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Consecutive Interpreting

What is Consecutive Interpreting?

Consecutive interpreting is when a speaker pauses to allow an interpreter to repeat what has been said in the target language before continuing. Consecutive interpreting is very popular as it does not require any specialist equipment or complex planning. 

Whilst being considerably cheaper than simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting does not happen in true real-time as the speaker must pause to give the interpreter time to speak. You’ll sometimes hear consecutive interpreting referred to as ‘listen before talk’ interpreting – we think that’s a pretty good name as it describes exactly what happens.

Examples of consecutive interpreting

  • Presentation by the marketing department to international sales team.
  • After dinner speech by head of foreign affiliate addressing English target audience. Consecutive interpreter will listen to the speech and repeat what has just been said in English.

Background information for consecutive interpreters

A good way to approach this is to think of a consecutive interpreter as someone who has just joined your company to start a new job. There will undoubtedly be acronyms, technical terms and politics which will be unfamiliar to them.

Briefing the consecutive interpreter before the assignment begins will lead to a far more satisfactory day for all involved.

Consecutive interpreters will always find it useful if you can provide some background information about the company and its products well ahead of the assignment. Provide drafts of speeches and explain any specialist vocabulary.