Whispered interpreting is a form of interpreting in which a linguist renders a message from one language into another by whispering it to the client. Since this rendering is carried out while the speaker is talking, this is a form of simultaneous interpreting. Whispered interpreting is also known as Chuchotage, a term that comes from the French “chuchoter”, “to whisper”.
A linguist can provide whispered interpreting by being at a close distance from their client or clients, standing by them or leaning towards them, and talking to them directly, or they can do so through a headset. Reasonably, Chuchotage is only recommended for small audiences in relatively quiet settings. This is why Chuchotage is quite common in two contexts: diplomacy, and guided tours through plants or museums.
Chuchotage can also be useful for meetings, conferences, and other formal events where only a small portion of the attendees need interpreting services in a specific language pair. Some language services providers limit their number of clients for Chuchotage Interpreter to up to three people.
Chuchotage is a solution to a very specific type of interpreting need, and as such, it has its drawbacks and its benefits. Let’s have a quick overview of the benefits and flaws of Chuchotage interpreting.
The Benefits of Whispered Interpreting
Since Chuchotage interpreting is done simultaneously, it’s dynamic and time-efficient. As an in-person interpreting service, Chuchotage has all the benefits of this type of interpreting solution.
In-person interpreting is considered by many as the ideal form of interpreting because when the interpreter is in the room, they can easily appreciate the body language of the speaker, which makes it easier for them to detect and translate nuances and elucidate potential ambiguities.
On the other hand, unlike other forms of in-person simultaneous interpreting, Chuchotage doesn’t require any extra setup or infrastructure. While some companies make headsets and other technology available to clients, but they’re only available in certain specific settings. For instance, in guided visits, in which the linguist has to interpret for a dozen tourists. But in settings like seminars or conferences, such equipment isn’t required, nor standard.
The Challenges of Chuchotage Interpreting
Whispered interpreting can have some disadvantages. It can be distracting to those around the person or people in need of interpreting. And simultaneous interpreting is always challenging since the linguist has to listen, translate, and speak at the same time. On the other hand, since whispered interpreting is done in person, it can be more expensive than other forms of interpreting, and interpreter availability could be very limited for certain language pairs, and in certain areas.
But, is there a quality alternative to Chuchotage interpreting? Is there a more cost-effective way of meeting our interpreting needs when Chuchotage would be our first option?
Over the Phone Interpreting vs. Chuchotage Interpreting
If we’re evaluating which type of interpretation services would best meet our needs, we may think of over the phone interpreting (or some sort of virtual interpreting technology) as an alternative to whispered interpreting. But this isn’t the best option for the type of need that Chuchotage addresses.
While remote interpreting doesn’t have the drawbacks of whispered interpreting (it isn’t as distracting to those around the client, and it’s far less expensive than in-person services), it has its own challenges. For instance, if our event suddenly gets noisy, an in-person interpreter will be able to handle the situation far better than a remote interpreter. Remote interpreters, despite how skilled they may be, will find it more difficult to assess body language and non-verbal cues.
The quality of the service you’ll get won’t simply depend on the talent, skill, or experience of the interpreter, but also on the quality of the technology and infrastructure at your disposal. If the event organizers can’t guarantee a stable connection or the device through which you’ll communicate with the interpreter is unreliable, remote interpreting is a no-go.
On the other hand, even low-cost and on-demand interpreting solutions can result in substantial bills, if we’ll be using the services for hours at a time. While remote interpreting tends to be far less costly than its counterpart, merely be sparing us the travel expenses of the interpreter, there are settings in which the numbers simply don’t add up, and in-person interpreting is worth paying for. At the end of the day, whispered interpreting is the best solution for its intended setting.
Relying on an experienced interpreting services provider is always important. A reputable company with years in the industry can easily connect you to a seasoned interpreter that specializes in both whispered interpreting and the event’s specific domain. When it comes to the challenging task of whispered interpreting, having a professional by your side is more important than ever. Only a highly trained interpreter will be able to ensure accurate communication with the required professionalism.