Simultaneous interpretation services require significant preparation when compared with consecutive or over-the-phone interpretation. The reason behind this is mainly because simultaneous interpretation services are catered for a large number of audiences therefore planning for such events could be both demanding and time consuming. Secondly, simultaneous interpretation is real-time interpretation which requires both sound system (A/V equipment support) as well sound proof booth for the interpreters therefore the amount of preparation required for setting up simultaneous interpretation is definitely more as compared to any other form of interpretation. The other most important element is the headsets for the audience which needs to be connected with the live feed coming from the interpreter’s microphone in order to listen to the interpretation. Keeping in view of the above complexities, organisations requiring simultaneous interpretation services usually outsource this to a professional translation company to manage the deployment and operations from start till the end. 

Most important factors when scheduling simultaneous interpretation  services

The process of scheduling simultaneous interpretation services starts when organisations determine their exact requirements. In some set ups, organisations might prefer consecutive interpretation over simultaneous interpretation. Once it’s determined that simultaneous interpretation is required along with the language pair, the most important element is to line up experienced interpreters to do the job. Simultaneous interpretation is both demanding and a tedious task therefore two interpreters are required to work in a pair to ensure seamless flow of interpretation for the audience. It is of utmost importance that both interpreters providing simultaneous interpretation are highly experienced in this format and have previous experience working in similar set up. Secondly, the topic in which interpretation is required is something interpreters should be familiar with. As mentioned above, simultaneous interpretation requires extensive preparation and the interpreters have to get themselves familiar with the topic of discussion. For instance, a medical conference or a global medical congress would require interpreters with medical background whereas a global event like World Economic Forum would require interpreters with economic, political and financial background. It is sole responsibility of a translation company to ensure that the interpreters selected for the event are right for the job and have required experience to cover that particular event.  It is a standard practice to share reference material or any other material relevant to the event that can help interpreters prepare for their job.

Once the interpreters have been selected, we move on to the other most important element of the project which involves handling the technical aspect of the project. Simultaneous interpretation requires a number of technical elements which include setting up a sound proof booth for the interpreters, setting up A/V system as well as providing headsets to the audience and ensure that the live feed can be heard on headsets with option of different languages to be selected from the equipment. In brief, it is essential to hire a technical company that knows exactly how to set up all the right equipment that are required to facilitate the process of simultaneous interpretation. 

Challenges encountered during simultaneous interpretation

A lot of planning goes into scheduling simultaneous interpretation and there are a number of hurdles that can come along while companies look into making arrangements that involves providing simultaneous interpretation. 

1. Finding the right interpreters and their availability

Simultaneous interpreters are usually booked well in advance and finding the experienced interpreters could be challenging at times. While clients may have last minute requests to book interpreters for an event, it is always a challenge to find experienced interpreters and work around their availability. To avoid this, it is advisable to book interpreters in advance. 


2. Technical difficulties with the sound equipment or the headsets

As mentioned earlier, simultaneous interpretation depends on the technical set up such setting up sound system, sound proof booth for the interpreters and the successful reception of the audio feed coming directly into the headsets of the audience. Any technical glitch can cause the entire process to cripple resulting in technical difficulties. 

3. Lack of preparation material for the interpreters

Preparation is essential for interpreters before they are asked to work on any project and for that to happen, interpreters require preparation material to have a clear understanding of the topic being discussed. In ideal circumstances, clients provide majority of reference material to the interpreters such as reports, speeches and presentations to prepare and get familiar with the topic of discussion. Lack of preparation is a common issue where clients often fail to provide reference material hence leaving interpreters in a challenging situation. 


It’s without a doubt that simultaneous interpretation requires great amount of planning that needs to be put in by the translation company and there are numerous challenges that are frequently faced when providing this service however with intensive planning and working with a reliable provider for interpretation services, these challenges can be eliminated. It’s always recommended to work with an organisation that has extensive experience handling and delivering successful simultaneous interpretation solutions and is flexible to cater all your requirements in a best possible manner.