Technical Equipment

An interpreter is seldom able to achieve satisfactory work results without honing necessary language skills, proper training and preparation for every communication project he takes part in. As he is usually situated afar from the speaker floor -at least in measurable distance- and outside the view of meeting participants, it is hard for us to grasp just how much factors beyond his control can influence the general quality of his work output.

In general, simultaneous interpretation requires the following:


  • in principle one per language,
  • of sufficient size, soundproof and ventilated,
  • a console, headset and task lamp for each interpreter,
  • a good view of speakers and projection screen.

Meeting hall

  • public address system (loud speakers),
  • microphones for the meeting chairman and chair delegates,
  • microphones for chair delegates,
  • tie-mic (speaker) and roving mic (for questions from the floor)
  • in principle one headset for each delegate

Meeting rooms should be laid out so that interpreters can enjoy an unobstructed view of the speakers at the rostrum and of the screens onto which visualized information material is projected. The importance of direct eye contact is sometimes overlooked, however it is a true necessity as visuals help interpreters contextualise speaker comments, which often prove particularly important to participants and especially so at technical meetings.

As the organiser of an approaching meeting where simultaneous interpretation services will be provided, enquire whether the meeting hall has built-in booths or if mobile units are to be rented, making sure that these comply with the relevant ISO standards (ISO 2603 and ISO 4043 respectively). Compliance with above standards ensures that booths are certified thus provide adequate ventilation, sufficient working space and sound insulation. Also, that they have been designed to provide easy access and are equipped with autonomous lighting, built-in cables and anti-glare windows. Failure to provide a few of above amenities may lead to a less agreeable working environment for the interpreters, however all can affect communication quality decisively.

The same applies for sound equipment. Certified equipment provides high levels of sound quality, allowing interpreters to grasp the tone and emotion in the speaker’s message, enabling them to carry it to the event participants with accuracy and clarity of meaning.

Should you have no previous experience from mobile equipment rental companies, a Consultant Interpreter can suggest one that meets above technical requirements. He is most suitable in selecting the appropriate interpreting equipment provider, being the first in line to hear -and a demanding listener he is- the actual sound that each installation can produce.