The use of simultaneous interpretation has drastically increased over the past few years with numerous organizations aiming to get their message across to their stakeholders. On a frequent basis, simultaneous interpretation is now required in global conferences, seminars, training sessions, courtrooms, board meetings, lectures and presentations. In order to ensure that simultaneous interpretation is provided successfully, companies providing interpretation services need to have a clear understanding of how simultaneous interpretation is conducted and what equipment is required to deliver this service.

In a nutshell, simultaneous interpretation services require two interpreters working in a pair to ensure that real-time interpretation is being provided to the audience without any break. The interpreters are based in a soundproof booth and are provided with a headset which relays real-time feed of the speaker. The role of the interpreter is to listen to the feed via their headset and interpret real-time using a microphone.

What equipment is commonly used in simultaneous interpretation?

Below is the breakdown of the equipment required to facilitate simultaneous interpretation. 


       1. Soundproof booth:


The first and foremost equipment which is essentially required for simultaneous interpretation is a soundproof booth which accommodates two interpreters working together as a pair. The booth contains a table, two chairs, two microphones and two headsets. The interpreters receive audio feed via headset and they use microphone to interpret for the audience. The aim is to have the interpreters work in an environment where they can fully focus without any distraction. It is also essential that the interpreters working in a booth have a good view of the podium as well as any screen which might be projecting given presentation. The booth should be properly ventilated and should have ample space for the interpreters to perform to the best of their ability. Similarly, the booths should have adequate lighting and document storage capacity which are both commonly required by the interpreters. 


       2. Headset for the audience:


While it is essential to provide a decent setup for the interpreters providing simultaneous interpretation, it is equally important to cater the audience by providing them with headsets to listen to the real-time interpretation. As simultaneous interpretation is used for large set ups, the common practice is to provide a headset and instructions to use the headset for each participant so that they are able to listen to the interpretation accordingly. 


        3. The S.I. System:


The most essential element in facilitating simultaneous interpretation is S.I. System. The role of this system is to ensure that the microphone headset, transmitter, receiver with headsets and all necessary devices are working successfully without any technical glitch. For smaller set ups, simultaneous interpretation requires a mixer, wireless microphones and a PA system. Simultaneous interpretation comes with a lot of technicalities therefore it is highly recommended to test the S.I. System before the event to make sure that the interpreters are able to receive the audio feed into their booth and audience are able to receive the real-time interpretation feed into their headsets. Similarly, it is also recommended to have a technician or a team of technicians on standby to address any technical issue that may arise. 

How is equipment used in simultaneous interpretation?


In Simultaneous Interpretation, equipment is required for both interpreters and the audience. Interpreters rely heavily on their headsets which are directly receiving live feed from the speaker. They also have to rely on microphone so that the audience can listen to the interpretation via their respective headsets. During simultaneous interpretation, soundproof booth plays a key role as the interpreters are based in that room for the entire duration while interpretation is being provided.  


Who is responsible for providing the equipment for simultaneous interpretation? 


Simultaneous interpretation is more than just providing two interpreters to work on a project. It’s about planning and executing a project which involves equipment and testing of the same equipment to ensure that the audience receive seamless interpretation at any given time. In majority of the cases, the equipment is provided by the translation company that is providing interpreters however in some cases, translation companies tend to outsource this to dedicated providers that specialize in providing conferencing services such as soundproof booth, audio/visual system as well as headsets and microphones. As simultaneous interpretation relies heavily on the equipment, it is extremely important to work with a provider who is well reputed and has experience in the field they operate in. Moreover, the quality of equipment should be regularly audited to avoid any kind of technical issues during any assignment. 


When comparing simultaneous to consecutive interpretation services, simultaneous interpretation requires a lot of preparation and planning since it caters large number of audience. The company providing interpretation services has to ensure that not only that their interpreters are fully prepared but also ensure that the set up related to booth and the sound system is working properly throughout the event for interpretation to be seamless. Furthermore, it’s their responsibility manage and oversee the scheduling process of simultaneous interpreter. At LingArch, we have a decade long experience in providing simultaneous interpretation services to our global clients. Please feel free to reach out to discuss your requirements in order for us to assist you.