Tour-Guide Interpretation

equipment used in tour guide interpretation

Tour-guide interpretation system

When delegates and interpreters need to be on the move, simultaneous interpretation can be provided using a small tour-guide system.  Also commonly referred to as an “Infoport” or “bidule”, the system consists only of a radio transmitter and headsets, making it light and easy to carry. It can also be used when there are too many delegates for whispered interpretation.

Despite its inherent limitations (no soundproof booth, limited number of receivers and channels, no on-site technician) compared with an ISO-compliant interpreting booth and audio system, there is no denying that the tour-guide system can be a very effective solution for short meetings involving a small number of delegates and for on-the-move events. Thanks to this portable system, delegates are free to move from one location to another while listening to the speaker’s words in another language.

Calliope can:

  • explain the advantages and drawbacks of the system
  • advise whether a tour-guide system is suitable for your meeting and, if so,
  • arrange the rental of a portable case, including a microphone, transmitter and receivers, and
  • select the most suitable interpreters for your meeting, taking into account their university training, relevant experience, CPD and specialisations

However, please consider that a portable interpretation system should never be considered a viable alternative to a professionally installed simultaneous interpretation system and a fully soundproof booth in a meeting room.

Examples from our portfolio

The World Bank Group in Israel

Over the last few years, thanks to its reputation as a “start-up nation”, Israel has attracted numerous delegations from overseas in areas ranging from cybersecurity to agriculture, and water to financial services. These very high-level meetings require meticulous preparation on the part of the interpreters, who accompany the delegations on their visits to businesses and research centres, providing them with simultaneous interpretation using tour-guide systems. In 2018, for example, the World Bank Group entrusted Gisèle Abazon with organising the interpretation for meetings across Israel promoting best practices in cybersecurity for delegates from 23 African countries.


Gisèle Abazon working for SCOOP using a tour-guide system

SCOOP Voyages all over the world

For several years now Calliope has been collaborating with SCOOP, a travel agency based in France and specialising in organising tailor-made business travel and seminars for companies. The visits, which can be highly technical, are generally conducted on the move and the interpreters recruited (usually working between French and the local language) therefore work with a tour-guide system. This enables the business leaders present to follow the explanations provided while inspecting the facilities at their own pace. To date, SCOOP has used Calliope’s services in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain.


V. Pérez-Guarnieri interpreting for Intel using a portable system

Intel World Ahead Program in Argentina

Senior Intel managers held a series of meetings with Ministry of Education officials across South America to consolidate and promote education projects under the company’s World Ahead Program. Veronica Pérez-Guarnieri, Calliope's representative for Spanish-speaking South America, was recruited to accompany the delegation on a tour of Argentina’s main provinces. She recommended the use of a portable tour-guide system, as the size of the group precluded the use of whispered interpretation.

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