The ability of the human brain to maintain attention is limited: it declines dramatically after 20-30 minutes.
Although an interpreter can work alone for up to 90 minutes, to achieve the best result, it is highly recommended to have a team of two interpreters by language pair.
They are relieved every 20 to 30 minutes, and during their shift, the passive interpreter assists the active interpreter and monitors the smooth running of the service.
The actual duration depends on various factors, such as the difficulty of the content, the duration of each intervention, the interpreters’ own preferences and of course the received sound quality.
The high demands of remote simultaneous interpretation this type of work mean that shifts have to be shortened to avoid loss of concentration on the part of the interpreter (a phenomenon called «Fatigue Zoom«).
In practice, interpreters adapt quickly to the situation and to any unforeseen circumstances, and shift as often as needed. To optimise the handover, ideally they should work together from the same space (interpretation hub or lab).