Communication is key in the world of business. But sometimes, language barriers can create daunting challenges for government agencies and international companies. One of the most efficient methods of communication comes from simultaneous interpretation.
So, what is simultaneous interpretation, and what does it do?
Simply put, simultaneous interpretation occurs while someone else is speaking. The interpreter is providing real time translations to a person or persons, doing their best to accurately portray every word the original speaker is saying. Some find this challenging due to the quick nature of this venture. One needs to provide translations up to the second, while continuing to listen to the speaker and provide an uninterrupted interpretation. This challenge rings truest in cases of extempore simultaneous interpretation, wherein the interpreter does now know the message they will be translating until they hear it.
Whispering simultaneous interpretation is the oldest and most common form of SI. The interpreter keeps their voice low so that the original speaker is not disturbed. The name is slightly misleading, as the interpreter does not usually whisper, as that is difficult to hear and vocally maintain over time. Instead, the translator typically speaks at a low volume. Portable electronic equipment has made this method easier over time, but if those luxuries are not present, this method can accommodate one or two individuals.
The use of electronic devices have helped to bring ease to this process, first coming before the world as part of 1945’s Nuremberg trials. This form of communication came to be known as extempore simultaneous communication. The Nuremberg Trials featured four official languages, and the use of this new technology became vital to the process. The technology was a joint creation from nearly 20 years earlier, and sprung from the minds of American Edward Filene and British engineer Alan Gordon Finlay.
Simultaneous interpretation, while challenging at times, is one of the most effective interpretation methods in existence today. Its seamless flow saves time and effort as opposed to consecutive interpreting, in which the speaker pauses to give the interpreters time to translate.