Types of interpretation
Over-the-phone interpretation (OPI)
In over-the-phone interpretation, the communicating parties are normally present in the same room, whereas the interpreter is in his or her home office or another suitable, quiet location.
The interpreter will interpret everything that is said through a speaker phone, which must be placed well within listening and speaking range of both or all of the communicating parties. This type of interpretation can also be organized as a conference call, so-called 3-way calling.
The main benefits of OPI include avoidance of costly travel expenses, and the parties don’t feel like the interpreter is “intruding” on the conversation. An added benefit is that the interpreter can be completely anonymous from the communicating parties. This type of interpretation can usually be provided on relatively short notice in more than 150 different languages.
The drawback of OPI is that it can be extremely challenging for the interpreter to interpret conversations in varying listening conditions without being able to read non-verbal cues. Also, the interpreter cannot give non-verbal cues to the communicating parties, e.g. to signal that he or she needs to interpret what is being said before the talking goes on too long. Consequently, OPI is not a good fit for long meetings or meetings with many different participants. It is important to make sure that the interpreter gets regular breaks to ensure that he or she is able to stay sharp and focused.
Over-the-phone interpretation is becoming increasingly more common in Norway, where the distance between interpretation users and interpreters is often quite considerable. Many find OPI to be a good solution—productive and cost-efficient.
In-person interpretation (IPI)
During in-person interpretation, or on-site interpretation, as it is also called, the interpreter is present in the room with the communicating partners, and consecutively interprets the dialogue, i.e. immediately after each utterance.
The primary benefit of in-person interpretation is that the interpreter has access to both verbal and non-verbal communication, and the interpreter can also give non-verbal cues to the communicating partners. Furthermore, there are no technical requirements for equipment in the room.
The drawback of IPI is that it can sometimes be more expensive (due to considerable travel costs). Also, the interpreter can sometimes dominate the room and impede communication between the parties.
Traditionally, IPI has been the preferred interpretation method in Norway, but OPI is now just as common.
Video remote interpretation (VRI)
Video remote interpretation is actually quite similar to over-the-phone interpretation, except that the standard speaker phone has been replaced by a videophone. As opposed to over-the-phone interpretation, VRI requires specialized equipment, and the communicating parties have less freedom in terms of time and place for the conversation, but it affords the interpreter much better control of the situation.
VRI is recommended for meetings with a large number of attendees, or in situations where the communicating parties need to see the interpreter and IPI is too costly.
Whenever interpreters are needed during large conferences, it normally entails simultaneous interpretation in several languages at once. In this type of situation, interpretation booths and electronic interpretation equipment are commonly used. The interpreter interprets what is being said while it is being said (simultaneous interpretation).
This mode of interpretation normally requires at least two interpreters for each language combination, who will take turns interpreting in sessions of 20–30 minutes each. This is a very intense type of interpretation, and only a small number of highly qualified interpreters in Norway are able to handle it.
Conference interpretation should be booked well ahead of time.