Interpreting techniques


Whispered interpreting
Criteria for selecting an interpreting technique
  • No loss of time
  • Unlimited number of languages
  • Technical equipment required
  • At least 2 simultaneous interpreters (the number of interpreters will depend on the number of language combinations – see table below)
  • No technical equipment required
  • Takes twice as much time
  • Can be used only for two working languages and for a dynamic situation (not appropriate for longer frontal lectures)
  • Usually just into one language, for short events only, 1-2 listeners only, sometimes in combination with consecutive interpreting into the other language
  • May annoy the other participants
Technical equipment
  • Simultaneous interpreting equipment
  • Sound amplifying system
  • Microphones for discussion
  • No technical equipment required
  • For larger audiences sound amplification required
  • No technical equipment required
Other conditions
  • One or more booths in the hall
  • Technicians required throughout the duration of the meeting
  • Place where the interpreter(s) can sit and take notes
  • Appropriate seats for the interpreters
Number of listeners
  • Unlimited
  • Unlimited
  • • Not more than 1 to 2


The number of interpreters depends on the number of languages.

Number of working languages Number of interpreters
2 3 *
3 5 *
4 8
5 10

* For shorter conferences which are not technically demanding or do not require intensive preparation fewer interpreters are needed.

At conferences with unusual language combinations for which the English or German booth serves as relay, it may be necessary to provide more interpreters than indicated in the table to cover all the language combinations.