Used widely at international conferences and meetings, this is probably the most well-known kind of interpreting.
The interpreters sit in booths and listen to the speaker in their head-sets and translate simultaneously into a microphone. Provided with their own small head-sets, the participants can listen to the proceedings in a language they understand. A team of simultaneous interpreters always consists of at least two interpreters in each booth. Given the high level of concentration required for the job, interpreters take turns, alternating at intervals of 20-30 minutes.
Simultaneous interpreting involves the use of technical equipment such as soundproof booths, microphones and head-sets, and with this type of interpreting there is no need for interruptions or pauses in the proceedings. This allows the participants to work, voice their opinion, listen to presentations, put questions and make comments in their own language without ever having to think about the involvement of interpreters.
”Is it really true that all the participants were speaking in their own language?
Even the Maltese and the Irish in Gaelic? It didn’t occur to me for one moment while
I was listening to the interpreters”
Statement made by a French delegate at the COSAC meeting in Copenhagen in April 2012