I have been constantly asked by many people what is “live translation” and how is it effective for their meetings and events. Perhaps I can shed some light on this for those who are thinking about engaging this service in the near future.“Live translation” is an obscure term to describe interpretation, a form of translation performed orally by the interpreters live and on the go. By definition, translation is defined as any form of textual conversion from one language to another. It can be in written or oral form. Oral translation, more accurately, is referred to as interpretation to distinguish it from the wider concept of “translation”.Interpreters are also highly sensitive about their title and prefer to be addressed as “interpreters” as opposed to “translators”, so using the right title demonstrates the respect to our profession on the part of the clients who are looking for such services.
Interpretation can be generally classified into two categories: simultaneous interpretation (SI), or consecutive interpretation (CI), both offered “live”. The differences would be:
When hiring a simultaneous or consecutive interpreter, however, the rate is usually the same. There is usually a wrong perception by the clients/consumers that consecutive interpretation rate (for interpreters) should be lower than that of the simultaneous interpretation service. If the total cost is considered, the assumption would be true, but when it comes per interpreter manpower cost, it is never and should never be lower. The public perceives that the entry barrier for consecutive interpretation is much lower so it should be an easier profession and should be paid lower. For professional interpreters, however, it is not necessarily the case. In fact, in most situations, consecutive interpretation is more demanding than simultaneous interpretation, and the working hours are longer (considering one has no partner to take a turn with for a break). Moreover, interpreters can come in the spotlight of audience judgment due to false or ineffective interpretation. Therefore, why would someone want to take up a consecutive interpretation job that demands longer working hours and with higher clientele requirements at a lower pay?When you analyse from the perspective of interpreters, you can understand why we charge at least the same rate for consecutive and simultaneous interpreters.
Further, simultaneous interpretation has other varied forms from the standard booths-console. They include, but not limited to:
Consecutive interpretation also has different names when applied in different scenarios:
For all these occasions, interpreters would charge in the same fashion, as there is no definitive difference in work difficulty that would give a way to a lower charge.Understanding the nuances and differences about “live translation” would allow users to have a more accurate procurement target on what they need for their meetings and events. If you still have questions, you are welcomed to drop me a note or shoot me a quick WhatsApp message here.