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  5. Relationship of Consecutive & Simultaneous Interpreting


The main situations on this resource are provided in both its complete version which is designed for practicing simultaneous interpretation and in sections designed to facilitate consecutive interpretations. While it is suggested that you may want to begin in a consecutive format, I think it is important to have a framework for thinking about the relationship of consecutive and simultaneous interpreting.
In practicing consecutive interpretation, it is vital to keep in mind that this is a critical skill not only in developing skills which lead to simultaneous interpretation, but also that it is an essential skill in and of itself. Debra Russell, in a study of courtroom interpreting situations, found that in many situations, consecutive interpretation led to significant reduction in the number of errors in an interpretation. Russell’s point, backed up by research, is that our profession must see consecutive interpreting as a viable option, not just for beginning interpreters, but for all interpreters in situations where the text “was rich with technical data and contextually or culturally bound information that required greater processing time afforded by consecutive interpreting.” (Russell, p.7)
Rather than consecutive interpreting just being a “stepping-stone” to simultaneous interpreting (as Russell suggests it currently is viewed by many) knowing when to shift between consecutive and simultaneous interpreting is an important skill for all interpreters. As you move forward, I hope you will take advantage of the consecutive options to practice this crucial skill.

For Deaf Interpreters

Additionally, consecutive formats allow this resource to be useful for Deaf interpreters. Each of the spoken English segments are provided in captioned formats, so Deaf interpreters can practice translating genuine English discourse into ASL. So, there are model interpretations by a Deaf interpreter for the “Overview of GI Procedures.” But Deaf interpreters can work with any of the consecutive segments to practice interpreting from the English.
Reference: Russell, D. “Reconstructing Our Views,” in Swabey, ed. (2002) New Designs in Interpreter Education: The Proceedings of the 14th National Convention of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers.

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