How to choose the right supplier of equipment for simultaneous interpretation?

What kind of equipment is used for simultaneous interpretation?

Choosing the right supplier of equipment can be a nightmare for conference organizers, especially if the services they need are seldom required. Simultaneous interpretation is for many people an uncharted territory, but if you are organizing meetings for large companies, associations or international organizations, you will occasionally have to provide this service. You can prepare in advance by familiarizing with the key terminology, learning where you can find the right equipment suppliers and consider the questions the suppliers will ask you.


What is simultaneous interpretation?

Simultaneous interpretation is enabling oral communication from one language into another in real time. This type of translation allows the natural flow of conversation and delivery of presentations without any delay. The listeners usually receive the translated speech via a wireless receiver with headphones. This service is also often called conference or simultaneous interpretation. Simultaneous interpretation is very complex. You might be surprised how demanding of a service it is in terms of qualifications of a simultaneous interpreter and the amount of equipment needed for the interpretation to run smoothly. But the fact is that accurate communication is the most important aspect of every meeting, and quality simultaneous interpretation will guarantee its success.


What type of equipment is necessary for simultaneous interpretation?

The type of equipment will depend on the meeting parameters. However, most conferences require the following equipment:

Interpretation booths

Interpretation booths ensure the interpreter sound isolation. They enable the interpreter to work in a quiet environment and at the same time block their voice so that it doesn't bother other meeting participants. In the booths the interpreters receive the sound from the podium (the speech of the current speaker in the meeting) and simultaneously interpret into another language. When choosing your equipment supplier, be sure to check whether the portable booths comply with the ISO-4043 standard. If they do have this certificate, you can be certain that the booths will ensure sufficient sound isolation and an appropriate working environment for the interpreter in terms of comfort, ventilation, lighting and visibility. You can find more information in ISO-4043:1998. Complying with the ISO-4043 standard is an absolute prerequisite when organizing events for a prominent international organization. Table interpretation booths are not recommended, but they are sometimes used in meetings taking place in a restricted area which is too small for standard interpretation booths. Table booths ensure minimum sound isolation and do not comply with the ISO standard.


Interpretation consoles

This console is a central station for interpreters and allows them to receive, transmit and operate sound. Two interpreters interpreting the same languages can share a console, and it is recommended that each be provided with a separate microphone. Interpretation consoles are, due to advancement in digital technology, now equipped with advanced features such as Relay and Auto-Relay for events which require interpretation into several languages, or Repeat, which allows the interpreters to rewind the sound recording if they missed a word or a phrase.