What is consecutive interpreting?

Consecutive interpreting, sometimes called followed-translation, happens when it takes turns with the statement of the speaker. In practice, it looks like that the speaker gives a speech even for five minutes (in practice much depends on whether the lecturer has experience in working with a translator and knows when and how often to take breaks) then pauses and the interpreter approaches the microphone.

Consecutive interpreter has to translate the statement of the speaker based on what he remembered   (very important here is short-term memory) and the notes. For this reason consecutive interpreters often use a special system of notes (there is no universal noting system - this is something that every  translator creates for personal use), including mental shortcuts of the speaker, numbers, dates, and other data that requires to be given. The actual text translations rarely corresponds to 100%  of the source content-  the task of the translator in this case is not to make literal translations, but to convey the ideas of the speaker. This also suggests the English name of the profession- "interpreter", i.e. the person who interprets the statement of the speaker and reproduces it in another language. Of course, some elements of expression are fixed and cannot be changed (e.g. dates, numbers, names, places, etc.), but for this the interpreter uses notes.

Where is it used?

Consecutive interpreting is a common practice during small conferences, official speeches and other public appearances with a smaller group of recipients, where the use of simultaneous translation would be unreasonable from a financial point of view (interpretation equipment, two interpreters). In this case the interpreter needs a microphone, a piece of paper, pen and a good memory.


Many people assume that translating sentence by sentence (liaison) is a variant of consecutive interpretation, but in practice it is another type of translation.