Everything You Need to Know About Whispering Interpreting

by | May 25, 2021

Also known as chuchotage, whispering interpretation is used when the audio setup required for simultaneous interpreting isn’t available. With this type of interpreting, the interpreter listens to the speaker then whispers the translation to the attendee to ensure his or her voice doesn’t disrupt the presentation.


What Equipment Is Used for Whispering Interpretation?

In most cases, portable interpreting equipment like a small pocket transmitter with a lapel or around-the-neck microphone and receivers with headphones for the attendees are used in whispering interpretation. This ensures that the interpreter is able to translate and interpret to multiple attendees.

If the speaker speaks in parallel, more than one interpreter might be required for this type of interpreting. Still, in general, if the speaker says in short sentences, the interpreter speaks between pauses in the presentation. Whispering interpreting can be used in simultaneous and consecutive modes.


When Does Whispering Interpretation Work Best?

Chuchotage tends to work best in conference room environments where there are no more than a few dozen attendees and only a select few people in the audience require interpretation services. It also works well in smaller setups that aren’t equipped with microphones since the room’s dynamics don’t impact the interpreter’s ability to hear the presentation and accurately translate it.

It isn’t always advisable to use whispering interpreting in larger rooms and for larger audiences. In this case, it’s recommended to use a simultaneous interpreting setup with portable or encapsulated booths and direct audio feed to the interpreters.


What Are the Benefits of Whispering Interpretation?

Since you don’t generally require any special equipment, booths, or headphones for whispering interpreting, this style of interpreting is very convenient and informal. It’s best used in a setting where just two languages are required and most helpful when a small percentage of the audience needs interpretation.

Whispering interpreting can be used for:

  • Business negotiations
  • Site visits
  • Small meetings

The drawback of whispering interpretation is that it’s only meant to give the gist of presentations to foreign language speakers. Interpretation is done on the fly with this interpretation style, which means the interpreter might miss some important details during the discussion since the interpreter has to often speak at the same time as the speaker.


Final Thoughts

Whispered interpretation is a variant of simultaneous interpreting that eliminates the need for a technical system and any particular kind of equipment. It’s usually performed by a single interpreter that sits next to the person they are interpreting for. To make this interpreting style as easy as possible, the number of people in the audience that require translation has to be small. In comparison to most other modes of interpreting, whispering interpretation is rarely used.

If, however, you find yourself in need of this kind of interpreting and don’t have a large audience that needs interpreting, Day Interpreting can provide you with the fastest cross-language solution. All our interpreters are mother-tongue speakers, and we cater to more than 92 languages. We also offer an on-demand over-the-phone interpreting service for times where physical interpreting just isn’t an option. Get in touch with our team of expert interpreters today to find out how we can help you cross the language barrier!


Seldean Smith
Seldean Smith

Seldean is a multi-skilled content wizard that dedicates herself to writing content that goes beyond merely sparking interest in the audience.

Seldean Smith

Seldean is a multi-skilled content wizard that dedicates herself to writing content that goes beyond merely sparking interest in the audience.

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