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Symmetric and Asymmetric Language Regimes

Translators USA clients can choose between different types of interpreting services including simultaneous, consecutive, whisper and over-the-phone interpreting. Our interpreters are skilled and experienced enough to handle any kind of situation, venue and virtually any kind of language combination and subject. With a nationwide database of over 1,000 highly trained and experienced interpreters, Translators USA can also handle any kind of language regime, both symmetric and asymmetric.

What Symmetric Language Regime Means?


Symmetric language regime means that source (spoken) languages are translated into an equivalent number of target languages. For example, if six languages are spoken at the event, interpretation is provided into all six languages in order for all participants to be able to listen to interpretation in their native languages.

Asymmetric Language Regime Explained

An event is said to have an asymmetric language regime when interpretation is provided into fewer languages than there are being spoken. For example, the participants may speak in six different languages but interpretation is provided only into two. Asymmetric regime is sometimes also referred to as the reduced regime.

Pros and Cons of the Two Language Regimes

The main advantage of symmetric language regime is that all event participants can listen to interpretation in their native languages. Obviously, this requires more interpreters (at least two per language) which automatically increases the cost of interpreting services.

Since asymmetric regime foresees interpreting into fewer languages than there are being spoken, it requires fewer interpreters. However, this means that participants will not be able to listen to interpretation in their native languages which increases the risk of misunderstandings, especially if they aren't as fluent in their second language as they might think they are. Likewise, it is of utmost importance to determine which languages the participants understand to make sure that they can follow the discussion and be able to participate in it.

Things to Consider Before Deciding for Symmetric or Asymmetric Language Regime

We understand that many clients are tempted by asymmetric language regime because it dramatically reduces the cost of interpreting services, especially when there is a large number of spoken languages or/and rare language combinations requiring for the interpreters to be flown in. But it is important to keep in mind that misunderstandings can occur even between speakers with the same mother tongue. As a result, participants listening to interpretation in a non-native language are more likely to fail to understand the speaker's message. When deciding between symmetric and asymmetric language regime, we therefore recommend our clients to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of the two options.

Translators USA Provides Both Interpreting Services and Professional Advice

With almost two decades of experience in providing the highest quality interpreting services nationwide, we are confident that we can meet our clients' needs and expectations no matter for which language regime they decide. But we are also happy to provide professional advice. 365 days a year! So give us a call or contact us through our website and we will answer you within a few minutes if you contact us during business hours.

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Friday, 19 January 2018
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