Simultaneous Translation
   General Information ...

We offer systems to help the participants in conferences and audiences at other events by enabling them to select the language they wish to hear on small personal headsets.

We equip the translators with their own headphones, and microphone, and if necessary can provide video screens to help them follow the proceedings. Usually, the translators will be in a separate room from the conference, perhaps at separate desks, possibly separated by acoustic screens. In some situations, they will actually sit in the conference room in semi sound-proofed booths from which they can talk without disturbing other translators or audiences nearby.

Systems are available ranging from a single channel of audio being routed to a single headset, (which may be helpful in assisting the hard of hearing), up to a dozen or more channels being routed to hundreds of delegates.
The simplest systems are often useful in situations where an "induction loop" system might have been favoured in the past for helping the hard of hearing, but which is maybe unsatisfactory in terms of coverage, lack of confidentiality or its interference with the operation of other equipment. Unlike induction loops, though, the infra-red system can operate on several different channels at once. This allows several languages to be translated at the same time.

Our Infra-Red (IR) systems operate by radiating the room with invisible infra-red light which is modulated by the sound to be transmitted. Due to the reflective nature of most walls and ceilings, it is not necessary to have unobstructed line of sight to every delegate's receiver - if the power output of the radiating panels is adequately over-specified, there should be good coverage of most venues even with imperfect positioning of the radiators.

Each language is allocated a unique channel number which is made known to all the delegates. The delegates then select their channel on their headset that they wish to hear.
Sometimes there may be more than one translator working in a particular language and who each take turns in translating. These could both speak into the same channel so that the delegates hear an uninterrupted translation.


Different types of Infra Red Receiver - Philips Integra digital multi channel used with conventional headphones(left) & Sennheiser 2 channel analogue with in-ear ear phones (right)

Various Translator desk stations are available. The simplest are desk microphones with stereo headphones and only one control, the TALK switch. Other translators prefer to work with a headworn combination of mic & headset. The most advanced translator's stations are highly programmable with a number of advanced features - these include provision to allow the translators to listen to each other, to pass the sound picked up from the microphones on "the floor" directly to their channel's delegates, and to type in the name of their language to identify themselves and their channel to the other translators, and even to route another translation through to their language's delegates for those cases where two languages are very similar.

This sort of equipment can also be put to other uses. The simpler infra-red systems, on just one channel and without a translator, can provide an audio signal for the hard of hearing. In an educational environment, the system can provide commentary on an activity which the students are watching, but without there being an audible voice in the room. In investigative interviews, a single channel system can provide an in-ear talkback to the interviewer from an outside observer watching and listening by CCTV (who says big brother isn't watching - we've sold several of these systems!)

Technical Information about Translation systems

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