The Different Modalities of Interpretation

consiste en traducir documentos con carácter legal de un idioma a otro.

The main difference between translation and interpretation lies in the way they are carried out. The translator works in writing, while the interpreter works orally.

However, within interpretation itself, various modalities can be found (consecutive interpretation, simultaneous interpretation, whispered interpretation, sight translation, among others).

The Most Common Interpretation Modalities

Consecutive Interpretation

In this modality, the speaker talks for a certain period, and then the interpreter renders the entire speech into another language. Generally, interpreters in this modality use note-taking techniques, allowing them to jot down the ideas from the speech. The intervals during which the speaker is talking can vary depending on the situation.

When is consecutive interpretation performed?

In business meetings, commercial agreements, meetings with doctors or at the bank (personal appointments), meetings between private companies to finalize a contract, interviews at the employment agency with foreigners, speeches, etc.

Simultaneous Interpretation

The interpreter conveys the entire speech of the speaker into another language in real-time. That is, as the speaker speaks, the interpreter orally translates. Active listening and concentration are two basic characteristics of the interpreter. Although no notes are taken in this modality, important data that could be easily confused, such as dates or names, can still be noted.

When is simultaneous interpretation performed?

This usually takes place in seminars, conferences, long speeches, etc. This interpretation requires some basic tools such as a booth, headphones, and a microphone.

Sight Translation

Although less frequent, it is also a modality of interpretation. In this case, the interpreter orally interprets a written text. That is, as they read the document, they speak it aloud in another language. This is common in medical or private appointments where documents are involved.

When is sight translation performed?

In medical appointments, reading of rights at a police station, in trials, notaries, etc.

Telephone Interpretation

Due to the current pandemic situation, this modality has increased over the last two years. Telephone interpretation involves the interpreter being on the phone between the two parties. This way, they orally transmit in the other language over the phone what is being said. Generally, the interpreter waits for one of the parties to stop speaking to convey the speech. In a way, we could categorize this type of modality as consecutive interpretation.

Do you need interpretation services from English or German to Spanish?

If you have a business meeting planned or simply need to attend a private appointment in another language and require interpretation services into Spanish, you can send me an email at This way, I can provide you with information about the required modality and offer you a non-binding quote.

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