To ensure that international conferences with foreign speakers and participants run smoothly, simultaneous interpreting is an indispensable service to allow that the duration of the event is identical to that of a monolingual conference.
Personal and technical conditions
In addition to language proficiency, simultaneous interpretation requires interpreters with a high level of mental and physical fitness as well as a suitable technical background. The latter means a soundproof interpreting booth for each language, two pieces of desktop interpreting equipment with microphone and headphones and a number of headsets for the attendees who are likely to use the service. Typically, at least two interpreters are needed in each language. They usually take turns in translating every 30 minutes – or practically after each presentation.
It is often the case that in an event, essentially held in Hungarian, the presentations need to be translated for only two or three foreign guests, so that they could follow the conference as well. Then whispering simultaneous interpretation without interpreting technology can be the solution.
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In this case, one or two interpreters sit in the back of the room or next to or among the foreign participants, where they don’t disturb the Hungarian audience and translate softly, almost whispering to the up to three foreign-language attendees.
The cost of simultaneous interpretation
In addition to the above, the price of simultaneous translation is largely dependent on the prevalence of the source and target language(s). Interpreting between the most common (Hungarian-English, Hungarian-German) pairs of languages costs less than between two languages other than Hungarian (for example from English into German), but in case of special language combinations it can happen that an intermediary language – thus two extra interpreters – need to be involved: In case of German-Italian, for example, communication can take place probably first from German into Hungarian and then from Hungarian into Italian – this is called relay interpreting.
Thus, if we manage to find a world language (English, German, French) as the second language of a conference, we have already reduced the foreseeable interpretation costs. Simultaneous interpreting for certain events, depending on the expected continuous interpretation need, the length and frequency of the breaks and the possibility of preparation, can be done by a single interpreter, by prior arrangement.
The success of a conference held with simultaneous interpretation depends on – some – cooperation of the organizers and participants with the interpreters and the interpretation provider.