Technical notes on simultaneous interpretation

The Basics

What equipment does an interpreter need?

· 1 booth per language

· 1 console or interpreter's unit per interpreter

· individual earphones

      - high-quality and lightweight--NOT the kind intended for listening to music or used by journalists

    - Audio frequencies from 125-12,500 Hz

· individual microphone

· 1 outgoing channel per language

What should a good interpreter's control panel or console have?

· Multiple incoming and outgoing channels

      - The selectors for outgoing and incoming channels should be easy to distinguish from each other.

      - Outgoing and incoming channel selectors should be distinct from one another and located in different areas of the panel

· A "cough button", which interpreters should get in the habit of using

· A "microphone-on" light

      - an easily visible ring around the mike or a prominent light on the console

· The microphone control should be easily distinguishable from other controls (a different colour, for example)

· Automatic, pre-selected relay

· Tone controls to adjust bass and treble settings according to individual preferences and different speakers' voices

· All controls should operate silently.

The importance of sound

· Good sound quality is essential to successful simultaneous interpretation.

· Poor sound causes unnecessary stress and fatigue.

· Good sound depends on many factors, among others:

      - proper sound equipment that supplies the full range of sound: 125-12,500 Hz

      - good-quality, lightweight earphones

    - room acoustics

    - loudspeakers distributed around the room and volume kept low enough

Recommended citation format:
Technical Committee. "Technical notes on simultaneous interpretation". March 24, 2000. Accessed October 17, 2019. <>.

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Moussa Mohammed


Very Important :

The Maximum Sound pressure on the interpreters headphones should not exceed 105db.


Mohammed -Moussa

Interpretation engineer

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