Whisper Interpretation for Small Multilingual Meetings
August 18, 2015
Requirements for a multilingual meeting are typically based on the equipment that's available, the number of languages being spoken, the amount of time allocated and the setting. Most conferences or large business meetings use and interpreter who sits in a soundproof booth. He or she will listen using headphones to the speech being delivered in a floor language and immediately interpret the speaker's message into another language using a microphone. Targeted attendees receive a simultaneous interpretation of the message through headphones. Since simultaneous interpretation requires a considerable amount of concentration to analyze what is being said, multiple interpreters are used in shifts.
So what happens when you are hosting a very small meeting with only a couple of spoken languages? It would seem strange indeed to have interpreters in a booth relaying information through headsets to just a few attendees or delegates. This is where "whispered interpretation" (sometimes call chuchotage) is useful. There are no booths, microphones, headphones or simultaneous interpretation equipment needed. Convenient and informal, this whispered interpretation works best where only a couple of languages (not more than 2 or 3) are being used. The interpreter actually sits or walks beside a foreign-speaking attendee and whispers the interpreted message into his or her ear in real time.
Whispered interpretation is an excellent choice for meetings where business negotiations are taking place or where foreign-speaking guests are taking a tour of plant or facility. The goal is to provide personal language support to targeted individuals within a group without interfering with group as a whole. This interpretation technique is very effective when a new technology is being presented or the attendees are participating in a training seminar. It has an added advantage in that the interpreter can speak on behalf of the person receiving the whispered interpretation when they wish to make a comment. Whispered interpreters are very useful for bilateral meetings, meet-and-greets, heads of government meetings, board meetings, facility tours, a business breakfast or dinner meeting.