Conference Interpreters or Simultaneous Interpreters work in teams of 2 or 3 for any meeting or function requirement over 90 consecutive minutes. During an everyday event from 8:00 am to 4:00pm, with an one hour lunch and normal breaks, each interpreter works 2.0 – 3.0 hours. Interpreters take turns every 20 minutes or so. In simultaneous Interpretation, translation is executed at the same time and at the identical rate of speech as the speaker. Interpreters listen to the message via headsets and participants listen to the interpreters also via radio frequency.
In Consecutive Interpretation, often called Community Interpreting, the interpreter begins his or her interpretation of a complete message after the speaker has stopped producing the source utterance. At the time that the interpretation is rendered the interpreter is the only individual in the communication environment who is producing a message. A consecutive Interpreter, occupied all day in court, discovery hearing, a plant tour or any added environment, working from 8 to 4, work 6 hours alone and making significantly less money.
Some Interpretation Associations direct their conference interpreter members to interpret in a team of at least 3 interpreters. This would mean Interpreter #1 works 20 minutes ( #2 and #3 are ‘resting’), #2 another 20 minutes ( #1 and #3 are ‘resting’ and then #3 interprets the next 20 minutes ( #1and #2 ‘resting). In every hour the interpreter only works 20 minutes. The daily rate remains the same, however each interpreter only works 2.33 hours – but the client pays for 3 interpreters from 8 to 4.
Language Marketplace does not agree with this and we have provided conference interpreters to over 1000 conference events in teams of two – without a single issue. We have even provided our teams for speaking engagements for our Prime Minister! In the United Nations or the Canadian Parliament bilingual interpreters work in larger teams and each Interpreter is assigned to specific speakers/countries, so it is conventional to have perhaps a team of 5 or more interpreters in any session. But a regular event longer than 90 consecutive minutes will only direct 2 bilingual interpreters.
When more that 1 language pair is required, then you have occasion for additional teams of 2 for every language pairs. Each language pair is located in an individual sound proof booth where ‘relay’ should be used. This type of technology advance helps everyone, as well as saving money for our clients and providing a better interpretation.
Presently in Canada and Europe there is no Standard for Interpretation Services. Although the European Parliament uses ‘Relay’ and 2 interpreters for bi-lingual interpreters – the same way we have served our clients for many years!