Mobile booths for simultaneous interpretation

This is a reminder of the main points, plus a few tips drawn from interpreters' experience.

The full requirements for mobile SI booths are given in

ISO Standard 4043:1998.

This is a reminder of the main points, plus a few tips drawn from interpreters' experience. References to relevant paragraphs in the standard are shown in parentheses after the item.

· Dimensions of mobile SI booths (4.4)

The size of mobile SI booths is naturally a compromise between the ideal working conditions desired by the interpreters and the issues of volume and weight that the supplier has to deal with in transporting them.

· Ventilation (7)

Mobile booths are generally smaller than permanent booths, therefore an adequate supply of fresh air is a main concern and can be somewhat more problematic than for built-in booths.

    - Each booth should have a silent-running fan in the ceiling and air inlets and outlets.

    - The fan should be big enough to ensure proper air turnover.

    - The interior of the booth should not be draughty.

· Insulation/soundproofing (6)

    - There should be no interference from other booths or from the conference room.

    - The booths should have doors--not curtains.

· Lighting (9)

    - Table lamps are essential so that interpreters can read texts or take notes when the room lights are off.

· Visibility (5)

There should be large windows in front and on the sides for visibility into the other booths and the surrounding area of the conference room.

    - No vertical support in the center of the front window.

    - Windows should be made of non-reflecting glass, so the interpreters can see into the conference room, not their own faces.

· Adequate work area (8)

    - A table that is too large can be as inconvenient as one that is too small.

Where to place mobile booths (4)

· In the back of room looking straight at the rostrum.

· Interpreters should have a direct, unobstructed view of the rostrum and the screen.

· There should be adequate space behind the booths for interpreters to pass.

· Booths should not be located near noisy areas.

      - Background noise disturbs the interpreters and also goes through the microphone into the listeners' headsets.

· People entering and leaving the room should not have to pass in front of the booths.

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