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What is the meaning of Simultaneous Interpretation?

Simultaneous interpretation is a common linguistic practice. In simultaneous interpretation, the speaker delivers his message/speech in his own language; the interpreter orally translates this running speech of the speaker in to target language.

What differentiates simultaneous interpretation from consecutive interpretation is the flow. While in consecutive interpretation the speaker first delivers his speech while the interpreter awaits his turn to translate; in simultaneous interpretation the speaker continuously speaks, in a spoken language and the interpreter constantly delivers the speech into target language. Simultaneous interpretation works best in situations/ set ups where the continuity and flow are of prime importance. Thereby, it is a more effective style of conferencing. In simultaneous interpretation, there is little or no gap between what the speaker is saying in the source language and what is simultaneously interpreted into target language.

The major advantages of simultaneous interpretation over other forms of interpretation are:-
  1. Increased effectiveness in communication at international events in which multiple languages are used.
  2. Significant savings of time and money primarily because the event proceeds at its own pace regardless of the speaker’s delivery.
  3. Increased flow of communication as the participants can hear the speech in the original language without interruption or break in the flow while they are waiting for translation.
  4. The most important fact is that there is no break in thought. When we are speaking continuously over a subject, there is continuity in thought process. The speaker completes his speech/ message quickly, as compared to giving pauses during his speech, for interpretation.  Almost half the time is saved in this process.

Simultaneous interpretation is a very challenging process if the interpreter comes without decent experience and expertise. In order to master this art, the following key factors need to be taken into account:-

  1. Listen to what the speaker is saying
  2. Translate it in your mind
  3. Render the translation into the  microphone
  4. At the same time, listen to what is being said while he is speaking himself
  5. Be very attentive and alert
  6. Inculcate a very sound grasping power
  7. Acquire decent language experience of both the languages—source language and target language
  8. Have a decent subject knowledge
  9. Study the background or be prepared on the subject of the meeting / conference.

The interpreter has to gain the experience in the field of interpretation at different levels and he has to concentrate at every level. The success / failure of any meeting, negotiationArticle Search, agreement etc. very much depends upon the efficiency and accuracy of the interpreter. There are no second chances in this field.

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Article written by Mr. Ram Kesarwani, Director of Translation India - offers translation equipment and tour guide system for industrial visits from India.

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