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“Simultaneous Translation” is a Wrong Term. Very Wrong!

 

To start with: “simultaneous translation” simply does not exist. Yes, we can see the term often on webpages  and even in newspaper and magazine articles, but a professional interpreter would never use it.

 

 

Businessman pressing touch screen interface training checkbox

A correct term is “simultaneous interpretation.” It refers to the situation when there is minimum gap between the original and the interpretation produced by a professional simultaneous interpreter who works either in a special booth or whispers interpretation into client’s ear. The speaker does not have to make any pauses.

 

Mixing two terms “translation” and “interpretation” is extremely common.

  • translation refers to working with written texts only.
  • interpretation is working with spoken word.

 

“Interpretation” does not imply that the interpreter is less accurate than a translator, it simply means that the text is in spoken form. 

 

Translators and interpreters are two different professions that require very different skills and mechanisms to convert meaning from the source language into the target language. 

 

Simultaneous interpretation services are widely used nowadays at conferences, seminars, various multilingual events. They also require use of specialized equipment: booths, interpreter consoles, microphones, dedicated headsets.