We keep getting asked the same question: Is it possible to work with an interpreter’s booth during arbitration hearings in order to save time? After all, consecutive interpreting of a witness takes more than double the amount of time. And time, as we all know, is money.

However, experience has taught us that speeding up an arbitration hearing in order to save costs often comes with negative effects:

  • Witnesses and especially expert witnesses often forget that there is a person in the interpreter’s booth who has to translate everything they say – even if the court reminds them of this multiple times. At a certain talking speed, a 100% correct translation is no longer possible. This frequently leads to problems in the record.
  • The court will also usually want to see the gestures and facial expressions of a witness. In simultaneous interpreting, there is always a certain time lag until the interpreting reaches everyone’s headphones. In consecutive interpreting, the judge’s bench is able to first “take in” the witness and then receives the content of what was said afterwards.
  • Especially when the arbitrators have follow-up questions, simultaneous interpreting can lead to a complicated dynamic, such as when the witness answers with a nod or shake of the head. All of these problems do not happen in consecutive interpreting.

To cut a long story short: In our professional experience, we have never had a situation in which an interpreter’s booth was truly beneficial in an arbitration hearing. It lies in the nature of the matter; consecutive interpreting takes longer but is worth the expense.

In case you have experienced it to be beneficial to you, please let us know so we can continue learning!

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