Consecutive interpreting: what it is, keys and examples in which it is applied

We refer to consecutive interpreting when the interpreter acts as the link between the speakers by translating the message almost immediately. Professionals of this type of interpreting have specific features that, alongside a proper work system, make them specially suitable for the job.

Knowing which type of interpreting is best in each situation, is important for the translation to be a success.

Keys and methodology of consecutive interpreting

In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter is next to the speaker of the source language and starts speaking when the speaker is finished or pauses. The length of the fragments is agreed on beforehand so the speaker stops the message and the interpreter can carry out the job. The following are its specific keys and methodology.


Given this type or interpreting has no technological support, it is essential that the interpreter possesses a set of features that make them specially capable of the job. Among which are the following:


  • Thorough knowledge of the source and target languages. The consecutive interpreter transmits the content with the expressions, meaning and tone that the speaker has given to the message. This type of interpreting is the most similar to the original meaning of the Latin word /interpretatio/ in terms of representation. A good consecutive interpreter acts as the speaker’s replica.


  • A clear voice and perfect diction. Detailed interpreting is useless if oral transmission is unclear.


  • It is one of the most important keys to obtaining an agile and natural result.


  • High memory capacity. Even though the interpreter may take notes, they must have a good memory that allows them to remember the fragments to be interpreted along with all their nuances.


  • Ability to concentrate. The interpreter must have a long attention span while listening to the message, forgetting about any distraction and noise.



Besides the inherent characteristics of the interpreter, they use a personalized methodology which is a support during the task:


  • Previous preparation. It is particularly useful when interpreting very specific content which uses its own terminology.


  • Use of notes and symbols. The interpreter takes notes and uses their own ability and symbols which will allow gathering all the words without losing the context and meaning of the message.


This planning, alongside the interpreters ability, will help obtain a precise, natural and fluent result.

In which cases is consecutive interpreting recommended?

There are many instances in which this type of interpreting is the most appropriate. Here are some of the most common situations:


  • Press releases and interviews


  • Presentations


  • International meetings and business negotiations


  • Speeches and statements


  • Training and courses for managers and workers of a company



  • Negotiations


  • International political events


Whether it is consecutive interpreting or another type of interpreting you may need, counting on a professional interpreting agency gives you the chance to choose the most appropriate service for each situation.

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