What is Simultaneous/Conference Interpretation?

By Atlas LS

One service request that Atlas Language Services often receives is to provide simultaneous/conference interpretation (often abbreviated as SI) for international conferences or various live events.

Microphone - simultaneous/conference interpretation

What exactly is simultaneous/conference interpretation?

In most situations, simultaneous/conference interpretation occurs when your primary speaker speaks to a large audience.  The speaker uses a microphone to insure his voice is heard well in the auditorium.

The problem is that your audience members may not understand the speaker’s language.  That is where an interpreter comes into the equation.  A professionally trained simultaneous/conference interpreter is highly skilled.  The interpreter listens to the speaker’s source language, mentally interprets the message then verbally provides the audio interpretation.  This process is complex and an interpreter usually takes 2-4 seconds to complete that entire task.

Interpreters commonly are positioned in the back of an auditorium or behind the main room.  A clear view of the speaker and/or presentation material, rather live or via video is mandatory.  This allows the interpreters to focus on the speaker and their topic as well as convey the emotion and energy of the speaker into their interpretation.  The interpreters work as teams switching every 15 – 20 minutes due to mental fatigue.  They sit inside fully encapsulated soundproof booths or in table top booths that are wired to hear the source speaker through a headset.  The interpreter typically speaks into their own microphone, which is then broadcasted wirelessly to audience members that have received wireless headphones.  If multiple languages are required for a particular audience than multiple interpreters will be used.

Real-Time Interpretations

Please note that simultaneous interpretation works for both oral and sign language forms of communication.  All of the interpretation happens in real-time to insure everyone in the audience receives the speaker’s message at the same time and thus providing the maximum message impact and understanding.

Simultaneous interpretation at conferences and live events is a complex process.  At Atlas Language Services, we take the burden off of our customers by putting together the entire simultaneous package from gathering highly trained professional linguists to setting up the sound booths, wireless equipment, and distribution and collection of the equipment to insure your next live event runs without a hitch.  We offer services in Chicago, Crystal Lake, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange, Orlando, San Bernardino, San Diego,  and all across the United States, Canada, Mexico and worldwide.