What is whisper interpreting
Whisper interpreting (also known as chuchotage) is used when a full audio setup for simultaneous interpreting is not available, and the interpreter listens to the presenter by ear, and then whispers the translation to an attendee, so that their voice does not impact the presentation.
For whisper interpreting we use portable interpreting equipment: a small pocket transmitter with a lapel or around the neck microphone and receivers with headphones for the attendees. This way an interpreter can translate the presentation to multiple attendees.
Whisper interpreting can work both in simultaneous and consecutive mode: either the interpreter speaks in parallel (and you may need more than one interpreter in that case), or the presenter speaks in short sentences or chunks, and the translator speaks in breaks.
It is possible to work without the equipment altogether, but then you are limiting yourself to only a single attendee who can receive translation at a time. The footprint and the costs for the simultaneous whisper interpreting equipment are small, so we recommend to always include it for the session.
Typically whisper interpreting is used in conference room environments where the number of attendees does not exceed a few dozen, and only select few people from the audience require interpretation. In smaller conference rooms presenters often do not have a microphone, and there’s no space even for a table-top booth, so the interpreter has to work by listening to the presenter direct. Because the room is small, it usually does not impact the translator’s ability to hear the presenter well and accurately translate the speech.
For larger audiences (and larger rooms) we strongly recommend a proper simultaneous interpreting setup with portable or fully encapsulated booths and direct feed from the presenters’ microphones to the interpreters.