Whispered interpreting, or sometimes called “chuchotage” which mean whispering in French, is a method by which the interpreter simultaneously renders the interpretation in a low voice. It is mainly used in small group meetings and informal settings where only a few people are in need of language assistance.

For instance, in the meeting the interpreter sits beside the listener and whispers a simultaneous interpretation directly to him or her. Other examples are site visits or guided tours where the interpreter walks right next to the listener and quietly translates what was said for the listener’s understanding.

This type of interpreting has a number of advantages. Firstly, it is very convenient and flexible as it does not require additional equipment, unlike simultaneous interpreting which usually needs soundproof booths, headsets, or transmitters to operate. Moreover, given the intimate nature of this method, it allows for personal interaction and less formality.

However, there are some drawbacks associated with whispered interpreting. Particularly, this method has a limitation on the size of audience. The maximum number of listeners is up to four people, but ideally it is recommended in a situation where just one or two persons need interpretation. Moreover, the interpreter needs to control and keep his volume low otherwise it might create a distraction and disturb the concentration of surrounding people.

Despites its drawbacks, in some cases whispered interpreting is more preferable than consecutive interpreting because of the time saved, and more economical than simultaneous interpreting because no technical equipment is involved.


At SiteEngine, we strive to provide you with the highest quality service to serve your interpretation needs. We offer a variety of interpreting methods in order to best fit your setting and requirements. Our qualified expert interpreters are prompt to assist you in finding the most suitable interpreting option to help you cross the language barrier and achieve effective communication.