- Simultaneous interpretation is slightly misleading. There should always be a small pause between the speaker and interpreter to give the interpreter time to process and render the interpretation accurately. In the case of languages like Portuguese, Spanish or Japanese, it may be helpful to allow this extra time to account for word order differences.
- Although you are interpreting spoken language, don’t forget about body language and other non-verbal communication, and to provide culturally-appropriate equivalents when needed. This cultural awareness and adaptation is a vital part of a successful interpretation.
- Express yourself! When you are interpreting a speech, you are the speaker to the participants. They are listening to your voice and watching your cues. Interpreting successfully requires a willingness to express yourself confidently in a variety of situations even if you don’t particularly share the original speaker’s emotion.
- Don’t make it up. If you are in the middle of a simultaneous interpretation assignment and suddenly draw a blank, quickly reword in order to convey the same idea as closely as possible, but you should never guess at the exact language-equivalent for the sake of time. This weakens the effectiveness of your interpretation and can have negative consequences for your audience.
Know your limits. It is not unusual for simultaneous interpreters to take a break after 15 or 30 minutes to allow another interpreter to take over. This is an incredibly demanding style of interpretation, demanding total concentration, rapid analysis of language, and quick decisions about the best equivalents in the shortest amount of time possible.