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Interpreting is a complex process that requires a high degree of linguistic, cognitive and technical skills.


Two members of this site provide interpreting services. Their links are listed below. The right hand column below provides some information about interpreting.

Interpreter & specialist subjects

PC Translations
Legal interpreting
Maris van der Laak
Court interpreter (SIGV diploma)


Interpreting occurs in real time in the presence of the intended audience. There are several modes:

Simultaneous interpreting

In simultaneous interpretation the interpreter speaks the message in the target language as quickly as possible from the source language, while the source-language speaker is continuously speaking. The simultaneous interpreter sits in a sound-proof booth, speaks into a microphone and hears the speech via earphones. The target-language listeners hear the speech via earphones.

Consecutive interpreting

In consecutive interpreting the interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has finished speaking. The speech is divided into segments, and the interpreter sits or stands beside the source-language speaker, listening and taking notes as the speech progresses. When the speaker pauses the interpreter speaks the entire message segment in the target language. Occasionally, document sight translation is required of the interpreter during consecutive interpretation. The interpreter must read a source-language document aloud in the target-language as if it were written in the target language. This usually occurs in judicial and medical work.

Whispered interpreting

In whispered interpreting (chuchotage), the interpreter sits or stands next to a small target-language audience whilst whispering a simultaneous interpretation. This method requires no equipment. Chuchotage is used where the majority of a group speaks the source language, and a minority (ideally no more than three persons) do not speak it.

Relay interpreting

Relay interpreting occurs when several languages are the target-language. A source-language interpreter speaks the message in a language common to every interpreter. They then speak the message in their target-language. For example a Russian source message is rendered to English to a group of interpreters, then it is rendered to Arabic, French, and Japanese.

Liaison interpreting

Liaison interpreting involves relaying what is spoken to one, between two, or among many people. This can be done after a short speech, or consecutively, sentence by sentence, or as chuchotage (whispering); aside from note taken then, no equipment is used.

Interpreting specialisations

  • Conference interpreting
  • Legal and court interpreting
  • Focus group (marketing) interpreting
  • Escort interpreting
  • Public sector interpreting
  • Medical interpreting
  • Media interpreting
  • Sign language interpreting

In court interpretation, it is not acceptable that anything is omitted from the source, no matter how fast the source speaks, since accuracy is both essential and mandatory. The alteration of a single word could mislead. Sometimes a team of two or more interpreters will work during a lengthy process, with one interpreting and the other monitoring.

Speaking at an interpreted meeting

If you have to speak at an interpreted meeting it is best to slow your delivery slightly and pause slightly at the end of each paragraph.

Equipment for interpreting

If you are organising a meeting or conference where interpreting will be required you can rent the equipment you need from specialist suppliers. Consult with your interpreter to establish what you will need.