When it comes to simultaneous interpretation and equipment, the quality of the interpretation can be attributed to both the skill of the interpreter(s) and having all of the equipment properly functioning. Whether you are holding a business meeting with just a dozen executives or a conference with 1,000 international attendees, being adequately prepared will ensure that both sides of the interpretation process go smoothly. It behooves you to make a checklist of all the necessary equipment and label who will be using what and even where it can be set up at the event location. Simultaneous Interpretation

The equipment itself can be divided into two categories: interpreter equipment and audience equipment. For the interpreter, headsets and microphones are the simplest to put together but keep in mind that the ideal microphone for such an event would be stationary and not something the interpreter would have to hold in their hand. The headset for the interpreter ought to be able to cancel out some of the surrounding noises if there is not a soundproof booth set up. Soundproof booths are typically mandatory for large events and the set up process for these is no small task so either have experienced help or get instructions beforehand on how to construct it properly. The interpreter will also require a transmitter and antenna to broadcast their translated messages to the audience. FM transmitters are the most common because they have a wide range and are cost effective. However, if the information being shared is not meant for those outside of the event then infrared transmitters will work best since they are much more secure but have a shorter range. Finally, the interpreters will need a control console and XLR (External Live Return) cables to control and connect to the audience’s headsets.

For the audience, each person in need of an interpretation must have a receiver and an earpiece/headset. These can be more basic than what the interpreter is using since they are the final destination for the message but nonetheless the audio must be clear. It is also important to remember that even though the audience is hearing a translation from the interpreter, the original message comes from the speaker so it is best for the audience to be facing that person in order to pick up on non-verbal gestures and facial expressions.

Setting up and testing the equipment is something that should be reserved for a technician or language specialist who has used it before so do not expect to simply have all of the necessary equipment on hand and piece it together as you go. For the information to be seamlessly delivered, properly working interpretation equipment is essential and coordinating with the interpreter(s) on how it works will help both parties finish their tasks as best as they can.

Do you have experience with simultaneous interpretation equipment? Do you have questions about simultaneous interpretation equipment? Share your thoughts in our comment box below!

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