Consecutive interpreting


Consecutive interpreting is one of the two main types of conference interpreting. In a nutshell, it consists in interpreting an utterance after it is finished.



A direct contact with the speaker is one of its main advantages. In case the interpreter has doubts, he or she can ask the speaker to repeat a certain part of the speech or to precise what was not clear. Moreover, the interpreter has more time to make good decisions, which results in a better quality of his or her work.


From the point of view of the listeners, in most cases consecutive interpreting is usually less convenient that simultaneous interpreting for a few reasons. The first reason is time. If the speaker intends to take the floor for ten minutes, it will actually take about twice as much time because of the interpreting. Second of all, if some listeners do not require interpretation, they will still have to listen to it and in consequence they might be less focused on the whole speech.


A very important skill in consecutive interpreting is taking notes. It depends of the length of the speech whether it is necessary to take them, however every time interpreters are supposed to have a notebook and a pen. In contrast to what one might think, interpreters write down very little information. They do it in a condensed way using symbols, simple pictures, arrows, numbers etc. The goal of note taking is not to write down as much as possible. They help the interpreter to ensure better fluency and completedness during the delivery.