Consecutive interpretation and some conference interpreters.
April 10, 2012 § 11 Comments
I have always known throughout my professional career that some of my colleagues in the conference interpreting field do not like consecutive interpretation. I have listened to speeches about all the meaning that is lost when we use consecutive, I have sat through endless conversations about how the true conference interpreter only does simultaneous work, and I have heard many colleagues refer to consecutive interpretation as a lesser mode used by court and medical interpreters.
Unfortunately, I have also listened to some of their consecutive renditions. I want to be clear about something: I love conference interpreting; I firmly believe that it is the most complex and demanding field of our profession, and I know that most of my conference interpreter colleagues are the best in their countries and fields of specialization. Nobody gets to be a conference interpreter by accident.
However, there are situations in the real world that require of fast-thinking and improvising. I cannot remember all the times when after being hired as a conference interpreter to work in the booth, I have been asked to interpret a press conference, or I have been asked to interpret while the dignitaries are given a tour of a facility, or a foreign guest requested that I approach so she can tell something to the host before an event. All these situations require consecutive interpretation, and they are essential to the success of the conference or event. I have found my start in court interpreting, and my continuous work in the courts, even if these days it has been brief, to be an incredibly useful asset for this type of work.
With the advent of “consecutaneous” interpretation (the new mode used in many courts where the questions to a witness are simultaneously interpreted and only the answers are rendered consecutively) some court interpreters now tend to ignore the consecutive mode as they consider it obsolete and inaccurate. In my opinion, we should always try to practice and use consecutive interpretation as we never know when we will really need to use it, even in an interpretation field where we rarely need to. Please let me know what you think.