In simultaneous interpreting, the interpreter translates a speech from one language to another while the speaker is delivering it.
This technique is generally used in international conferences and meetings where more than one language is spoken and it allows speakers and participants to follow the meeting in real time in their own languages.
To provide simultaneous interpreting, interpreters sit in a sound-proof booth where they can listen to the speeches in the source language through a headset and, almost simultaneously, translate them in the target language speaking into a microphone. The participants can listen to the translated speeches through headsets.
Simultaneous interpreting is very energy-consuming. It is therefore necessary to take breaks every 20 minutes to provide a high-quality service. For this reason, simultaneous interpreting is not performed by just one interpreter, but by at least two for each language (each booth) who take turns without interrupting the meeting.
To provide a good-quality service, interpreters need good working conditions. Two of the factors that can have a negative impact on the quality of the service are low-quality technical equipment and speakers who read their speeches or who speak too fast.
Conversely, it is very helpful for interpreters to have as much material as possible to get prepared for the assignment (program, abstracts, slides, speeches, list of speakers).