CI is mostly used at press conferences, among other situations. But why so? Do you think there is a specific reason for this mode choice, or is it only used because the venue does not have a booth / it would be too expensive to rent the equipment for a one-hour press conference?
There are two more aspects:
1.) There might be situations when the client wants to make sure the interpretation is really correct (e.g. depositions, court proceedings). People not used to checking the quality of simultaneous interpretation find it much easier to check the quality of consecutive interpretation and send bilingual experts to do so.
2.) Clients are often fully aware of the fact that getting a message across in consecutive mode takes twice as long - or looking at it from another angle, you may only have to answer half as many questions during the time available... so sometimes we know we are providing consecutive interpretation because it may be convenient for the organiser to have to allow for more time for interpretation.
Consecutive is also becoming more popular again in Germany. However, these assignments are no longer just the nice and friendly dinner speeches, receptions and opening ceremonies we used to practice as students. In actual fact some of the consecutive assignments tend to be extremely technical and can take several hours or even days!. It is then that I stongly recommend to have two or more interpreters on the job - as we would have for simultaneous interpretation - who take turns of 20 to 30 minutes.
There are also assignments where part of an event is to be interpreted simultaneously for a small group of participants and whenever a member of this group wants to take the floor, consecutive interpretation needs to be provided (hiring 300 headsets - for example - is much more expensive than paying the surcharge for consecutive). I personally find it very hard to switch from simultaneous to consecutive (the other way round - funnily enough - is not a problem for me). I'd be interested to hear whether other colleagues have found the same phenomenon to be true. So for this type of assignment it is also helpful to have at least two interpreters - one for consecutive only and one to two for simultaneous. Again, we have seen such events take several hours without a break! So I think we need to rethink the team strength standards for consecutive.
Hi Lauren - it depends of the country and the client... but yes, very often it's not economically interesting to rent booths for a short event like a press conference. In some cases, wireless ("tour guide style") equipment is used (in French we call them "bidule") - people wear wireless headsets and the interpreter speaks into a microphone in "almost" simultaneous. It's not optimum, you usually sit in a corner with your mike and whisper into it while listening to the "room sound"... meaning you sometimes have trouble hearing what is said, in the overall brouhaha.
Still, it"s becoming fairly common - I work freelance and more and more of my clients (chambers of commerce, sports convention centres, companies) have invested in their own wireless equipment (you can get a set of 50 wireless transmitters and two wireless microphones for about 2 000 Euros, they are not as good as the super-duper Sennheiser EK, but they do the job for a tenth of the price).
Sadly, this also means that booths are going the way of the Dodo and we sometimes have to fight against being forced to use "bidule" over an entire day (or numerous days) simply because the client does not want to pay for the booth.
answered 28 Oct '13, 04:05
Consec might come cheaper than a tour guide system, since you only need one interpreter instead of two.
Advantages, other than financial:
Consecutive is usually more accurate and complete since there is less "tightrope walking" involved: By the time you start your rendition as an interpreter, you already know what the speaker's global message is.
In a Q&A event, the speaker has more time to think of an answer, assuming he or she does understand the source language a bit.
Some might also say that consec in a small groups gives a (better) chance for the interpreter to act as someone who understands cultural differences. Misunderstandings in the room can be spotted easier.