Global Lingo Activate Menu

Interpreting facts and questions

Using Interpreting services can be daunting even if you’ve been working with interpreting for a long time. To help you out a little we’ve put together a collection of frequently asked questions.

The idea is to make interpreting work easily for you. If you can’t find the answer to your question or you’d just like to speak to a human please call us on +44 (0) 20 7870 7100.

What is the difference between a translator and an interpreter?

In the industry, the term translator tends to refer to any written work carried out, i.e. rendering one document into another language. An interpreter always refers to someone who translates orally, e.g. at a conference where there are two or more parties speaking different languages. Just to confuse you, the term “translator” can also sometimes refer to someone translating orally. However “interpreter” never refers to written translation.

What is the difference between simultaneous and consecutive interpretation?

Simultaneous interpreting is the complex and highly skilled task of rendering one spoken language into another and is usually provided at high-end conferences. This is the interpreting format employed by the UN and the EU. Interpreters, working in teams of two per language, listen to the speaker and at the same time provide an interpretation of what has just been said, in real time. The interpreters tend to sit in sound-proof booths out of the way of the main conference proceedings.

Consecutive interpretation is meant for smaller business meetings, interviews and seminars. Less demanding than simultaneous interpreting, the speaker delivers a few sentences and then pauses whilst the interpreter repeats what has just been said in the target language. The interpreter may interpret for the whole group or, as is becoming increasingly common, sit next to an individual and whisper what has just been said. Unlike simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting does not happen in real time. However, as no special equipment is required, it is considerably cheaper than simultaneous interpretation.

How are interpretation jobs priced?

There are several variables. Unless otherwise stated, most interpretation jobs are priced by the day. The language variables, the location of the event, the level of interpreting (i.e. consecutive, whispering or simultaneous) and the complexity of the event can all affect the price. All of this would be discussed with the client in advance of any project undertaking.

Why do interpreters work in pairs? Surely that means I will be paying double?

Simultaneous interpreters often spend no longer than twenty minutes working before taking a break, since the process requires the ability to concentrate for sustained periods and a degree of mental stamina. Hence, it is an industry standard that they work in pairs, and effectively swap over at convenient points throughout the meeting or conference.

Is there any information we can provide to you in advance of the meeting to help the interpreter’s preparation?

Yes, absolutely, the more information the better! The more information about the company and the meeting in question that we can provide to the interpreter in advance of the meeting, the more research they can do with regards to technical terms, speakers, acronyms, etc. Examples of useful prior information include: location (hotel, room size, location of electrical points, etc.); in-house jargon, such as acronyms; speeches or PowerPoint slides to be used; technical terms, such as new products to be launched; and the meeting agenda and attendance lists.

How much equipment is required for an interpretation job, and do you supply this?

Global Lingo supplies all necessary equipment and trained staff to ensure the smooth running of your event. Depending on the level of interpretation and the size of your event, you may require equipment, such as booths, digital microphone systems, and a control unit operated by one of our sound specialists.

Get a
quote today!

Call us and talk to one of our specialists

+44 (0) 20 7870 7100

Or click here to
complete our form

How can we help you?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.