One would ask what really distinguishes consecutive interpretation from other forms of interpretation. They look similar but not the same. They have similarities but also with some peculiarities among them.
Consecutive interpretation is a classic form of interpretation which involves the discourse being interpreted in the given language as soon as the speaker ends his/her discourse. This may be a speech, a song, or any form of verbal expression. It involves the interpreter taking main points of what the speaker expresses in the source language and then delivers that message in a target language but with much precision.
This form of interpretation is mostly used in conferences and usually there is one interpreter charged with the responsibility to accomplish the duty. It has various advantages over other forms of interpretation.
It doesn’t require specialized instruments and machines for the discourse to take place. The interpreter doesn’t need to have sophisticated equipment to do the job as it’s the case with simultaneous interpreting. The interpreter needs himself, the audience and the speaker, and perhaps a microphone if the audience is large.
In most cases, only one interpreter is required to do the job. The required interpreter should always be fluent in both languages used in the discourse. For example if the conference is in Chinese and the interpretation should be done into Arabic, the interpreter should be fluent in both languages.
This form of interpreting is less costly to the organizers. Given the fact that only one interpreter is usually required with little equipment used, it becomes cost effective to the organizers, hence making it favorable and affordable to the organizers of the event.
It is often said as a principle time must be kept well under all circumstances. When doing interpretation, consecutive interpretation ensures that time is properly kept. This is because one interpreter is usually used during the discourse. If in a meeting, the speaker presents his/her speech as the interpreter takes note of the main ideas and later interpreters.
Consecutive interpreting requires well developed skills on note taking and brain mapping. Without note taking skills, it becomes difficult for the interpreter to jot down the main ideas in the speaker’s utterances. Brain mapping on the other hand involves listening to the speaker, understanding and jotting down the main ideas being uttered without missing what the speaker is still uttering. This is important in consecutive interpreting and it’s peculiar to it. Unlike spontaneous where writing is not required, consecutive required good note taking skills.
The peculiarity in consecutive interpreting comes with its peculiar skills that must be inherent in the interpreter. Once the speaker has the right skills, he/she is likely to come up with credible and succinct interpretation that is beyond reproach. In so doing, the interpreter makes interpretation an activity worthy for everyone to utilize.