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What types of interpretation are there and which ones do you need?

One of the main things we see as an interpretation agency is that many of our clients need the help of an interpreter, but they’re lacking the information to make an informed decision about the types of interpretation out there and the one they need. As different types of projects need a different approach, let’s take a look at interpretation service types in more detail and where they’re used.

Translation vs. Interpretation

Staring with the real basics, what’s the main difference between translation and interpretation? Translation is the service that deals with everything written, adapting it from one language to another. Interpretation is everything spoken related.

Simultaneous interpretation

Simultaneous interpretation is the type of interpreting that’s probably the most well-known. Used at conferences, political summits, and other important international events, interpreters will relay what’s being said in real-time, with delegates listening through headphones. The interpreting team will usually sit in booths, which is why equipment is such a big part of simultaneous interpretation.


Consecutive interpretation is perfect for smaller occasions like business meetings. You’ll have one interpreter working with you who’ll wait for the speaker to speak a couple of sentences, and when they pause, they’ll interpret what has been said.

Whispered interpretation

This type of interpretation isn’t as common as simultaneous and consecutive, but how it works is that you have an interpreter who sits next to you and whispers what’s being said. It’s perfect for things like meetings when there’s only one person in the room affected by the language barrier.

Travel Interpreting

Travel interpreting is where a professional interpreter will accompany you on a business trip or holiday. They’ll not only help you with the language, they’ll also help you adapt to the new culture and arrange everything for you while you’re there, too.

At PGLS, we are proud to provide interpretation in all major world languages. If you’d like a quote or some advice about your next project, we’re here to help.

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PGLS – Every Word Matters

Based in the greater Washington, D.C. area with team members across the world, Piedmont Global Language Solutions (PGLS) leverages nearly 25 years of language service experience to consistently deliver on-time, accurate, and personalized language service solutions to numerous companies and government agencies. Backed by our industry-leading processes and resources, PGLS offers Translation, Interpretation, Transcription, Language Training, and Localization in more than 450 language combinations.

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1010 N Glebe Road, STE 450,
Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: 1-877-897-4858
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