Common settings for consecutive interpreting

Interpreting is a profession which requires the interpreter to possess important skills, as they must understand and internalise a message before reproducing it with the highest level of precision. At BBLTranslation, we provide interpreting services in all different forms, such as simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting, liaison interpreting and sign-language interpreting.
Today, we are focusing our attention on what is probably the most demanding form of interpreting for the interpreter: consecutive interpreting. We are referring to the process whereby the speaker begins by presenting the original message for around five to ten minutes. During this time, the interpreter must take notes about all the details of the message and at the same time commit to memory some of the concepts or issues relating to the content, whilst also taking into account the tone and intonation of each phrase.

After this, the interpreter reproduces the message in another language, with the ability to maintain a level of accuracy of 90% or more, given that this is a long speech.

Where is consecutive interpreting used?

When considering the different settings where this type of interpreting could take place, we can find various possibilities:

  • Conferences: this is one of the most common settings for consecutive interpreting. In this instance, the speaker gives a long speech, normally covering a topic in-depth, and which often contains technical terms or specific language depending on the subject matter. On these occasions, we need to bear in mind the subject of the conference to determine which professional could best carry out the consecutive interpretation. Without a doubt, an interpreter with greater knowledge of the conference topic will find it easier to internalise the message before later reproducing it.
  • Press conferences: another typical setting for consecutive interpreting is press conferences that take place in front of the media. In these cases, each part of the message to be interpreted is not usually as long as those in conferences, although this will all depend on the type of press conference. In general terms, the first speaker will present a press release that the interpreter will then deliver in another language either as a whole or in parts if the speaker has paused to allow for interpretation. Afterwards, it is usually time for questions from the media, and the interpreter must interpret both the questions and the responses, using briefer communications here than in a conference.
  • Seminars: in a very similar format to conferences, seminars are often equipped with a consecutive interpreting service for other languages. Seminars often have a more theoretical component that is similar to conferences, but also a practical component with more participation from the attendees. In this case, the consecutive interpreting job sometimes combines the most complex aspect of conferences, with long messages to reproduce, with the aspect of press conferences which relates to interpreting questions and interactions between the person delivering the seminar and the participants.

While these are the most common settings for consecutive interpreting services, there are also many other events which could demand this type of interpreter. At BBLTranslation, we take each specific request and client into account when choosing a professional that would suit their needs, also bearing in mind the subject matter and the audience. This is the only way to ensure that the original message is delivered with the highest level of precision that is always required by the client.

In order to provide this service, we have consecutive interpreting expertise in Madrid, Barcelona and other cities across Spain where clients require this type of service. In addition, we have a team of professionals who carry out consecutive interpreting in Milan and London, two large European cities which year after year host a huge number of international events.