Consecutieftolk 2019-05-08T18:49:18+00:00

What is consecutive interpreting?

Read more about the pros and cons of consecutive interpreting

For interpreting, consecutive means thatthe translation follows the spoken text. To put it another way, the speaker pauses after a single or a few sentences, giving the interpreter time to translate what was just said. This means you have to insert many pauses when speaking, but this has the benefit of giving you an extremely accurate translation.

What’s the group size?

While a consecutive interpreter is effective in small groups, this kind of interpreting can serve larger groups than whispering interpreting. Situations where a consecutive interpreter is useful include:

  • Meetings of an extremely technical nature
  • Small-scale training sessions
  • One-on-one meetings

As said before, you have to allow for a lot of pauses during a meeting or training session. And you can guess what this means: the training session or meeting takes twice as long. This isn’t a serious impediment, and you can easily make allowances for it by scheduling extra time, but you should make sure participants are aware of this. One major advantage of all these pauses is that they provide an opportunity to properly explain things in detail whenever that’s necessary. Another benefit is that with all the pauses, one interpreter is usually enough to get the job done.

What kind of equipment do you need?

Consecutive interpreters have few issues when it comes to the equipment they need. For short messages the interpreter can simply rely on his/her own reliable memory. To get a longer message across, the consecutive interpreter uses notes made on paper, which can be referred to later. Thanks to these notes, the interpreter can provide an extremely accurate translation. Was something unclear or did you miss something? You can simply ask for the translation.

Does this appeal to you? You’re not alone. Consecutive interpreting is a popular interpreting method. Since you don’t need any materials, you have a high degree of flexibility. There’s no place you can think of where it would be impossible to use a consecutive interpreter. What’s more, the costs are lower than you’d expect because you only need a reliable memory and some paper.


Thorough preparation is crucial when it comes to consecutive interpreting. You can think of an interpreter as a ‘new employee’ who’s not yet familiar with all of the organisation’s unique and specific terminology. You can help the interpreter prepare by providing a briefing and explaining specialist vocabulary. This way, you get the maximum benefit from the interpreting service when it’s used.


  • No equipment required
  • High degree of accuracy
  • Low costs


  • Time lag
  • Not effective for large groups
  • Requires preparatory work

Need a consecutive interpreter? With or without equipment? Contact us for more information now!