Simultaneous Interpretation and Translation: Pros & Cons

Interpreting is the spoken translation of content from one language into another. When there’s a meeting, conference, or live event and the audience needs to understand the speaker right away, simultaneous interpreting is often the best solution.

Simultaneous interpreting is a type of interpreting in which the translation from the source language into the target language occurs in real-time. The interpreter both listens to and interprets the speaker. Simultaneous interpreters typically work in pairs and alternate every 20 to 30 minutes because this requires the highest level of concentration. 

The Pros of Simultaneous Interpreting and Translation

Many event planners/organizers prefer simultaneous interpreting because of the following reasons: 

  • Real-time translation into several languages. Simultaneous interpreters can provide a real-time translation into as many languages as needed with the proper equipment. As a result, regardless of how many languages they speak, all event participants can listen to translations in their native or preferred language.
  • No extension of the event’s duration. There is no translation lag in simultaneous interpreting. As a result, the event lasts the same amount of time as if all participants spoke the same language. This not only saves everyone involved a lot of time, but it also saves a lot of money if the venue is rented on an hourly basis. 
  • Fewer distractions. Interpreters typically work within interpretation booths, which are typically located behind the audience, while participants receive a translation via receivers.

The Cons of Simultaneous Interpreting 

  • For large events, special equipment is a must.  
  • Ideally, the interpreter should be able to see the people who are currently speaking.
  • It can be draining.
  • Distractions can be disastrous.


  • Make sure the interpreters have noise-canceling headphones and that everything is in working order ahead of time. 
  • Place the interpreters in a location where they cannot see the speakers. Interpreters have a “linguistic crystal ball,” and part of their prediction ability is based on body language. 
  • It is best to practice this mode with at least two people who can take turns. 
  • Noise cancellation is extremely important, especially when multiple languages are being spoken. If, instead of a booth, interpreters are placed in a room, please ensure that no one enters or exits the room, especially children. If you put interpreters in a room instead of a booth, please make sure no one goes in and out of the room and that no one is talking behind or near the interpreters.

What Type of Equipment You’ll Need as a Simultaneous Interpreter and Translator?

The type of interpretation equipment you require will be determined by the type of interpretation work you do. If you offer simultaneous translation, you’ll need a booth with interpretation consoles, headsets, mics, and lamps. 

Outside of the booth, the venue will also need to provide a PA system with microphones and speakers, as well as headset receivers for those who want to listen to the translated version of the event. This type of interpretation is usually required in larger business meetings and conferences. 

On the other hand, some forms of interpretation mean you’ll need to interpret while on the move. In these cases, you can use a tour guide system. This kit includes everything you need to interpret on the go: a microphone, interpreting headsets, and a radio transmitter. 

When it comes to translation, a good headset and mic are essential tools if you deliver simultaneous translation remotely. A microphone with noise cancellation is also an excellent investment. 

A good laptop or PC is essential for physical translators’ equipment. A smartphone is a next item on the list of translation tools. It is essential for managing clients on the go. Webcams and translation headsets are also useful items for holding professional video calls with your clients. 

 If you’re looking to print out any necessary documents for your interpretation or translation work, you can learn more about printing options at Walgreens by checking out their frequently asked questions page: Learn more about Print Documents at Walgreens (FAQ). With the right equipment and tools, you can provide high-quality interpretation and translation services for a wide range of clients and events. Whether you’re working in a booth or on the move, investing in high-quality equipment can help ensure that you’re able to provide accurate and effective translations for your clients.

Final Thoughts 

Although this type of interpreting requires intense concentration, the process of listening, understanding, translating, and speaking is only slightly slower than the actual speaker’s sentences. Also, due to the saved time, communication is more immediate, making it easier for listeners to react or follow the speaker.

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