Conference Interpretation Equipment 101

Are you planning a conference? Do you know what to expect from your conference interpretation provider? The major players in simultaneous interpreting events are the technician, the interpreter, the speaker, and the audience. How can they all communicate? During conferences or for international meetings with delegates from many countries, interpreting equipment becomes an essential part of the communication process. The interpreters will listen to the speakers and simultaneously interpret what they say on their own microphones, which are delivered to the headsets on different channels. The listeners tune into the channel for their respective languages.

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Infrared receivers

The receiver is an important tool for the listener. Sometimes, an LCD screen will provide the name of interpretation language (e.g. English, Spanish), language number, signal strength, battery life and volume level.  This means the people using these receivers will have all the information they need about the interpretation languages at their fingertips. 

Each receiver is equipped with a pair of light-weight stereo headphones to amplify the transmitted audio signal.

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Interpreter Booths

Booths also must be well positioned (in direct line of sight)  to see what is going on in with the speakers and the audience. If the space does not allow for it, video is used. The booth should be big enough for two interpreters to fit inside, as simultaneous interpreters work in pairs. All booths should meet and exceed ISO-4043 standard for sound isolation. Inside the booth, per industry standards the interpreter must have a console, a microphone, a headset, and a reading lamp.

Interpreter Station

The interpreter will have a station or console that controls the volume, bass, and treble of the audio without disruption. The microphone transmits the interpreter’s voice through the infrared transmitters to the infrared radiators. The infrared radiators will generate a high frequency infrared signal that will cover every section of the conference room.  The infrared receivers will connect with that signal retrieving all channels (the speaker and all required language channels) as well as data for information display on the receivers’ LCD. In the most sophisticated stations, the technician has the ability to communicate with the interpreter, and can even repeat a few seconds of previous audio in case the interpreter wants to clarify something. The sound must be clear, within 125-12,500 Hz.


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Conference Microphones with Channel Selector

The conference remote microphones include built-in speakers, channel selector with headphone insert and independent volume control, and a speech timer to every delegate.  The low profile delegate microphone is an easy to use push-to-talk style microphone. The microphone connects digitally to the interpreter consoles and the infrared language distribution system. The microphones must have  on/off switches which are controlled by the technician.

The conference microphones goosenecks are flexible to position to the users need.  The gooseneck often contains a light ring indicator which will illuminate red when active and blue when the delegate is “requesting-to-speak”. 

It is important to find a conference interpretation provider who will supply the talented interpreters as well as the equipment needed to enhance understanding between cultures at your conferences. Inadequate equipment can ruin an international conference, and a company which regularly provides high-level conference interpretation will work with you in planning your event to ensure that you will have the proper equipment to support all of your requirements.