Interpreting 101: Understanding "Simultaneous" Interpretation


Simultaneous interpreting is both a mentally and physically taxing task. People do not realize that an interpreter uses at least 22 complex cognitive skills while interpreting. It requires a high degree of concentration to listen, then understand, analyze and finally express the ideas coherently in another language, while still listening to what is being said next!

Research has shown that after 30 minutes, the accuracy and completeness of simultaneous interpreters decrease precipitously. The human mind cannot hold the needed level of focused concentration much longer than that.

This is an important insight, since many interpreters, fearful of not getting work or being perceived as unqualified, will work alone for extended periods of time. Consequently, interpreters are not able to correct themselves, since their ability to recognize errors is also impaired.

Professional interpreters take turns so that they have time to recover both mentally and physically. This is also done for the protection of the clients, in order to preserve the accuracy of what is being said.

Still, there are times when one hour jobs –or occasionally even longer jobs- can be done by one person. It will depend on multiple factors, such as: the number of speakers, the complexity of the subject matter, the setting, the audience, the agenda and the speed and duration of the event.

When you're ready, Syntes can provide all the necessary interpretation services for you.

Contact us for more information.

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