Whispered interpreting

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  • Publicado : 21 de mayo de 2010
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Interpretation is the verbal translation of a conversation or presentation. Interpreter’s role is to ensure communication between parties is as clear as possible and misunderstandings are minimized.
Language interpreting is usually either consecutive, with the interpreter translating orally after the speaker, or simultaneous, when the interpreter speaks at the same time as thespeaker. However, other forms of language interpreting exist.
It is exactly about one of these lesser-known forms of language interpretation that I will discuss in this term paper. This form of interpreting is called “whispered interpreting” or “chuchotage.”

Whispered Interpreting
Whispered interpreting involves practically simultaneous interpretation without the use of technical aids. In iscalled Chuchotage in French.
Whispered interpreting represents a variant of the technique of simultaneous interpreting and is usually performed without technical aids. The interpreter sits next to the small target-language audience and whispers the interpreted version into their ears. Thus a maximum of two/three listeners can be served by one interpreter.
Chuchotage is used in circumstances wherethe majority of a group speaks the source language, and a minority (ideally no more than three people) does not speak it.
It is important to ensure that the interpreter is able to hear each speaker well and that there are frequent breaks (e.g. negotiations, trade meetings, presentations, and other meetings where only a few people require the translation). This form of interpreting is notrecommended during conferences or other long meetings, where interpreting in a booth is the proper form.


• No simultaneous interpreting booth is required
• Great flexibility (hence particularly well suited for guided tours at industrial plant)
• The whispered interpreting may distract other participants (the interpreter is not housed in a sound-proof booth, as wouldnormally be the case)
• The interpreter may similarly be somewhat distracted, being exposed to a great variety of noises (and the original is not transmitted via a microphone to the interpreter’s headset as would be the case in an interpreting booth). Consequently, the interpreter always needs to be positioned close to the speaker, and all participants need to exercise a significant degreeof discipline.
• Interpreting can only be into one language
Fields of use:
• Seminars/conferences/events with a very small number of participants who are in need of language assistance, and who themselves do not intend to take the floor
• Guided plant tours
In a further variation on this technique a small wireless simultaneous interpretation system is employed. Some of thelisteners wear headphones, just as in a large conference. The interpreter uses a wireless microphone. However, he/she does not have the benefit of other technical aids which enable him/her to access the speaker’s words directly, so he/she must find a position close to the speaker. Preferably, however, this mode of interpreting is used only under specific circumstances and for a maximum of c. 25 listeners.The demands made on the interpreter in terms of concentration are comparable with those of normal simultaneous interpretation.
For certain, whispered interpreting is a difficult method of interpreting. The interpreter must control the sound of his/her voice and neighboring sounds are disturbing, which tests the interpreter’s concentration efforts under great pressure.
Whispered SimultaneousInterpretation - Points to Remember

• In whispered interpreting, remember to interpret the ideas and meanings of the words and not word for word.

• For a start, interpreting 70% of what is being said may be good performance. With practice in the classroom and through self-study you should be able to increase this percentage, although interpreting at 100% is almost impossible with fast...
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