Simultaneous interpreting

Interpreters transfer the speaker’s words into the other language in real-time.

Simultaneous means at the same time and interpreters transfer the speaker’s words into the other language almost in real-time. They are seated in soundproof booths equipped with an interpreter desk and headphones. The audience is supplied with cordless receivers and headsets, which allow them to listen to the interpretation. This interpreting technique is known from international conferences, the European Parliament and from TV. Simultaneous interpretation requires utmost concentration, therefore interpreters work in teams of at least two and alternate every 20 to 30 minutes.


Special forms of simultaneous interpreting are interpreting with a tour-guide system and chuchotage (whispering) without technical equipment.


Tour-guide systems can be used mobilely where it is not possible to set up an interpreter booth, e.g. for factory site tours.


Chuchotage, also known as whispering, is suitable for only one or a maximum of two persons. The interpreter is seated directly next to the client and “whispers into their ear”.


In both cases interpreters have to work under very difficult acoustic conditions (no soundproof booth, background noises) and this strains their voice. Therefore, these modes of interpreting are only suitable for short assignments.