Telephone Interpreting

This is an increasingly popular form of interpreting that makes part of a rather widespread corporate movement – to cut travel costs and save time, while being eco-friendly at the same time.

Do you think telephone interpreting might work for you?

technical requirements

For this kind of interpretation you will need:

  • very good, clear-sound, non-crackling phone connections; 
  • a headset phone (rather than a single earpiece phone) for the interpreter; 
  • a quality connection from the phone line to the simultaneous interpretation system, if it is a call-in from a speaker who is not in the meeting room and if simultaneous interpretation is used in the room. 
  • feedback blackout: interpreters must not hear their own voice in their headsets.

method of interpretation

Telephone conversations between two or more parties are usually interpreted consecutively – one party speaks in say Spanish, the interpreter listens then translates consecutively into English for the other party. The other party replies in English and the interpreter translates consecutively into Spanish, and so forth.

If it is a phone-in from an outside party into a meeting room where the rest of participants are listening in more than one language, the interpreter(s) will translate consecutively what the caller says. It may be necessary to ask the caller to pause for translation, if his intervention is long.


In telephone interpreting there is no visual support whatsoever, which means interpreters are deprived of about half the message. Therefore, it is even more important that interpreters are fully briefed about the subject of the meeting and the participants. Tell your interpreter(s) in advance who the participants are, what their positions are in the company or organisation and why they are holding a telephone conference.

Simultaneous Interpreting

Consecutive Interpreting


Do you have any questions? Please get in touch.