Interpretation is an activity based on spoken communication. Interpreters facilitate oral communication among people of different languages and cultures.
There are several kinds of interpretation, including:
- conference interpreting, which is used in a variety of contexts, such as conferences, press conferences, meetings, etc.;
- community interpreting, which is used in community-based settings, particularly to assist in accessing public services;
- court interpreting, which consists of interpreting what is said before the courts.
In the course of their work, interpreters may perform “consecutive” or “simultaneous” interpretation. In consecutive, the interpreter will provide an interpretation after the speaker has finished. In simultaneous, interpreters deliver their message as they are listening to the speaker.
Consecutive interpretation is used more in small groups or when an individual needs the service. Simultaneous interpretation is used at larger gatherings, in which case it is not uncommon to see teams of conference interpreters of various language combinations working at the same time. Simultaneous interpretation is carried out in soundproof booths equipped to enable the interpreters to hear the speaker and for the participants to hear the interpreters.
Interpretation is demanding work, which is why interpreters often work in teams of two or three people who alternate.