How to avoid common mistakes when installing interpretation booths

Believe it or not, all the booths described here really exist! Consult AIIC's Technical & Health Committee for advice on how to design proper facilities.

Booths tucked away in corners with no windows anywhere

The broom-closet syndrome: They forgot to include the booths in the original design, or they decided they needed more.

Booths a little over 1 square meter with two chairs crammed inside

The booth was originally intended for one interpreter, but . . .

Bar stools for the interpreters to sit on

The table is the height of a bar counter, but no other bar amenities are available.

Booths strung out one alongside another with no passageway behind

You have to walk through each booth to get to the next one down the line.

Booths hanging from the ceiling at the back of a 2000-seat hall, reached by a narrow spiral staircase

High-power binoculars required to see what's happening in the hall.

Read the slides? No way!

One SI unit for 2 interpreters

Occasionally equipped with only one set of headphones as well.

A mobile booth placed inside the technician's booth

They were short one booth and couldn't think of a better place to put the extra mobile booth they brought in.

Booths used as storage rooms

Everything but the kitchen sink stuffed in there! Sometimes they clean it out for you and other times you just crawl over it.

A table behind the projection window, up on a narrow platform, with barely enough room for the interpreters' chairs

They said they had a booth and this is what you found when you arrived. Don't push your chair too far when you want to get up. And don't lean back!

Booths hidden away behind a mirror-wall in a splendid 18th-century palace; access through a door in the mirror (front wall of the booth); working table with console and 2 mikes attached to the door. Seating arrangement: 2 interpreters sitting one behind the other.

Maybe the builder was thinking of motorcycle riders.

One booth for 5 languages; working table at the back wall. The working areas for the 5 languages separated by wooden panels 75 cm high attached to the table.

The designer was an expert in telephone booths.

Recommended citation format:
Technical Committee. "How to avoid common mistakes when installing interpretation booths". August 22, 2016. Accessed October 17, 2019. <>.

Message board

Comments 5

The most recent comments are on top

Monica Taurel


Yes I am, and I suppose that you are a former student of mine. Get in touch.



Total likes: 0 0 | 0

Alvaro Gonzalez


Excuse me... are you Miss Monica Taurel former teacher of Carmelitas High School in Lima, during the late 80s?

Total likes: 0 0 | 0

Monica Taurel


After having endured being crammed into a corner in a one person booth with a good natured colleague of mine and practicing very strange yoga positions to head for the ladies room, not to mention that when we sat down our eyes met a solid board of wood just BELOW the window, and after endless mishaps with booths in general, I have taken up a Jihad in Lima to spread the word about ISO standards. So, for anybody interested in a draft translation (all upgrades are welcome) of the specs into Spanish, let me know and I will send a copy and good luck.

Total likes: 0 0 | 0

tosaj, maria


As they write on line, LOL - was laughing out loud, but believe it!!!

Total likes: 0 0 | 0

E. Apaire van Gelder


also seen in a hotel in Paris, 2 conference rooms back to back separated by an en-suite booth, with microphones for both rooms in the same tiny space.

when both rooms were rented out simultaneously, as they sometimes were, you were expected to get your words in edgeways...and the hotel management was irked at our lack of enthusiasm !

Total likes: 0 0 | 0