Other types of interpreting
Interpreting between two languages with the mediation of a third language.
When a participant at an event speaks in a language that is not covered by an interpreter in an active language booth, this booth can “connect” (audio link) to another booth that does cover this language and “take the relay” of that. The interpreter works via another language without a perceptible loss of quality.
Interpreting from a native language into a foreign language.
Normally, interpreters work into their native language. Some interpreters know a second language well enough to be able to work into that language from their native language. This is called “retour” interpreting. The French word for “return” is universally employed.
A small number of interpreters know their second active language so well that they are able to work into that language from their native languages. These interpreters are said to be able to work in two booths. Retour interpreting is used to provide relays out of less well-known languages into more widespread languages.
All speakers in a meeting speak in their native language, but listen to interpretations in only a few languages.
In many cases, participants of a meeting understand one or more widely spoken languages, but have difficulty or are not comfortable speaking in it. One way to make a scarce resource (interpreters) go further is to use asymmetric interpretation. For asymmetric interpreting to be feasible, it must be certain that the meeting participants understand one or more of the active language.
Whispered simultaneous interpreting.
The interpreter is seated or standing among the participants of the meeting and interprets simultaneously directly to the participants in a whisper.
Whispered interpretation can be used only if there are very few people involved and they are all sitting or standing close together. It is used mainly in bilateral meetings or in groups where only a few participants do not share a common language.
Whispered interpretation is often used instead of consecutive interpretation to save time. Sometimes, the whispering interpreter will use a headset to get the best possible sound from the original speaker.
One interpreter alternates between two booths at a single event.
A cheval (French for horse) interpreter “sits astride” two booths at an event. Normally, there are at least two interpreters present for each language, but if a simultaneous meeting works in only two languages, you can save one interpreter by employing a cheval, an interpreter who is able to interpret into both languages and who moves between the booths according to need.
Normally, interpreters work into their native language. Some interpreters know a second language well enough to be able to work into that language (second active or “B-language”) from their native language. This is called “retour” interpreting. The French word for return is universally employed. There is only a small number of interpreters who know their second active language well enough to be able to interpret into that language from all the languages in their language combination.
The use of one language for relay interpreting.
If only one or two interpreters have a less widespread language as a passive language, they are considered “pivots” for the other booths that will take relay from them. The French term is universally employed.
Professionals try to avoid using a single pivot (pivot unique) for any language in its team. Sometimes a single language is a pivot language, but covered by two interpreters who both work retour into one language and take turns in the same booth, or by one retour interpreter and one interpreter in the booth of the retour language who can take turns.
When putting together a large team, it is best to provide relay through different language families (German, Romance, Finno-Ugric) to more evenly distribute the work load and to avoid imbalance in the interpretation, which might result if only one relay language or language group is used.