Simultaneous Interpretation Series Part 3 of 6: Don’t Get Tripped Up! Things to Remember During a Simultaneous Interpretation Assignment

Speakers, for any occasion and regardless of the audience size, will prepare their presentation beforehand. People just like feeling ready for things, especially when others may ask unexpected questions. Presenters may have notes to refer back to as they speak in order to remind themselves of important points to cover, or they may have a reminder to bring up a certain point at a specific time during the presentation. Although it can be helpful to memorize what you’ll say, it never hurts to plan for being overly nervous, or to write down a few different responses to particularly difficult questions which people may ask at the presentation’s end.

As a simultaneous interpreter, it makes sense to invest in a similar level of preparation. Although a simultaneous interpreter does not directly give the presentation, there is little real difference. Because interpreters are transmitters of both language and culture, preparation is also very important. Here are a few things to remember:

  • A simultaneous interpreter should prepare for the event by speaking with the presenter beforehand, if at all possible.
  • The interpreter should also receive a copy of the presentation, if it is available. The interpreter should be just as prepared as the original speaker.
  • The interpreter should research and be familiar with vocabulary before the assignment begins. He or she could study relevant vocabulary, listen to similar past presentations given by others, read up on the topic, and place him or herself in the role of an audience member who may ask questions.
  • If a written copy of the presentation isn’t available and there is no time to speak with the presenter beforehand, the interpreter should at least know as many particulars of the presentation as possible and should prepare accordingly.

Simultaneous interpreters should be able to adapt to a variety of situations. They should be equally prepared if a written copy of the presentation is not available or if time to speak with the presenter beforehand is not provided. Interpreters are a bridge between the original speaker and his or her international audience, and it is important to make sure they are prepared for any eventuality. Communication gaps exist because of a lack of linguistic and cultural knowledge, so the interpreter must be both willing and capable of faithfully conveying these meanings.

How do you prepare for a simultaneous interpretation assignment? Let us know in the comments below!



    Nisar, the dynamic force behind Translation Excellence, stands tall as its founder and CEO. This isn’t just any company—it’s a global heavyweight in boutique language services. Hailing from the vibrant city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Nisar brought his passion and expertise to the U.S. shores in 2001. In the realm of languages, he’s a titan. With 19 years under his belt, he’s worn hats from a linguist and instructor to a cultural bridge-builder and curriculum craftsman.

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