Conference interpreters 2019-05-23T09:46:50+00:00

Conference interpreter

What is a conference interpreter?

A conference interpreter provides interpreting services during conferences. It sound logical enough, but we would like to explain why this specialism exists in the first place.

Conference interpreting is specialised work, because it can be quite demanding. It requires a great deal of experience, knowledge, preparation and an excellent ability to concentrate. That’s why conference interpreters are often solely brought in for important events.

So what kind of events are we talking about? These are usually large-scale, multilingual events. A few examples:

  • international conferences
  • international business conferences, for example if a company is active in one or more multilingual markets
  • international political negotiations with representatives from all over the world

Experienced simultaneous interpreters

In 95% of cases, interpreters provide simultaneous interpreting (the remaining 5% is whispered or consecutive). ). A simultaneous interpreter interprets while the speaker speaks. The has a major advantage: the conference does not have to be interrupted to render the translation one language at a time. You can imagine how this would cause delays that have not been taken into account in the programme. Due to the demanding nature of the work, conference interpreters work in pairs. Two interpreters are used for each language combination.

Materials and equipment

A conference interpreter needs materials and equipment:

  • an interpreting booth to be able to work with the highest degree of concentration, without disturbing those attending the conference
  • headphones to convey the translation
  • a whisper set (if the occasion calls for it)


A conference interpreter is an experienced simultaneous interpreter. It’s a huge challenge to have to work in the heat of the moment; thinking and speaking at the same time isn’t something a lot of people can do. For this reason, thorough preparation is crucial, and it’s always a good idea to send the following items to the interpreter:

  • the day’s programme
  • speakers’ presentations
  • a list of acronyms, abbreviations and terminology
  • as much background information as possible
  • a floor plan so that logistics run smoothly. For example, it’s difficult to set up a interpreting booth in a location where no cable connections are possible or where there’s a lack of space. What’s more, the interpreters need to be able to see the speaker or speakers.

We would be happy to assist you, and we will ensure that the interpreter receives all the information. This way you can be sure the event will come off without a hitch.

Need a simultaneous interpreter at your conference? Or do you need a consecutive interpreter instead? Contact us for more information now!