What is consecutive interpreting?
Consecutive interpreting means a time-delayed, oral transmission of a speech into another language. The interpreter first lets the speaker speak and takes notes before reproducing what has been said in the target language. Consecutive interpreting is particularly suitable for short speeches, negotiations or festive occasions.
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FAQ: More questions about consecutive interpreting
In consecutive interpreting, individual sections of a speech are translated into the target language with a time delay, whereas in simultaneous interpreting the translation takes place in real time, i.e. while the speaker is speaking to his or her audience.
Consecutive interpreting means interpreting that is staggered over time, such as can be observed at festive speeches, discussions or other events. The interpreter first concentrates on listening and takes notes in order to then translate what is said into the target language.
To become a consecutive interpreter, you should have a high level of proficiency in at least two languages. But that is not all: as an interpreter, you should ideally have undergone training at a university or technical academy. As a consecutive interpreter, you should also be proficient in the notation or note-taking technique.
Consecutive interpreters can be a great help, especially at specialised conferences, negotiations and other events with a limited number of participants. If more than two languages are spoken, it is better to use simultaneous translators.
The note-taking technique, also called notation, is used to record the content of a speech in writing so that it can be translated afterwards. The symbols and signs used are highly individualised.
With the note-taking technique, it is the content that counts, not the exact wording. Connecting words such as “but”, “nevertheless” or “therefore” are important, as they provide logical orientation. There is a separate symbol for almost every word. An example is the “smiley”, which stands for various phrases as an expression of joy, greeting or thanksgiving. If it is underlined, the wording is strengthened, for example connected with a “very”. The aim is to create a sign system that is as language-neutral as possible, which is made up of relatively few components and serves as a reminder.