In-Person Interpreting OPI-Over The Phone Interpreting VRI-Video Remote Interpreting

The Four Types of Interpreting Services

December 5, 2012
conference interpreters

Conference interpreters sitting at a booth

Are you conducting training for your overseas staff? Are you negotiating with an overseas company? Perhaps you’re hosting an international conference? Whether you’re doing one of these or any other activity that involves verbal translation, the interpreter’s role is pivotal. At Interpreters and Translators (iTi), interpreting means verbal translation. Interpreting can be done over the phone, in a meeting or conference setting or face-to-face.

Effective interpreters must quick decide how to best convey both the meaning of the words and the context in which those words are used. Interpreters need a high level of expertise in the subject area, current knowledge of different cultures, and a great deal of experience.  Among the major types of interpreting services are simultaneous, consecutive, over-the-phone interpreting (OPI) and escort.

Simultaneous Interpreting

You find simultaneous interpreting frequently used at large conferences and meetings. It requires the interpreter to “translate” what speakers say as they speak. Thus, the interpreter must listen and speak at the same time. This takes intense concentration. Simultaneous interpreters often work in teams, taking breaks every 30 minutes or so. Simultaneous interpreting generally requires equipment such as microphones, headsets, and in some instances, booths.

Consecutive Interpreting

Consecutive interpreting is the most widely used type of on-site interpreting services. It works best in smaller settings like training workshops, negotiations, and technical seminars.  During consecutive interpreting, the speaker will speak for a few minutes (a few paragraphs), then pause. The interpreter takes notes and then translates the speaker’s message during the pause. The key element in consecutive interpreting is note taking. The interpreter must record ideas and then translate them back into the words of another language without pause.

Over-the-Phone Interpreting

Telephone interpreting (also called OPI or Over-the-Phone Interpretation) can be either simultaneous or consecutive. If the people on the phone call are content to hear only the voice of the interpreter, telephone interpreting can be conducted in a simultaneous mode; otherwise interpreting can be conducted consecutively. However, if the interpreter does not see the speakers and has no access to extra-linguistic clues to the speaker’s meaning and context (like body language and facial expressions), the accuracy of simultaneous telephone interpreting tends to be significantly lower than for consecutive OPI.

Escort Interpreting

Escort interpreters are often assigned to an individual or group. They follow that person or group through a series of activities. You might use escort interpreting if you’re hosting a delegation of visitors from another country. Your escort interpreter might meet your client(s) at the airport, travel to a business meeting with them, take them on a tour, or guide them through a shopping trip. Escort interpreters generally translate informal conversations.


About Interpreters and Translators, Inc.

iTi’s dedicated and experienced team offers a wide range of multilingual solutions for domestic and global corporations in a variety of industries. Do you require translation services to enhance your global marketing and sales initiatives or interpreter services to communicate across languages? We specialize in custom language solutions and work with over 200 languages so regardless of the barrier you face, we will work together in synergy to bridge the gap to ensure success. Please feel free to contact us through a message or by calling 860-362-0812. Our offices are open 24/7/365 so we can respond immediately to your interpreting or translation needs anytime, anywhere.


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