History of simultaneous translation

It is during the first World War when there is a need to have interpreters for flow communications between military units.

In 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference, the linguistic problem became still more apparent. The Anglophone victorious Nations wanted to assert its own right to talk their language, which was recognized as an official language of the Conference. After many “tug-of-war” English remained as the official language of the Conference along with French.

The next step was to create a team of interpreters. Most of them were recruited among the military that once were used as interpreters during the war, although none was adequate for this type of job training. He opted for the consecutive translation. Thanks to a strict methodology developed by the first performers as Jean Herbert, not only the peace conference took place without major problems, but that the UN came to recognize a professional category recognized and institutionalized with the passage of time .

However, should wait at the end of the second world war for the consecutive translation gave way to simultaneous interpretation, giving life to a new professional figure that today is known as “Conference interpreter”.

Shortly before the start of the Nuremberg trials, fell realized that the use of consecutive interpretation, in which the speaker speaks and the interpreter takes notes which are not translated until the first has completed his speech, was unworkable. Sessions are delayed beyond reasonable since each discourse was pronounced in duplicate.

It was a few days before the start of the trial, when violent machines with huge headphones that allowed that everyone could hear the translations simultaneously.

The technique was revealed to be a success and the trial lasted only a year. Since then, simultaneous interpretation has had an evolution and an amazing development, not only from the point of view of the elements that help to develop this profession (booths, headsets…), but also in the growth of this figure and its importance in the communicative processes.