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Interpretation… what exactly is it?

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Congress Rental explains.


The world is fast becoming as small as our backyards, when thinking from a communication point of view. We are now able to tap into various forms of communication to connect with individuals from across the globe! From calling off the conventional landline to skype’ing from your iPod… communication technology is at an all time high! This is a great asset for businesses but one other factor often plays a large role when dealing internationally. That is LANGUAGES. Often it is assumed that all within the business environment can speak English, however this is not always the case, and often individuals can speak English but struggle to put through a point of view as it is not their native tongue. This is where interpretation steps in!


Interpretation can be loosely defined as the verbal translation of what is being said in one language into another language. Please keep in mind that translation is the written form and is a separate field to interpretation.


Interpretation can be in various forms, most commonly: Whispering / Liaison (a derivative of consecutive), Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpretation.


Whispering / Liaison Consecutive Simultaneous
Usually to 1 / 2 individuals only Can be to a group. Often used in judicial courts. Unlimited amount of delegates.
Interpreter sits next to the delegate. All delegates who require interpretation must be able to see interpreter. Interpretation is occurring in an ISO compliant soundproof booth
Interpretation as discussion is occurring Interpretation AFTER a discussion or segment of a discussion has occurred Interpretation as the discussion occurs. Short lag time of a few seconds occurs.
Note taking materials required Note taking materials required. PA system may be required. Sophisticated interpretation equipment is required; i.e. receivers, interpretation desks, CCU’s, transmitters, etc.
ADVANTAGE: Individual attention for delegate; less costly. ADVANTAGE: Interpreter can communicate full understanding of a discussion ADVANTAGE: Instantaneous, non-disruptive communication
DISADVANTAGE: Quite disruptive DISADVANTAGE: Drawn out and time consuming. DISADVANTAGE: More resources required (equipment, staff, etc.)


As you can see the choice of interpretation would be determined by your needs. The most common interpretation used during conferences is Simultaneous Interpretation. Through Simultaneous Interpretation you are able to provide your client with the option of listening to the proceedings in numerous languages at a time.


Key information we require from our clients to provide them with the best Simultaneous Interpretation services, includes:


  • Conference Dates & Conference Name
  • Conference Venue & Dimensions if possible (Floor Plan)
    • Impacts no. Radiators used
    • Space allocation for Booths required
    • Often a site inspection is done
  • Seating style to be used during the conference (e.g. Cinema, U-Shaped, round table, schoolroom)
  • Set Up Time & Date (Contact person at the venue during this time, & contact details)
  • Total Number of Delegates
  • Languages Required (Conference Languages)
    • Channels needed to be offered
    • Amount of interpreters to be hired
  • Microphones needed
  • Recording Required? How many of the languages?


With this information we would be able to draw up an accurate quote for you, within the hour. Congress Rental has been in the industry for over 20 years and can comfortably say that it is the leading Simultaneous Interpretation and conference equipment company in Africa.


In a multi-cultural society, interpretation is a prevalent need that most conferences require but often it gets forgotten or left until the last planning stages. Please keep in mind that, the more your delegates understand of your conference, the more they take home with them, and thus the more successful your event will be.