Booth interior

Dimensions (4.5)

    ISO 2603 specifies minimum dimensions, for reasons of vital working space and satisfactory ventilation.

Windows (4.7)

    There should be large windows in front and on the sides for visibility into the other booths.

    The best solution is a single pane of 40-mm thick multiplex glass, or permanently sealed double glazing mounted in lightweight aluminium frames. The slightly higher cost is offset by ease of mounting, needing to be inclined only 2-3 degrees and lighter weight, yet satisfying both soundproofing and anti-glare requirements, and being easy to clean and maintain.

    Two separately mounted panes are not a good solution as there may be problems with condensation between them.

    Reflections in the front window from within the booth are tiring and annoying, but can be avoided by correct tilting of the glass. Tinted or smoked glass is to be avoided.

    There should be no vertical support in the centre of the front window.

    There should be no supports at the junction of front and side panes between booths, so as to afford the widest angle of view possible from each booth. Care should be taken in applying sealants between panes to ensure proper soundproofing.

Work area (5.4)

    There should be a table running the entire width of the booth and deep enough to accommodate the SI equipment, plus papers, reference books and other materials needed by the interpreters.

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

    The appropriate dimensions for the table are given in ISO Standard 2603.

Document storage (5.4)

    Shelving or pigeonholes on side or rear walls (but not beneath the table) are desirable--or even an extra table. A 2-tier trolley can be very useful, or a shelf above the front window (depending on booth design--but watch head clearance when standing up).

Seating (5.5)

    Adjustable, silently operated chairs on 5 casters are easily available at no extra cost. The arms should be sound-absorbent, to avoid noisy bumping against the table edge.

    Footrests are essential for people with short legs, if they are to sit at the appropriate height for the table and enjoy an unrestricted view. A simple wooden bar on stable supports a few inches off the floor is all that is needed.

Lighting (5.2)

    · Lighting for the work area

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

      Overhead fluorescent tubes are not suitable.

      In selecting table lamps, beware of:

          - obstructing the view

          - heat generation

          - glare into the next booth and/or conference room

      Some form of dimming is required, particularly if projection is likely. Beware of cheap dimmers whose rheostats may interfere with SI equipment, causing crackle.

      A simple solution is to have hanging spotlights above the work table on an extensible coiled cord, with a cylindrical lampshade big enough not to restrict the beam too much (when lowered) and to prevent glare outside the booth (when raised). The intensity of the light is determined by the distance of the lamp from the table surface.

    · General lighting

      Some form of lighting is required further back in the booth to light up the booth on entering (switch by the door), for cleaning, etc. Fluorescent lighting may be used for this purpose.

      The general lighting should not be too far toward the back of the booth to avoid casting shadows on the table (if this lighting is in use while the interpreters are working).

      A light switch should be within reach of the working interpreter.

Soundproofing (4.8)

    Walls, doors and windows must be soundproof to prevent interference from other booths or from the conference room.

    Carpeting should not be used on the walls for health reasons.

Surfaces (4.8, 5.4)

    Neither walls, table-tops nor glazing should reflect light. Documents on the table are inclined to do so, but the effect can be reduced by matt, neutral-coloured surfaces on the table and SI control panel. The table surface should also be sound-absorbent--to prevent pencil scratching and other sounds being picked up by the microphone--yet firm enough to write on.

    Floor covering should be silent.

Air supply/heating/air conditioning (4.9)

    Booth air-supply systems, since they are built into the structure, should be addressed early in the planning stages. They should be controlled independently of systems supplying the conference room and/or the rest of the building and have a 100% fresh-air intake (no recycled air mixture).

    Each booth should have an individual unit or individual thermostat control for the central system.

    Pay special attention to:

      · air-supply ducts--should not pass through walls between booths

      · air ducts and inlets--to introduce air in a silent, draught-free manner at low pressure, while ensuring that no noise is transmitted from booth to booth

      · air inlets and outlets inside the booths--placed so as to avoid creating draughts around the working interpreters

    Direct vents in ceilings or floors are liable to create draughts between inlets and outlets and along walls, as well as eddies in corners, owing to the rate of air turnover required by ISO 2603 and the confined space in a booth.

    Some form of air decompression is usually required before it enters the booth. This may involve a perforated false ceiling over which the air spreads before penetrating into the booth. (Note: No loss of booth height should be incurred.)

Recommended citation format:
Technical Committee. "Booth interior". March 24, 2000. Accessed October 22, 2019. <>.

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