Team Language Professionals


What's the meaning of...?



The "Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conférence", or aiic for short, was founded in Paris in 1953 as an international association of conference interpreters. Its strict admission criteria guarantee high standards of professional practice. Only interpreters with a university degree in interpreting or with equivalent qualifications are admitted as members. Today the association has more than 2,400 members in 77 countries and is a recognized partner of many international organizations such as the European Union, NATO, Interpol, the World Bank and the United Nations.

A language

According to the definition of the International Association of Conference Interpreters, the interpreter's native language.


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B language

According to the definition of the International Association of Conference Interpreters, the interpreter's foreign language(s) from which he or she works into his or her native language(s) (also called "active language" for this reason).


Portable simultaneous interpreting (SI) equipment without a booth. Participants speak into microphones and the interpreter sits amongst them, listening with a headset and speaking into a hand-held transmitter microphone. The participants can tune into the interpreter and listen to the speech in another language through their headsets. The system usually only covers a small range and has a limited number of receiver-headsets. It is not as good as a full SI system with soundproof booths and creates some disturbance for the participants. It is also very taxing for the interpreter, due to the absence of sound proofing and for this reason can only be used for a short meeting It is, however, preferable to whispered interpretation.

Booth see interpreting booth

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Chef d'equipe

Head interpreter of an interpreting team, who coordinates teamwork at the venue and acts as a contact person for clients at conferences.

C language

According to the definition of the International Association of Conference Interpreters, an additional foreign language from which an interpreter only works into his or her other languages (for this reason also called "passive language").

Community interpreting

This interpreting technique is similar to consecutive interpreting. However, the interpreter does not take notes, but renders the speech on a sentence-by-sentece basis.

Consecutive interpreting

Interpretation takes place after the speaker has finished speaking. The interpreter works from the lectern or microphone and starts translating after the speaker has finished delivering all or part of the speech. This type of interpreting is generally suitable for short speeches, e.g. luncheon or after-dinner speeches. Please note that consecutive interpretation doubles the overall speaking time.

Consultant interpreter

An interpreter who advises conference organisers or clients on their language needs and organises teams of interpreters.


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Time lag between the original speech and its interpretation (also called "ear-voice span").


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Ear-Voice-Span see Décalage


G - H - J


Graduate interpreter

The titles "interpreter" and "conference interpreter" are no more protected by law than is the title "translator". As a consequence, many people call themselves "interpreter" or "translator" although they do not have the required qualifications. Trained interpreters have an internationally recognized university degree, which is a prerequisite for admission to many international organizations and for working as a translator.

Internet streaming

This is the live transmission of interpretation over the Internet The customer pays a fee to the interpreter for transfer of the intellectual property rights related to his or her performance.


Oral transposition of a text from one language into another - as opposed to translation, which is written. Interpretation is frequently referred to as 'translation', although it is actually a different activity.

Interpreting booth

Sound-proofed booth conforming to ISO 4043/1981 in which the interpreter listen to the speakers' presentations over headphones and speak their interpretation into a microphone for the audience. The floor space needed for an interpreting booth (including the mixing desk) amounts to about 2 x 3.5 metres.


L - M

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Liaison interpreting

When you visit business partners abroad or wish to show them your company, you and your visitors are accompanied by an interpreter who - depending on the requirements - whispers his interpretation simultaneously or works consecutively. Depending on the duration, this kind of interpreting assignment may also require a team of two interpreters per language.


Non-working day

A day or days during a conference on which there are no meetings requiring interpretation, i.e. the interpreters are off duty. Such days, when the interpreters are prevented from accepting another assignment, are usually remunerated at a lower fee than working days.

Note-taking technique

A special note-taking technique used for consecutive interpreting, which relies heavily on symbols.


Organising fee

The consultant interpreter calculates a fee for serving as the contact person, drawing up a quotation for the customer, putting together an appropriate team of interpreters, drawing up the contracts and distributing background material, speech texts, PPTs etc. to the interpreters.


Per diem

A daily amount calculated to cover the interpreter's costs (e.g. taxis, accommodation and meals)

Q - R

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Recording fee

If the interpretation is recorded or streamed live over the Internet, the customer pays a fee to the interpreter for transfer of the intellectual property rights related to his or her performance.

Simultaneous interpreting

Oral interpretation produced parallel to the speaker's delivery.

Simultaneous translator

Erroneous term for a simultaneous interpreter.


The written transposition of a text from one language into another - as opposed to interpretation, which is oral. Interpretation is frequently referred to as 'translation', but is actually a different activity.

Travel day

If the interpreter has to travel on the day before/after the meeting, the customer pays him or her a fee for the time involved

Types of interpreting

The five types of interpreting are classified as follows: liaison, whispered, consecutive, simultaneous and community interpreting.


Whispered interpreting

Interpreting technique sometimes used for small groups when one or two participants do not understand or speak the language of the others. The interpreter sits behind or between the participants in question and whispers an ongoing interpretation of the proceedings to them. If they in turn speak, the interpreter provides a consecutive interpretation of their statements to the rest of the group. It is a particularly stressful form of interpretation for the interpreter, since he/she has to whisper to his participants while listening to speakers - often at a distance - speaking at varying levels of volume while. Since the interpreter has to be in direct proximity to the listener(s), the number of listeners is limited to a maximum of three.

Working language

All languages from which and into which an interpreter translates (A, B and C languages).

X - Y - Z  

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