Equipment for Simultaneous Interpretation - The brands on the market

Since technical innovations are frequent and new brands may appear on the market, this inventory cannot be exhaustive. Its purpose is to list the brands of consoles, headsets and booths most frequently used.

Development  & present standard

AIIC cannot and will not recommend any particular brand, model or type of equipment for purchase, lease or rent. For one, technical improvements will eventually make some of them obsolete. Furthermore, preferences, requirements and specifications vary among interpreters, clients, technical administrators, architects, rental companies, etc.

Whenever feasible, the Technical Committee of AIIC and individual members meet manufacturers and operators in order to discuss how to improve the performance of sound equipment.   

Market surveys show that the most recent products proposed by the manufacturers have reached a very high technical standard and a high level of compatibility with each other. And a survey among members of AIIC shows that the hardware which is presently available fulfills the expectations of the professional interpreter, provided it is operated by adequately trained technicians.

Performance & Quality of Service

AIIC cannot recommend specific brands because the quality and performance of any type of equipment depend not only on its intrinsic technical values, but to a decisive extent on the quality of service and maintenance. A less known and low-cost brand may run flawlessly for years under the proper care of skilled technicians, while sophisticated, up-market equipment may perform badly and fail if operated by poorly trained staff.    

When comparing equipment prices, one should also compare the cost of service and maintenance over the planned years of use, and consider whether in fifteen years from now spare parts and technical support may still be available - a difficult but necessary evaluation.  Therefore, the level of service provided by a local dealer of interpreting equipment can be decisive in the choice of the equipment.

Investing in Interpretation Equipment

Market research is essential before investing into this kind of hardware. Some manufacturers, like DIS, have an Internet forum where users exchange information and experiences, a precious source of information as to the equipment's reliability, overall quality, specific use, maintenance costs, and level of satisfaction: www.dis-dk.com.

Whenever possible, the team of interpreters who will work with new equipment should participate in the planning and should clearly specify their preferences and requirements.

Consoles

  • Bosch
  • ICS/Brähler
  • DIS
  • Sennheiser
  • Sony
  • Taiden
  • Televic

This list is not exhaustive. There are numerous small brands of consoles, occasionally tailor-made for specific customers.

Headsets

  • AKG
  • Bang & Olufsen
  • Philips
  • Sennheiser
  • Sony

This list is not exhaustive.  Only few makers of headsets have models adequate or specifically designed for interpreters. These are open and do not cover the ear. Many interpreters use their own favorite type of headset, occasionally chosen among the many brands on the market made for audio purposes. 

Frequently, the makers of consoles will recommend a model of headphone compatible with their product. This applies particularly to headsets combined with microphones. 

Portable/Mobile booths

Audipack is an international maker in the upper price-range.

There are many more makers of booths on the market, but frequently limited to individual countries. Many of them produce adequate equipment. When selecting portable booths one must make sure that they fully correspond to the fundamental ISO Standard 4043. This standard is highly recommended by AIIC, but not yet applied by all manufacturers.

ISO Standard 2603 applies, mutatis mutandis, to fixed, built-in booths for which the same kind of equipment is required.  

Hybrid Systems

Companies renting out, leasing or selling equipment will frequently use different brands at any given conference, depending on their preference, and provided the hardware is compatible. These companies will often have one brand for the consoles and another for the headsets they provide for the interpreters. Furthermore they choose their microphones for delegates, mixing tables, amplifiers, transmitters and speakers among a multitude of brands.

Major electronic suppliers proposing turn-key solutions to equip conference rooms and congress centers usually resort to hybrid solutions and will often even develop and build hardware of their own, or have them manufactured to their own specifications.  


AIIC – Technical & Health Committee

5 / 2012

Recommended citation format:
Technical Committee. "Equipment for Simultaneous Interpretation - The brands on the market". aiic.net December 12, 2011. Accessed December 15, 2017. <http://aiic.net/p/5930>.



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