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Client Guidelines For Working With Interpreters

There are many different interpreting styles.

Before employing an interpreter, remember to discuss with us which mode of interpreting you would like – simultaneous, consecutive or whispering

Simultaneous Interpreting


In simultaneous mode, the interpreter sits in a booth with a clear view of the meeting room and the speaker and listens to and simultaneously interprets the speech into a target language. Simultaneous interpreting requires a booth (fixed or mobile) that meets ISO standards of acoustic isolation, dimensions, air quality and accessibility as well as appropriate equipment (headphones, microphones).


Consectutive Interpreting


The interpreter providing consecutive interpretation sits at the same table with the delegates or at the speaker’s platform and interprets a speech into the target language after the speaker speaks. The length of the speeches varies. For this purpose the interpreter may take notes.


Whispering Interpreting


Whispering is an interpreting mode whereby the interpreter is seated next to one or two meeting participants and whispers the interpretation of the speech. This method of interpreting is used mainly when only very few people need interpretation. Whispering interpreting is not recommended when there are more than two listeners or when several interpreters need to work at the same time in the same room (since this could create too much noise and is as unpleasant for the interpreters as for the audience). A team working in this mode requires at least two interpreters. Since this technique is hard on the vocal chords, it is only appropriate for very short meetings.


Your choice of style will depend on the equipment available at your venue, and the format of your meeting. Please consult with Centuries staff if you are unsure.   Click here to contact us about your interpreting needs.  To get the best out of your interpreter, we will provide them with as much reference material as possible beforehand.


Other Types Of Interpreting

Conference Simultaneous interpreting at international conferences and formal meetings, with interpreters working in pairs in booths.


Business Interpreting at smaller or less formal company meetings, factory visits, exhibitions, product launches, at government meetings and accompanying delegations etc, that mainly involve consecutive or whispered interpreting.


Police And Court Interpreting for the police and courts, the probation service, solicitors, at arbitrations and tribunals etc., that mainly involve consecutive or whispered interpreting.


Community (e.g. medical and social services) Interpreting for individuals and organisations such as the NHS and social services in matters of health and welfare, as well as for the local government, not-for-profit organisations and at community events, mainly involve consecutive or whispered interpreting. Community interpreting is about facilitating access to services by mediating between service users and service providers who do not share the same language. Community interpreters are responsible for enabling service providers and their clients with different backgrounds and perceptions often in an unequal relationship of power and knowledge to communicate to their mutual satisfaction.


Telephone Interpreting, where one or more speakers are not in the same room as the interpreter and communicate with him or her remotely via Telephone. This technique is more typically used where the information to be interpreted is non-critical, but can be used for both business and community assignments.


Depending on the style and type of interpreting you require, and the duration of the assignment, you may need more than one interpreter per language to manage the assignment. BSL interpreters, for example, need regular breaks due to the physical exertion of interpreting in sign language. Centuries staff will be happy to advise you.


Qualifications And Quality Controls

Levels of qualification required vary according to the type of interpreting assignment and Centuries apply strict criteria to the matching of interpreters to the requirements of the client and the circumstances of the assignment. The qualifications for each type of assignment are as follows:-


Conference & Business interpreters require a high level of qualification, and the costs associated with professional interpreters reflect this. Membership of at least one professional body, ITI, ATC, IOL, NRPSI and DPSI is a minimum requirement, but Centuries also look for relevant experience and background knowledge.


Like Conference and Business interpreters, Police and Court Interpreters require a high level of qualification, and again hourly rates reflect this. Membership of at least one professional body, ITI, ATC, IOL, NRPSI and DPSI is a minimum requirement in the vast majority of cases, although for some rare languages, the client may allow previous experience and references to apply if no alternative is available. Like community interpreters, Police and Court interpreters need an understanding and knowledge of the communities they represent, good empathy and interpersonal skills


Community interpreters need not necessarily be members of any accredited body (although many are), however as a minimum requirement they must meet the following criteria:-

Fluency in both spoken and written English
Fluency in at least one other language, usually though not always the interpreter’s mother tongue
An understanding and knowledge of the communities they represent
An understanding of the interpreters’ code of conduct, ethics and procedures
An ability to remain impartial and professional
Empathy and excellent interpersonal and social skills
Relevant previous interpreting experience, either paid or unpaid
All interpreters engaged by Centuries are interviewed for their suitability prior to undertaking any assignments, and client feedback allows them to be ranked in order of skill relevant to a particular area. We actively encourage all our freelance interpreters to pursue further qualifications in order to enhance their skills, and work with a number of industry bodies to promote skills in the language sector as a whole.


CRB Checking

We do not routinely carry out CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks on our interpreters. Should you consider that your particular assignment requires an up to date CRB check then Centuries are very happy to carry out a Standard CRB check with all costs passed on to the client. CRB checks must be requested in advance to allow the check to be completed prior to the assignment. Please allow plenty of advance notice as CRB checks take between 3 and 4 weeks to process. Standard Disclosures show current and spent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer. Neither Centuries nor the CRB make any claims as to the suitability of an interpreter to work with children or vulnerable adults based on the results of these checks, they simply confirm that an individual is free from criminal convictions, reprimands, or warnings. If the assignment involves working with children or vulnerable adults, the following may also be searched:


Protection of Children Act (POCA) List
Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) List
Information that is held under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002 (formerly known as List 99)
We do not charge an administrative fee for processing CRB checks. Where an interpreter is engaged for subsequent assignments with the same client, further CRB checks can be requested at appropriate intervals as your organisation deems appropriate.


For further details see

For more information or to get a quote on your interpreting project please complete the form below.

Please include as much detail as you can regarding what Language pair(s)you need, the date, time and location of the assignment and the approximate duration. If you are uncertain of your requirements please enter "TBA" and we will be glad to help clarify your needs and provide advice.

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