Consecutive interpreting

Consecutive interpreting

How consecutive interpreting works ?

Consecutive interpreting refers to the most complex and intellectually challenging exercise, provided that it is carried out rigorously and according to the rules, which means, the interpreter listens and takes notes of the speech delivered by a speaker and translates the speech in front of an audience when the speaker pauses.


The interpreter uses a note-taking method which has nothing in common with the stenographic technique based on conventional signs. As we used to say: "shorthand is too long for interpretation". Consecutive interpreting is used to transpose the meaning into the target language , to convey ideas while respecting the original message. 


To succeed in the consecutive interpreting exercise, good language skills and wide-ranging general knowledge are fundamental. The interpreter must have a great capacity for analysis and synthesis and a perfect command of the highly personal note-taking technique. 

Advantages of consecutive interpreting:

  1. The speaker can speak without too often pausing, which can distract both the speaker and the audience.
  2. It doesn't require special equipment.
  3.  The interpreter works alone and may be equipped with a microphone if the number of participants so requires.

Disadvantages of consecutive interpreting:

The interpreter waits for the speaker to finish the speech before translating what was just said. Because it is a talk and pause method, the interpretation takes longer than simultaneous interpreting and is tedious for the audience, as it significantly extends the duration of the event.

Some advice before opting for consecutive interpreting:

Consecutive interpreting

In order to guarantee a quality service, we recommend you to follow some criteria:

  • dealing with professionals
  • create optimal conditions for the performance of the service by providing all reference materials and thus enabling the interpreter to prepare his performance in the best possible way
  • do not forget that the success of your event depends on the quality of the service and therefore on the quality of the service provider.

Indeed, the interpreter is at the heart of exchanges between counterparts from different cultures, and its role is to make disappear any linguistic and cultural barrier with tact and elegance, to give priority to communication and understanding.