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The Protocol of Consecutive Interpreting

In Blogby Rafael Morel

Because today’s technology provides many options for simultaneous translation, this method has largely displaced consecutive interpretation. Still, consecutive interpretation may provide for a more accurate translation when the subject matter is highly technical. Consecutive interpretation may also be preferred when conducting guided tours or when working with a small, informal group.

If you have chosen this method of translation, it is important to understand how the procedure works. As the event planner, it will be your job to see that presenters understand the protocol of consecutive interpreting and that the interpreter is provided with the necessary tools and information to deliver the best possible work. Business interpretation services can help you.

Before the Event

When selecting the locale for your event, keep in mind that the interpreter will want to sit near the speaker during each presentation. Because consecutive interpretation involves translation of relatively long tracts, the interpreter will need to take written notes. Be sure that seating is arranged to provide room for written work. A lectern may be appreciated as well.

For the best possible results, provide your translation team with documentation before the event. This might include:

  • Speaker biographies and written speeches, wherever possible.
  • Copies of any power point presentations, slide shows, etc. for which translation is needed.
  • Background information on the organization and the event, including any key technical terms for which the translation must be precise.
  • The event agenda and specific details about when interpretive services will be required, and in what setting. If you plan to set up interpreting equipment, it’s a good idea to provide your interpreter a list of the specific equipment that will be used at the event.
Protocol for Presenters

Most of the work will be done by your interpreter, whose job is to render a faithful translation of the presenter’s speech with as little disruption as possible. It is a good idea, however, to encourage speakers to submit written speeches or outlines in advance of the event.

The event planner should assign one person who will act as a liaison for the interpreter. This person can explain to speakers how the interpretation will be carried out. This liaison can remind speakers to stop periodically while presenting to allow for the interpretation of a paragraph or two. If this makes the speech too choppy, it is best for the speaker to stop at a logical point; a skillful professional can accurately translate ten minutes of speech at a stretch. Your liaison should also be sure to provide the interpreter with any last-minute updates, hand-outs that were not included in the pre-event documentation, etc.

Protocol for All Guests

Where equipment is used to assist the interpretation team, smart phones and other devices may interfere with information relay. It is best to seat guests well away from microphones, or to ask guests to turn electronics off during presentations. Although this is more of a concern for simultaneous translation, it is a point to remember with consecutive interpretation as well.

Contact us today to receive a quote. Find out more about protocol of consecutive interpreting by downloading our free How to Choose the Right Translation Services for Your Event eBook today.