This piece was originally published in November 2009

A Language
The interpreter‘s native language (or another language strictly equivalent to a native language), into which the interpreter works from all her or his other languages in both modes of interpretation, simultaneous and consecutive.

B Language

A language other than the interpreter’s native language, of which she or he has a perfect command and into which she or he works from one or more of her or his other languages. Some interpreters into a “B” language in only one of the two modes of interpretation.

C Language

The language(s) of which the interpreter has a complete understanding and from which she or he works. Interpreters often have several C languages.


Relay refers to double or indirect interpretation into the target language of the audience. The speaker is first interpreted into one language, which is then interpreted into a second language. AIIC discourages the use of relay because of the risk of errors creeping in as the number of intermediate languages increases. Nevertheless, this technique sometimes cannot be avoided for certain languages.


When relays are used, the French term pivot is used to designate the interpreter who interprets not only for those listening to his/her target language, but also for the other interpreters who take the relay. The pivot’s role is even more demanding since he/she knows that colleagues are entirely dependent on the quality of his/her work.

Non-working days

The term non-working days is used to refer to a day on which the interpreter does not work, but which is part of a contract and therefore entitles the interpreter to payment. This system is used in particular when the same recruiting organisation needs the interpreter for several successive sessions separated by one or more non-working days.