What is simultaneous mode interpreting and when is it used?
This is when the interpreter whispers into the ear or uses specialized equipment to translate everything that is being said, as it is being said to another person. It requires that the interpreter speak at the same time that other people are speaking. As such, it may be disruptive to those that are not used to hearing an interpreter in the background, but is nevertheless a right of defendants in criminal trials, and not having an interpreter may be a cause for appeal.
When is it used?
It is used in hearings, trials, mediations, and in non-legal proceedings such as conventions and television appearances.
Due to the nature of legal proceedings, it cannot be used during depositions or during witness testimony. During these, it is important that the voice of the witness be heard clearly by the court reporter and/or recording devices to be able to object or file an appeal afterward if necessary.
On rare occasions, simultaneous interpreting is used in these instances with the aid of specialized equipment. Though this saves some time by not having to wait for the interpreter’s rendering into the witness’ language, it stops the attorneys from being able to hear the interpretation and verify that the interpreter did in fact translate correctly. Another pitfall of this method is that it does not provide a way to verify the accuracy of the translation even if it was recorded.
Jose Vega is not an attorney. All comments here are for the benefit of licensed attorneys only and do not constitute legal advice.