Often invisible, yet still present during important political, scientific, sport and cultural events. An interpreter needs to boast a few key characteristics, such as nerves of steel and broad knowledge about the world. And, obviously, a perfect command of at least two languages is a must. Simultaneous interpreter: what kind of a job is it? How does their work differ from the tasks of consecutive interpreters? It’s time to bust a few myths.


In general, there are two types of interpretation: consecutive and simultaneous. During consecutive interpreting, the interpretation is performed once the speaker has finished speaking. The interpreter has some priceless time to make notes and write down some numbers, names and surnames, as well as create bullet points featuring most important issues brought up during the speech. There’s one big disadvantage that comes with this solution – it significantly elongates the speech. This issue can be solved by a simultaneous interpreter who interprets the speech in a special booth, precisely at the same time. The message is relayed to the audience via headphones, making it possible to translate the speech into multiple languages without losing time.

A “concabin” and simultaneous interpreter: what kind of an original duo is this?

Unfortunately, this type of interpreting comes with a significant mental burden. Usually it is recommended to take a break after no more than 30 minutes of uninterrupted interpreting, although this may vary depending on numerous factors. That is why interpreters need to share a booth with a person called a “concabin”. A “concabin” is another interpreter working within the same language pair, assisting the person interpreting, who might help them by writing down important information or searching for helpful terms. Upon noticing first signs of fatigue or feeling unwell in the interpreter, it is their “concabin” who takes over their job.

Simultaneous interpreter – is it worth investing in their services?

While hiring a simultaneous translator might be more costly than settling for a consecutive one, it’s worth to take a look at the overall specificity of the job, set of skills required to perform the job and the professionals’ engagement in the task entrusted to them. Without a doubt, it’s worth every penny. It’s a perfect solution for communication issues, not only when organising large, international events, but also for companies helping business partners from abroad. Simultaneous interpreting is also used during the European Parliament sessions.

How to use the services of a simultaneous interpreter?

The easiest way to contact a competent specialist is reaching out to a translation agency that has an extensive network of interpreters working within various language combinations. Alingua Translation Agency will prepare a personalised offer and a quotation for you – please contact us via the form or e-mail at biuro@alingua.pl.