In consecutive interpretation, the interpreter waits until the speaker has finished talking before translating his or her words into the target language. The interpreter listens to what the speaker is saying and takes notes in order to provide the translated version of his or her speech once the speaker has finished. No technical equipment is needed.
The speaker will generally pause every few minutes to give the interpreter time to repeat what has just been said. In this way, the speaker can convey a complete idea before the interpreter translates it. This kind of interpretation requires specific mnemonic techniques, experience in public speaking and an excellent command of both the source and target languages.
Consecutive interpretation is usually suitable for situations where there are not too many participants, where it is necessary to translate into only one language and where the duration of the interpretation is not excessive. For example, consecutive interpreting is best for such situations as press conferences, interviews, business meetings and one-to-one negotiations.
Consecutive interpretation has the following advantages:
- No need for technical equipment.
- The exchange is more similar to a normal conversation.
- Participants have more time to reflect on what is being said.
- Only one interpreter is required, although this depends on the duration of the event.
And also the following disadvantages:
- The length of the meeting is doubled because there has to be time for the interpreter to repeat the speaker’s message in full.
- It may be repetitive or less entertaining for the audience.