• Lina Liu

Tips for Simultaneous Interpreting

Simultaneous interpretation is one of the most difficult skills in the language services industry to master. You can often see this at conferences and courtrooms. Interpreters need talent and training to do what they do.

The margin for error while interpreting can be quite small, so those performing this service need every advantage they can get. If you are wondering how to improve your interpretation skills, here are 5 simultaneous interpretation tips to help you be at the top of your game.


Interpreters are essentially doing two things at once: listening and interpreting. That is why the ability to anticipate what’s coming next can be useful. With experience, you’ll naturally get better at this skill, but it’s something you can work on outside of work as well.

For one thing, you can do simultaneous interpretation training. This will significantly help you improve. On the other hand, you can try consecutive interpretation exercises.

For example, whenever you are listening to someone speak, pay close attention and see if you can predict what they’re going to say next.

This is easier if you’re familiar with the speaker, which may or may not be the case while at an interpreting assignment. However, if you can learn to anticipate what’s coming next, your interpretations at conferences and at other events will become much smoother.


Interpreting is a difficult task, so challenge yourself with an even more difficult task to prepare yourself. For instance, listen to a speech while focusing on another task. This can be something as simple as writing down a grocery list or making a list of all your friend’s birthdays.

Afterwards, try to see how much of the speech you can remember. It may not be much at first, but if you keep doing brain exercises like this, your interpretation skills will start to improve.

You definitely won’t regret doing these kinds of simultaneous interpreting exercises, as they will help you in the long run.


Knowing a language is a given when doing simultaneous interpreting, but culture is another matter. Every culture has words and phrases that only make sense to people in that culture. Being unprepared for one of these colloquial phrases can trip you up. That’s why is important to understand each language along with its cultural background.


When interpreting, it’s important to keep your voice at a reasonable volume. If it’s too low, people won’t be able to hear you. However, you may overshadow the speaker if your voice gets too loud.

It’s important that you don’t attempt to match the volume and tone of the speaker. This is because the audience can tell if he’s being animated or intense during his speech. Instead, speak in a manner that makes you comfortable, just as long as you’re not speaking too loudly.

Keep this tip in mind, because it is one of the simultaneous interpretation techniques that you’ll want to remember.


This may be a given, but it warrants repeating. Make sure you don’t react to anything the speaker is saying or doing; that’s not your job. No matter what happens, stay focused on providing the best interpretation possible.

If the speaker goes off on a tangent, starts speaking too fast, or starts shouting, don’t allow it to interrupt what you’re doing. If you start to get frustrated, you’ll either fall behind or start making mistakes.

All you can do is stay calm and remain focused on the task at hand, only worrying about the things you can control. To reiterate, keep in mind consecutive interpreting practice exercises when interpreting for someone. But, you can get simultaneous interpreter training as well

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