Interpretation Equipment

Conference room with interpretation equipment in foreground

Interpretation Equipment

Your team of interpreters has been selected with care; you know the mode of interpretation required.  It is now equally important to choose the right interpretation equipment and hire properly qualified technicians. Clear, reliable sound, ISO-compliant booths, good ventilation, a direct view of the speakers, well-trained technicians: all these factors contribute to the interpreters’ ability to provide quality translation, which in turn allows the participants to follow the proceedings with ease in the language of their choice. Calliope can help by working with you to identify the equipment solution which best meets the technical requirements of your event.

Let’s consider the three main modes of interpretation:

Simultaneous interpretation

This is both the most frequently used and most equipment-intensive mode of interpretation; great care therefore needs to be taken when sourcing the necessary technical equipment. Simultaneous interpreters work in soundproof booths, which will be either built-in or mobile depending on your venue. ISO standards exist for both, providing details on physical dimensions, ventilation, lighting and visibility. In the booth/s, the interpreters require interpretation consoles, headsets, microphones (one per person) and individual lamps. Outside the booth/s, you will need a PA system with loudspeakers, microphones for the chair person, the speakers and the delegates, and receivers for listening to the interpretation. Bear in mind that all this equipment needs to be compatible.  Finally, even the best-quality equipment can cause problems unless set up and operated by well-trained interpretation equipment technicians.

An interpreting booth in use at a conference

Consecutive interpretation

Generally, no specialised equipment is necessary, unless the interpreter is on a stage or at a podium, in which case a microphone and PA system will be required.

Tour-Guide interpretation

When delegates and interpreters are on the move, during a site visit, for example, a “tour-guide system” can be used, comprising a microphone, radio transmitter and headsets. This is a good solution when the delegates are not in a fixed location, but is no substitute for simultaneous interpretation booths in a conference setting.

Calliope can

  • offer advice on the type of equipment required
  • connect you with the best equipment companies in each of our local markets
  • assist you in choosing the right equipment company or source the equipment on your behalf
  • advise on the set-up of the interpretation system and the positioning of the booths/the interpreters

Examples from our portfolio


Interpreter's console - interpretation equipment example

European Leadership Network, London, 2018

When the European Leadership Network (ELN), an NGO based in London, UK, was organising a high-level dinner and workshop on military matters, they entrusted Calliope’s representative for the UK, Louise Jarvis with selecting and recruiting a team of highly experienced interpreters specialised in the subject. She also supplied the interpretation equipment through a local partner. By providing a full interpretation package, Louise was able to remove some of the burden from the organisers and contribute to the success of their high-stakes event.

Thinking outside the box!

Sometimes an experienced conference interpreter can identify a way of using the interpretation team to best effect while achieving significant savings on equipment.  Here’s an example in point: recently we received a request for interpretation in multiple rooms. It turned out that participants from all parts of Canada were to be separated into their individual regions and rotate through different workshops while the presenters stayed put.  Only one regional group required interpretation, so the idea was that the interpreters would follow that group around the various rooms.  This scenario meant that booths would have to be set up in every room – at great expense – or the interpreters would need to work with a tour-guide system – a less than optimal solution in the circumstances.  Hazel Cole, Calliope’s representative for Canada, recommended that the group requiring interpretation and the interpreters remain in the main conference room and that the workshop presenters rotate.  A simple, cost-saving, yet effective solution.

Innovative equipment solutions

Headquartered at the heart of the tech industry in San Francisco, Pablo Chang-Castillo, Calliope’s representative for the USA, has been providing innovative equipment solutions for the last two decades. “One of our Fortune 500 clients needed to hold an onsite meeting with simultaneous interpretation into English and Spanish and also allow for remote participant access to the interpretation into Spanish for the Mexico branch office. We provided an onsite interpretation technician and a standard traditional ISO-compliant double booth. We used a webinar technology platform system to provide access to the interpretation into Spanish for the remote participants based in Mexico.” The solution provided by Calliope USA enabled participants in San Francisco and Mexico to communicate seamlessly across both linguistic and geographical boundaries.


Do not hesitate to contact Calliope with your equipment issues or requirements. We will be delighted to help you think outside the box!

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