What is Consecutive Interpreting?​

Whether it’s consecutive or simultaneous interpretation, language interpreting plays a critical role in today’s fast-paced business world. What is the definition of consecutive interpretation? It is a type of bidirectional oral translation in which the interpreter listens to the speaker while memorizing/taking notes of what was said and then waits for pauses or breaks to convert the sentences or passage into the target language of the audience who has limited or no knowledge of the source language.

Consecutive interpretation comes in two forms, depending on the interpreter’s or the employer’s preference: short and long consecutive interpretation.

Short consecutive interpreting is used in more casual settings. The speaker pauses every few sentences or breaks a sentence into a few parts, leaving the interpreter no time for note-taking, but relying on memory to relay the message.

However, long consecutive interpreting is more traditional and commonly used for official situations. The segment for interpretation could range from 5 to 10 minutes or even longer, during which the interpreter takes notes using symbols, initials, abbreviations, etc., to remember and reproduce the thoughts and concepts the speaker aims to deliver.

Regardless of the form of consecutive interpretation services you prefer, Wordspath’s massive network of interpreting talent enables us to find a perfect match for your specific needs fast and on budget.

what is consecutive interpretation
consecutive interpreting - how it works

How Consecutive Interpretation Works?

Unlike simultaneous interpreters that translate the speech in one direction, consecutive interpreters work bi-directionally. Which means they wait for the pauses to reproduce the speaker’s message for the audience via a microphone(if needed) and then convey the audience’s response to the speaker(if necessary). They interpret intermittently and back and forth to facilitate a full understanding of the whole conversation and speech between multilingual parties.

Consecutive interpreters usually stand or sit next to the speaker. But amid the challenging time of Covid-19, we also support safe and effective video remote interpreting services via Zoom and other teleconferencing platforms and telephone interpreting services. Please tell us your needs via live chat or email.

Consecutive vs Simultaneous Interpreting

As the most common methods of interpretation, consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting are distinct from each other in terms of interpreting skills, quality of translation, use cases, length, equipment needed, costs, and a lot of others.


Skills: Both simultaneous and consecutive interpreters are active and keen listeners. Simultaneous interpreters must digest the gist of the speech and concomitantly reproduce the content in another language with only a few seconds' delay.
In contrast, consecutive interpreters are skillful stenographers who employ their unique shorthand styles utilizing images and symbols to jot down the content in one language and then interpret them in another.


Cost: Consecutive interpretation is more cost-effective because the interpreter works alone and only needs a pen and a notepad to get the job done. On the other hand, simultaneous interpretation requires at least two interpreters for each language pair to take turns every 20 to 30 minutes to regain energy from the draining task. Not to mention the costly rent for the technical equipment essential for interpreting.


Quality: Consecutive interpretation has a leg up over simultaneous interpretation in the quality of translation since consecutive interpreters have a longer timeframe to prepare and choose the right tone and words of the message needed for interpreting, which is hard for simultaneous interpreters to achieve given a second's timeframe.


Length: Simultaneous interpreting and the original speech occur almost concurrently, so the speech's length expands by only a few seconds. So it is more desirable for long meetings or professionals who can't afford to waste their time. Consecutive interpretation customarily doubles the total length of the speech due to the pauses in conversation.


Equipment: In simultaneous interpreting, a soundproof booth for two interpreters to sit in, transmitters, microphones for both the speaker and each interpreter, and a set of headphones for each interpreter and attendee add to the total cost of simultaneous interpreting service. While in consecutive interpreting, the interpreter sits near the speaker. A pen and a notepad are all that it takes.

use case

Use cases: Simultaneous interpretation works best for large-scale, live events with a bigger audience where multiple languages are used, such as international conventions or press conferences. Consecutive interpretation is tailor-fit for bilingual meetings and one-on-one discussions between a limited number of participants, such as business meetings or court depositions.

Why Wordspath for Your Consecutive Interpreting?

Wordspath has a proven track record of providing stellar conference interpreting talents for an array of meetings and events. Event planners and organizers entrusted us with their on-site or remote conference interpreting services to facilitate the successful hosting of events.

quality assurance

Top Quality

Wordspath is an ISO-certified language service provider that promises the highest-quality consecutive conference interpreting services by contracting only the best-of-breed interpreters in our industry.

subject matter expertise

Industry Terminology

Wordspath only sends professionally trained native interpreters who speak both languages fluently and master the required industry jargon relevant to your consecutive interpreting project.

customer service

24/7 Customer Support

Our language experts are ready to service day and night with all your linguistic needs. If you have any questions concerning our consecutive interpretation services, we will do our best to get them solved for you.

language delivery

Languages Supported

Wordspath renders consecutive interpreting services with support for 150+ languages and 400+ language pairs. We match you with the best-fit interpretation experts in diverse native languages and across all industries.

customized services

Tailor-fit Services

Thanks to our global network of experienced contracted interpreters, Wordspath has the flexibility to offer customized interpreting solutions that meet all use cases and budgets to help reach your goal.

absolute confidentiality

Highly Secure

Our interpreters are bound by the strict code of conduct and will only work under a non-disclosure agreement. This means the confidential information in the meetings is kept secret from all third parties.

Industries We Serve

Individuals and companies from various industries have benefited from Wordspath’s consecutive interpretation services. No matter what sector you’ve come from, we devote ourselves to helping bridge language and cultural barriers whenever and wherever there’s a linguistic need.

Consecutive Interpreting Cases We Handle

Consecutive interpretation services are ideal for meetings or gatherings with a smaller audience than in large, live conferences that use simultaneous interpreting services. Our expertise in consecutive interpreting is beneficial for the following occasions:

Benefit from Our Consecutive Interpreting

more fluent
More emotional and fluent

The consecutive interpreter is left with more time to analyze the nuances of the language and choose the words more correctly to retain the speaker's emotion.

increased audience attention
Increased audience attention

Better translation results mean the audience is more engaged when hearing accurate translation and seeing the speaker's gestures that complement understanding.


For each language pair, consecutive interpretation only requires one interpreter. The rent for technical equipment is unnecessary and hence fewer costs.

Consecutive Interpreting Experts Fluent in 150+ Language

Wordspath’s consecutive interpreters possess a native-level proficiency in your required language pairs. They are accomplished linguists with proven skills in interpretation and in-depth expertise in their specific fields. From Asian languages to European languages and even some less common languages, our value-packed services make sure you nail your next global meeting, one language at a time.

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