Consecutive interpreting is the most commonly requested method of interpretation in the industry today. In consecutive interpreting (CI), the interpreter speaks only after the source-language speaker has finished speaking. The speech is divided into segments, and the interpreter sits or stands beside the source-language speaker, listening and taking notes as the speaker progresses through the message. When the speaker pauses or finishes speaking, the interpreter then renders the entire message in the target language.
Consecutive interpretation is rendered as "short CI" or "long CI". In short CI, the interpreter relies solely on memory; each message segment being brief enough to memorize. In long CI, the interpreter takes notes of the message to aid rendering long passages. These informal divisions are established with the client before the interpretation is effected, depending upon the subject, its complexity, and the purpose of the interpretation.
Consecutively-interpreted speeches, or segments of them, tend to be short. Fifty years ago, the CI interpreter would render speeches of 20-30 minutes; today, 10-15 minutes is considered too long, particularly since audiences don't like to sit through 20 minutes of speech they cannot understand.
Full (i.e., unbroken) consecutive interpreting of whole thoughts allows for the full meaning of the source-language message to be understood before the interpreter renders it in the target language. This affords a truer, more accurate, and more accessible interpretation than does simultaneous interpretation.
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