What is consecutive mode interpreting and when is it used?
Consecutive interpreting is when the interpreter is translating what is said in segments. Taking turns with the speaker.
While the interpreter is listening, he/she is memorizing what is being said and also taking notes of useful information to be able to remember when it is his turn to interpret what was said into the target language.
When is it used?
It is used whenever a witness is providing testimony in a language other than English. Taking turns to speak allows the court reporter to hear and a recording (if any) to be clear on what is being said, given that no one is talking over each other as would be the case if the simultaneous mode of interpreting was being used. Additionally, it allows the translation and foreign language to be heard and/or recorded, which may allow for future verification of accuracy.
Though consecutive interpreting could, in theory, be used for any sort of proceeding, such as trials, mediations, hearings, etc., and not just when a witness is providing testimony, it is not recommended. Consecutive mode is a very slow process, it requires the speakers to pause after only one or two phrases. This can make a 30-minute hearing last at least 1 hour. Hence, in the legal field, it is only used for witness testimony.
Jose Vega is not an attorney. All comments here are for the benefit of licensed attorneys only and do not constitute legal advice.