Relay interpretation is used when the interpreter does not listen directly to the original speech, but to the speech that is being produced in a different booth, in other words, he or she listens to another interpretation. This happens when the interpreters’ language combination does not directly fit that of the speakers or the audience, which is something that can take place at large conferences or international meetings. Although some experts refer to this mode as a “last resort,” it is not used as infrequently as it may seem.

The interpreter that does relay interpreting should bear in mind that the possible errors that he or she may commit will add to those of the interpreted speech from the first interpreter, which may result in a low-quality interpretation. Therefore, the relay interpreter should trust that the interpreter of the original message has captured all of the ideas and has done an adequate job, because he or she has no way of knowing what the speaker is saying, only what his or her colleague has interpreted. On the other hand, it is also true that the relay interpreter benefits from the fact that he or she doesn’t have to solve the idiomatic difficulties that the original message may present, because they are already resolved in the first interpreter’s version.