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French Dictionary


This short glossary is here to help you understand the most common terms used by interpreters. It provides clear and concise definitions that will aid you in navigating industry vocabulary with ease.


The term "Bidule" refers to a portable interpretation kit consisting of just a microphone and earpieces, allowing interpretation to take place without the need for traditional equipment. The interpreter holds the microphone while the participants use headphones to hear the interpretation. This system is limited by its inability to provide sound insulation, making it suitable only for small, brief meetings where it would not be feasible to set up standard interpretation equipment.


An interpreter's booth is a designated area within an event or venue that is specifically designed and equipped for interpreters to perform their work. Interpreter's booths are soundproof spaces equipped with a desk, chair, microphone, headphones, and other necessary equipment, including partitions, windows, lighting, and ventilation. With these features, the interpreter can see the speaker and audience, delivering clear and accurate interpretation in real-time.

The term "booth" in the interpreter community also refers to the interpreters who work in a specific language, for example, "They work in the Spanish booth."


Confidentiality is an essential principle upheld by interpreters. They are obligated to maintain strict confidentiality in order to protect any information they gain in their work from being disclosed to unauthorized parties. This is an unshakable rule for interpreters.


Interpretation cannot be captured on audio or video without the interpreters' consent. In the private sector, if the recording is intended for commercial or administrative purposes, further compensation in accordance with international copyright regulations may be required.


The equipment needed for simultaneous interpreting includes a soundproof booth, microphone, headphones, and other necessary tools. Additionally, the presence of a qualified technician to operate and maintain the equipment is crucial. The microphone and headphones are essential for the interpreter to clearly receive the source language and transmit the target language, respectively. Other equipment may include a desk and chair, sound system, and interpretation control units to manage the sound levels.

Language Combination

The languages an interpreter is proficient in are referred to as their language combination. This combination includes their native or "A" language, their "B" language used for interpretation or retour, and their passive or "C" language.

A Language

The "A" language refers to the interpreter's primary or native language into which they provide interpretation from their other working languages

B Language

A 'B' language, in the context of interpretation, refers to a language that an interpreter has achieved mastery in, but is not their native language. They are able to interpret into this language from one or multiple other working languages, making it an active language for them.

C Language

A 'C' language is a language that an interpreter is proficient in, but not as fluent as in their 'A' or 'B' languages. The interpreter can understand and interpret from the 'C' language into their 'A' language, but the interpretation is not as smooth and accurate as from their 'B' language into their 'A' language. The 'C' language is considered a passive language for the interpreter.


In the case where the interpreter is interpreting into French but doesn't understand the language spoken by the speaker, such as Dari, they will rely on the interpretation provided by their colleague interpreter into a language they are familiar with, like English or Spanish. This process is known as working in relay. 


The term "retour" refers to an interpreter translating from their A language into their B language.

Travel allowance

Travel allowances refer to financial compensation provided to interpreters to cover their travel costs from their professional location to the event venue. The amount of this allowance can vary and is determined either by a contract or through negotiation with the client. 


The term video-conference refers to any conference in which participants are located in different locations and communicate using various communication technologies such as Zoom, Skype, Webex, Google Meet, and others.


The term webcasting refers to the transmission of audio-visual content, either live or recorded, over the internet, which provides the ability to listen to interpretation in one or multiple languages.

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