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Chuchotage or Whispered Interpreting

Chuchotage or whispered interpreting is a form of whispered simultaneous interpreting for which no interpreting equipment is required as the interpreter, who is positioned right next to the listener, simply whispers to the listener precisely what the speaker is saying. Chuchotage is used when, on account of there being only one or two users of a specific language involved, this renders consecutive interpreting impractical and the use of simultaneous interpreting equipment uneconomical.

Chuchotage, however, may well involve portable interpreting equipment, with its use being ever more on the increase. Such interpreting can be viewed as a sub-variant of whispered interpreting. It permits significant flexibility since no interpreting booth is required. It is for instance ideal for guided plant tours. The interpreter stays close to the speaker and in a low voice interprets what is being said into a wireless microphone. Listeners in the vicinity hear what is being interpreted via headsets. Preferably, however, this mode of interpreting is used only under specific circumstances and for a maximum of c. 25 listeners.

Benefits:
  • No simultaneous interpreting booth is required
  • Great flexibility (hence particularly well suited for guided tours at industrial plant)
Drawbacks:
  • The whispered interpreting may distract other participants (the interpreter is not housed in a sound-proof booth, as would normally be the case)
  • The interpreter may similarly be somewhat distracted, being exposed to a great variety of noises (and the original is not transmitted via a microphone to the interpreter’s headset as would be the case in an interpreting booth). Consequently, the interpreter always needs to be positioned close to the speaker, and all participants need to exercise a significant degree of discipline.
  • Interpreting can only be into one language
Fields of use:
  • Seminars/conferences/events with a very small number of participants who are in need of language assistance, and who themselves do not intend to take the floor
  • Guided plant tours