Conferences and similar events can provide linguistic accessibility to a diverse audience via interpretation, which can be consecutive or simultaneous, and, with the recent expansion of the use of RSI, can even take place at a distance from the speaker, the audience, or both.
One traditional approach to conference interpretation is consecutive interpretation. Consecutive interpretation is a service that involves the speaker speaking a message in the source language, while the conference interpreters take notes. This is followed by a pause during which the interpreter speaks the message in the target language. This can work well when active participation by the audience is not critical or time-sensitive, and it may allow the interpreter to more accurately render small nuances in the speaker’s language, for example.
By contrast, simultaneous interpretation occurs at the same time that the source language speaker is speaking, often through a headset worn by the speakers of the target language. It focuses on conveying the speaker’s meaning to the audience, so quickly that it is almost as though the speaker is speaking the target language. This has the benefit of avoiding a pause before some of the audience understands what was said. This could make a big difference, for example, in avoiding an awkward silence when the speaker says something intended to provoke a strong emotion, such as awe or laughter.
Simultaneous interpretation can also make it easier for audience members to share their ideas with the speaker in a collaborative environment. For a conference where the exchange of information must take place at the speed of thought, simultaneous interpretation is often the best option. However, for traditional simultaneous interpretation, the speaker, the interpreter, and the audience tend to be in the same physical location. Remote Simultaneous Interpretation opens up the possibility of receiving the benefits of simultaneous interpretation at a distance.