Language Interpretation is quite a recent profession. Consecutive interpretation became popularised in the 20th century, when it’s utility became recognised from its use in the signing of the Treaty of Versailles at the conclusion of the First World War. Before then, French had been the language of choice for diplomacy, but after the war the importance of English grew. As a result, it was necessary in these high profile meetings to have interpretations between English and French. In the period between World War One and World War Two, a team of interpreters was created to work in the English-French language pair at the UN.

Simultaneous interpretation was first used in the Nuremberg Trials after World War Two. Following the success of this important historical event’s interpretation services, the UN then heightened its interest. Consecutive interpretation, which had been used frequently, consumed too much time in the process. In spite of the reluctance that came with this new modality, simultaneous interpretation slowly gained influence until it converted itself into the most widely used technique of interpretation in the world today.

Contrary to what the name suggests, simultaneous interpretation is not actually done simultaneously. There must always be a pause between the speaker’s words and the interpreter’s translation, since the latter must analyze, process, and translate the idea. All of this takes place in a matter of seconds! According to studies, the maximum number of words that the human mind can retain at one time is 9 or 10; the interpreter must therefore speak with a difference of only about 3 or 4 words so as to not lose the main concept of the speech or omit essential information to the audience.

It is a difficult job which requires high profile professionals performing only to the highest level. If you need a good interpreter, SanTranslate will provide – visit our Interpreting service section.

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