History of simultaneous interpretation

Simultaneous interpretation is one of the newest types of translation, appearing only in the 1920s. Credit for the invention of simultaneous interpretation is given to American businessman Edward Filene. The earliest equipment for simultaneous interpretation (microphones, earphones and switching equipment) was manufactured by IBM.

In the USSR, simultaneous interpretation was first employed in 1928 at the 6th Comintern Congress.

In the U.S., President Eisenhower’s interpreter Leon Dostert pioneered the development of simultaneous interpretation technology. In 1946, he organized a demonstration of the technique at a UN meeting. This new approach became widely popular due to its efficiency. Later, all the UN bodies switched over from consecutive to simultaneous interpretation. The Security Council is the only UN body in which both consecutive and simultaneous interpretation are used.

The real need for simultaneous interpretation became evident during the Nuremberg Trials in 1945-1946, in which the English, French, Russian and German languages were used. Simultaneous interpretation not only significantly reduced the time needed for the trials, but also improved the accuracy of the translations.

The 1960s heralded in-depth studies of simultaneous interpretation theory and practice, which made it possible to develop a technological base, one of the fundamentals for a well-arranged event that employs interpreters. Intellectual and economic progress, which is conducive to global business expansion, destined the dynamic development of simultaneous interpretation services, both on a national and global scale.