The United Nations uses simultaneous interpreters, i.e. translates in the blink of an eye without interruption (unlike the consequential interpretation where spokespeople and translators follow one another). At every moment, the UN Interpretation Service has a dozen interpreters working in six booths – one for each official language. The couple of interpreters in the English booth translated into English, the French booth translated into French, etc. Participants can then listen to the interpretations on the headphones and click on the channels for different languages. The work is exhausting, which is why interpreters usually turn off every 20 minutes or something like that. You can also take breaks when the speech is in their language, as no translation is required. No no. UN spokespersons must deliver their speeches in one of the six official languages of the Organisation: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese. == The interpreters then translate the presentation into the other five languages. If the spokesman does not use the official language – either as a political statement or because he does not know one – the spokesman must bring his own interpreter.
This interpreter then translates into one of the official languages – usually English or French – and the other interpreters translate from that interpretation. (Gaddafi brought his own interpreter) The spokesperson may also provide a written translation of his speech into one of the official languages, unless he deviates from the text in his intervention. United Nations interpreters do not need to be proficient in all official languages. On the contrary, the United Nations hires interpreters who can translate into their mother tongue from at least two other languages. For example, a Russian interpreter can also speak English and French. But maybe he doesn`t speak Chinese. In this case, if the spokesperson is Chinese, the interpreters use what is called a “relay system”. The interpreters in the Chinese booth translate the original speech into English or French, and the rest of the interpreters translate this version into their own languages. As for the relay system, the final interpretation is translated twice from the original speech. This method leads to inaccuracies, which is why someone has to check the interpretations a posteriori and correct them for the official protocol.