Simultaneous interpreting first saw the light of day in the early 1920s when Edward Filene and A. Gordon-Finlay, using early telephone technology, developed the first so-called telephonic interpreting equipment. It was not until the fall of 1945, however, that simultaneous interpreting made its televised international debut during the Nuremberg Trials. Until then, interpretation at multilingual conferences was provided mainly in consecutive mode, requiring interpreters to take notes during the delivery of a speech in order to reconstitute it in a different language once the speaker had finished (see Chapter 1 for further discussion of the history of simultaneous interpreting). Some of the first conference interpreters eagerly embraced simultaneous interpreting, while many of them categorically rejected it. Over a half a century later, however, it has all but replaced consecutive interpreting in international meetings, and this is particularly true for meetings with more than two conference languages. In spite of that, simultaneous interpreting as a profession is still shrouded in mystery, and the

task itself appears to have lost little of its original potential to astonish. The uninitiated are still amazed by simultaneous interpreters’ ability to almost instantaneously, yet seemingly effortlessly, transfer what is said from one language into another. Researchers studying language and the brain are similarly impressed by the cognitive processes underlying the task and consider it one of the most difficult linguistic skills (Grosjean, 2011). And despite the fact that national, international and supranational organizations rely on the services of hundreds of simultaneous interpreters every day (DG Interpretation, 2010), simultaneous interpreting is still the object of misconceptions and is surrounded by popular views and dogmata. The importance of bilingualism, the issue of directionality, the relevance of language-specific factors and the role of visual input and physical presence are only some of the unresolved and hotly debated issues in the simultaneous interpreting world today. For while it may be true that many of these issues are under-researched and that we are currently unable to definitively answer many of these questions, it is probably also true that all too often introspection and speculation have taken the place of rigorous research, providing sometimes intuitive, but often unsubstantiated, answers. This chapter takes a closer look at simultaneous interpreting, when and how it was intro-

duced, and how and why it has become firmly established as the main interpreting mode at

multilingual conferences. Since simultaneous interpreting was made possible by the integration of both technical and human factors, an overview of both the technical and human requirements for the successful performance of the task will be provided, referring to some of the principal findings from the field of interpreting research with the most relevant results from the field of psycholinguistics. The chapter will conclude with an outlook on future developments in simultaneous interpreting.