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Conference interpreters are trained to work in different modes of interpretation:

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Simultaneous Interpreting

(requires microphones, headsets, and booths)

This is standard practice at international meetings these days. The interpreter sits in a booth, listening to the speech through headphones, and translates simultaneously. Conference delegates wear headsets to listen in to the language of their choice. Interpreters normally work in a team of two or more per booth, depending on the number of active and passive languages. Here again the consultant interpreter will give expert guidance.


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Consecutive Interpreting

(no equipment is required)

This is suitable for smaller groups and entails note-taking by the interpreter and interpreting after the statement has been made.


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Chuchotage or Whispering Interpretation

This is a form of simultaneous interpreting whereby the interpreter whispers simultaneously for 1 or 2 delegates. Use can also be made of the tourguide system for small meetings or factory visits but it is not recommended for large meetings with ex cathedra presentations as the interpreters experience hearing difficulties.


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Liaison Interpreting

Interpreters are used for face-to-face meetings.


Sometimes interpreting is confused with translation which involves a written text. Some members of Conference Interpreters UK are also qualified translators although this is a very different skill.

Both professions, however, require an advanced level of education, general knowledge and exceptional language skills. Conference interpreters need to prepare meetings carefully and should be provided with all the background documents available for this purpose.

Conference interpreter teams always include a team leader to liaise with the conference organizer and act as coordinator