Fluistertolken 2019-05-08T18:47:47+00:00

What is whispered interpreting?

Read more about the pros and cons of whispered interpreting

What is whispered interpreting?

The name says it all: a whispering interpreter whispers. That’s why a whispering interpreter sits next to the person who needs help understanding what is being said. This is the only way the whispering interpreter can whisper the translation in the recipient’s ear. This is done so softly that it hardly causes problems for others.

Small group

It should be obvious: whispered interpreting is a suitable interpreting method for small groups. In large groups, the whispering quickly becomes difficult to understand, and it can be perceived as disruptive to others present. Situations where a whispering interpreter is a good option include:

  • business negotiations
  • small meetings
  • short presentations
  • international company visits

In other words, situations involving a small group. What’s more, it often involves brief meetings of up to 90 minutes, unless you take some breaks.

The whispering interpreter interprets for a maximum of two persons simultaneously. If there’s whispering occurring in multiple places during a meeting, you can imagine this would make the meeting rather chaotic. And the persons for whom the interpreting is provided are unable to actively participate in the conversation. If you want people to be able to actively participate in the conversation, we would like to refer you to a consecutive interpreter..

All the whispering makes it a rather personal and informal method of interpreting. That’s why it’s important you feel at ease with your interpreter.

Whispered interpreting is intensive work

A whispering interpreter has to have a considerable capacity for concentration. Whispered interpreting is actually a form of , , where the interpreter interprets while the speaker speaks. This means a whispering interpreter has to listen, translate and speak all at the same time, while this takes place in an open space where there are significant distractions. Advantage: there’s no time lag in the meeting or presentation.

Because of the intensive nature of whispered interpreting, it is extremely important that the whispering interpreter has knowledge of the subject at hand. If he or she lacks this knowledge, this can lead to delay and incomplete information. In addition to the right knowledge, proper preparation is crucial. It is strongly recommended to forward relevant material in advance so that the interpreter can learn about the topic being discussed in more detail.

Whisper set

A whispering interpreter doesn’t need any equipment. A good pair of ears and a clear voice will go a long way for a whispering interpreter. . But in some situations, such as a tour, a whispering interpreter uses a whisper set. This is a headset the interpreter uses to transmit (speak) and receive (listen). Participants hear the translation through headphones.


  • no time lag
  • no equipment required
  • personal


  • in some cases it can be disruptive for other listeners
  • doesn’t work for large groups
  • intensive

Need a whispering interpreter? With or without a whisper set? Contact us for more information now!