Simultaneous translation equipment FAQ

Although great progress has been made in terms of artificial intelligence, it is still highly unlikely that a computer will one day be able to replace an interpreter in the near future. Software and machinery are still far from possessing the cognitive, cultural, intellectual and emotional abilities that are necessary for quality interpreting. The equipment merely serves to transmit the speaker’s voice to the interpreter.

The terms simultaneous translation equipment or multilingual conference system refer to the translation booths, the headphones for foreign participants, the speaker and the interpreter microphones, the infrared transmitters, the public address or PA system (refer to the Equipment tab) and any other equipment necessary for transmitting the language that is being translated by the interpreters.

Simultaneous translation is performed according to ISO standards. Each language has its own booth with two interpreters. The speaker talks into a microphone, the speech is transmitted to the interpreters’ headphones and the interpreters translate by speaking into a microphone. The microphone then uses an infrared transmission to relay the translation to the participants’ headphones. The participants listen to the translation in the desired language by choosing the channel on their headphones.

How can I know what type of conference system I need to rent?
The ATI agency will advise you on the best solution depending on your translation needs: if you need consecutive or liaison interpreting, no equipment is necessary. If you need simultaneous interpreting, ATI will advise you on the number of simultaneous booths, headphones, microphones, speaker control desks, on the power of the PA system, on optimal placement of the interpreters and the technician… Breathe easy, ATI, your partner for translation and interpreting assistance will take care of everything… so let’s get together and talk about it!

Modern simultaneous interpreting is said to be born during the Nuremberg Trials in 1945-1946 where the interpreters worked in telephone booths.
During a simultaneous translation, the interpreters sit in a glass soundproof booth; they hear a speaker’s speech through their headphones and they translate into another language with an ear-voice span of several seconds. This exercise requires that the interpreter be concentrated and isolated from outside noises: that’s the role the translation booth plays.

Conference interpreting requires very specific equipment, installed by specialized conference technicians who are also responsible for technical support during the event. ATI works with professional equipment vendors who are competitive and reliable. Our technicians are highly qualified. And our experience in international conferences and multilingual events means the equipment will seem to disappear to the benefit of your participants listening enjoyment and a successful event.