What is conference interpreting?

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Conference interpreting deals exclusively with oral communication : rendering a message from one language into another, naturally and fluently, adopting the delivery, tone and convictions of the speaker and speaking in the first person.

It should not be confused with translation which deals only with written texts.

International conferences are attended by people from different backgrounds and cultures, and speaking different languages. It is the job of an interpreter to enable them to communicate with each other, not by translating every word they utter, but by conveying the ideas which they express.

Language regime and active and passive languages are terms used by interpreters to describe the languages you may speak or listen to in a multilingual meeting.

A conference interpreter’s language combination describes the number of languages the interpreter works from or into in simultaneous or consecutive mode. Simultaneous interpreters work in a soundproofed booth.

There are different kinds of interpreting :

Consecutive: interpreting after the speaker finished…

Simultaneous: interpreting while the delegate is speaking…

Relay: interpreting between two languages via a third…

Retour: working from your mother tongue into a foreign language…

Pivot: using a single language as a relay…

Cheval: An interpreter working alternatively in two booths in the same meeting…

Asymmetric: All delegates listen to interpretation into only a few languages…

Whispering: whispered simultaneous interpreting…

Sign language: simultaneous interpreting into sign language…

 Text & Photo from European Commission (DG SCIC)
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