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Liaison Interpreting

Conference interpreting is divided into three sub-types:

  1. simultaneous interpreting;

  1. consecutive interpreting;

  1. chuchotage interpreting.


Simultaneous interpreting is used for assembly meetings, conferences, seminars, presentations and business meetings. Simultaneous interpreting is an oral tradition that is normally carried out by two interpreters for each language, who listen to the speakers through headphones and translate the dialogue from one language to another at the same time that it is delivered to an audience of listeners. The listeners also wear headphones, through which they can listen to the simultaneous translation in their language.

As for consecutive translations, the interpreter must have broad knowledge of terminology regarding highly specialised sectors, but in this case, the translation takes place inside a soundproof booth, from where the interpreter listens to the phrases through headphones and translates them simultaneously via a microphone.

 At times, when the audience is just a small group, portable equipment can be used, with small headphones and microphones, instead of using the booths. Simultaneous translations provide a direct transfer of language and can therefore create a single-language environment, overcoming any obstacles and removing any pauses in the dialogue that may prevent or delay communication.

Simultaneous interpreting lasting for longer than one hour requires the presence of two interpreters, and a third if more than seven hours of work is planned.


Consecutive interpreting is preferably used in conferences that foreseen a single speaker and a large public (press conferences, private meetings, interviews, trials).

The interpreting is “consecutive” to the speaker’s speech: the interpreter sits alongside the speaker and translates his speech during the intervals of varying lengths that are introduced into the speech.

This technique is based on a method which involves the interpreter taking notes, using key words, abbreviations, symbols and drawings, when the technical aid of booths is not available.

The reproduction of the speech can be full or reduced depending on the context and use required by the client: this method foresees times that may be considerably longer, even doubling the duration of the meetings.

Consecutive interpreting that lasts for more than four hours requires the presence of two interpreters, and a third if more than seven hours of work are planned.


Another type of simultaneous conference interpreting is chuchotage (from the French verb “chuchoter”, to whisper) that comprises one interpreter working with one or maximum two users, literally whispering the essential concepts expressed by the speaker into the ear of the client. This service requires the presence of a single interpreter for a maximum of two hours. After this time limit, it will be necessary to add another interpreter.

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