Simultaneous Translation

In line with the statutory requirements of the Welsh Language Standards and the University's internal policy on the use of Welsh, the Centre for Welsh Language Services provides a simultaneous translation service at meetings.

Simultaneous translation allows the University to treat everyone equally by giving people the right to speak in the language of their choice (English or Welsh) at its meetings, committees and in a host of other situations and events. It ensures that people can use their preferred language completely naturally and easily. We will normally translate from Welsh to English in order for Welsh speakers to contribute to meetings/events in the language of their choice. However, in special circumstances, such as when dealing with complaints or disciplinary matters, or in situations involving personal welfare or interest, we also provide a simultaneous translation service from English into Welsh.

What is simultaneous translation?

‘Simultaneous Translation’ is when an interpreter translates the message from the source language to the target language in real-time. It differs from consecutive translation, when the translator summarises after the speaker has spoken a number of sentences. By using interpretation equipment, we are able to provide a translation at the same time as the speaker, thus ensuring that meetings do not last too long.

Normally in Wales, we will translate from Welsh into English, which means that this is a service for non-Welsh speakers or those who have little Welsh. The service means that Welsh speakers can speak their preferred language and non-Welsh speakers can participate in the meeting without difficulty or impediment.

In situations where individuals may be under particular stress, or in meetings relating to the welfare of individuals (e.g. if they are the subject of a complaint or disciplinary proceedings), the practice of offering interpretation from Welsh into English, as well as from English into Welsh, ensures that those individuals are given the best possible opportunity through the medium of their preferred language. However, to enable this, you should use two interpreters. Furthermore, it is best practice to arrange for only Welsh speakers to be present in order for the meeting to be held exclusively through the medium of Welsh, without the assistance of translators.

Do I need to arrange simultaneous translation?

Please see guidance explaining when a simultaneous translation service needs to be arranged – Meetings and Events 

We also provide a Simultaneous Translation service at public meetings, events and lectures. Meetings and committees for which Simultaneous Translation is arranged include the following:

  • The University’s Court, Council and Senate, and the committees that report to them
  • Departmental boards
  • Interviews / hearings / meetings involving staff or students
  • Student assessments / seminars
  • Conferences and meetings organised by departments
  • Public events / lectures

Departments are encouraged to consider the requirements of bilingualism when arranging internal and external committees or meetings.

Requesting a translator

If you wish to request the services of a Simultaneous Translator, please contact the Centre by e-mailing, and we can discuss your requirements. When booking the service, we ask that you include the following information:

  1. date of meeting/event
  2. location
  3. start and finish time
  4. the nature of the event or meeting
  5. whether face-to-face and/or hybrid
  6. how many people will require the translation service
  7. any relevant papers

We kindly ask that you book the service at least two weeks before your meeting/event.

It is essential that we receive any paperwork in advance so that the translator can prepare adequately for the meeting/event. This is particularly true of presentations, interviews, research seminars and conferences.

If you are organising interviews or presentations, you will need to know in advance who intends to speak in Welsh. If there are multiple interviews or presentations, you should try to ensure that those who intend to speak/present in Welsh are scheduled to speak one after the other in order to make the best use of the interpreter’s time.

The Centre for Welsh Language Services has an in-house translator. If our translator is unavailable, we will engage the services of an external translator on your behalf. Note that there is a cost associated with this external service.

Interpretation equipment

The University has its own digital radio interpretation equipment. This is a very user-friendly and flexible system that enables us to provide our simultaneous translation service in a variety of events and venues.

Further advice

Contact the Centre for Welsh Language Services: