language. The interpreter does this by listening carefully to the original speech and taking notes using a special technique. This mode of interpreting particularly lends itself to negotiations, formal speeches or interviews. It does not require a soundproof booth and the only equipment needed is a simple sound amplifier if the meeting is being held in a large room or with a big audience.

Simultaneous interpreting

The interpreters work in soundproof booths with a direct view of the meeting room or conference hall. They hear the speaker in their headsets and simultaneously translate into the target language. Listeners hear the translation on a receiver (small headset). Simultaneous interpreting is very demanding and requires high levels of concentration, so there are usually two interpreters per language (and therefore per booth). They work in turns, usually alternating every 30 minutes. Being more time-efficient than consecutive interpreting, this mode of interpreting is particularly useful for meetings and conferences with more than two active languages.


Whispering is simultaneous interpreting without the booths. The interpreter sits next to or behind one or two meeting participants and whispers the interpretation of the speech to them. It is not recommended when there are more than two listeners or when several interpreters need to work at the same time in the same room. Interpreters work in teams of two.

Ana Hernanz