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Many people do not realize there is a difference between the highly skilled fields of interpreting and translation. While translation is a written conversion between two languages, interpreting is an oral exchange.
When this type of interpreter is being used, a rhythm must be established between the speaker and the interpreter to allow frequent pauses for the interpreter to speak. Some interpreters take notes as the speaker talks; others simply listen and repeat in the target language. Consecutive interpreters do not necessarily have special training. They are often used in court hearings, depositions, interviews, medical appointments and meetings.
Simultaneous interpreters have specialized training that allows them to interpret as the speaker talks, with no need of pauses. This type of interpreting requires very high skills and training. Simultaneous interpreting is used mainly at conferences and on guided tours, often with the use of a headset.
In this form of interpreting, the interpreter remains inconspicuous next to the client, whispering an interpretation of the matter at hand. No equipment is required and it is usually desired in circumstances where there is a small group of people requiring interpretation.
Also referred to as escort interpreting, liaison interpreting is a more involved process. The interpreter typically shadows the client for several hours, or day long in their everyday activities.