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Basic Translation Equipment For An International Conference Or Business Meeting


When it comes interpretations for business meetings, there is a lot of preparation involved on the part of the interpreter. Good training in terms of terminology knowledge, as well as general interpreting skill, are nothing short of mandatory, considering large international conferences usually involve a lot of important people discussing crucial issues. The pressure to ensure good communication is immense.

But the skill of the interpreter is only one part of the equation in this regard. The rest of the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the organizers who need to make sure that their interpreters have what they need. Without the right equipment ready, it may turn out that your important business meeting will not end well, as your interpreter was hindered and couldn’t do their job.

Here’s a short guide that will help you determine what type of basic translation equipment do you need to ensure your international conference or business meeting goes off without a hitch in the translation department.

What type of interpretation is involved?

Before we move on to the specific equipment required, you need to be sure you pick the right type of interpretation for your particular needs. While it might be tempting to hire a simultaneous interpreter for your small business meeting, you’ll most likely end up spending too much money and, essentially, wasting your interpreter’s time – both on the interpreter themselves, as well as the equipment involved.

So what types are there?

Consecutive interpreting: most commonly used for small meetings and presentations, consecutive interpreting involves an interpreter translating during the pauses the speaker makes every several sentences. One interpreter may handle more than one language in this case, though this is rare – usually more interpreters are hired to provide multiple language versions. These interpreters are skilled in jotting down notes quickly and using them to quickly form utterances in the target language.

Whisper interpreting: used for small meetings that can’t have their flow interrupted. It’s also a very popular choice for guided tours for this reason. The interpreter works with a small group among the listeners rather than addressing the entire room of attendees. They relay the sentences in the target language at the same time as they are spoken – a trait they share with simultaneous interpreters.

Simultaneous interpreting: used for larger conferences, such as UN or EU meetings, these types of interpretations are based around matching the pace of the original speaker, so that all attendees speaking the target language can get as close to an authentic experience as possible. Not only is this form of interpretation one of the most stressful and taxing on the brain (which is why simultaneous interpreters always work in pairs), it also requires the most equipment of the bunch.

Does your type of interpretation even require equipment in the first place?

In terms of basic equipment, you don’t really have to worry about much if you’re only hiring a consecutive or whisper interpreter. As these specialists work directly with groups of people, without needing to resort to hiding in the shadows, the only equipment they might ever need is a notebook and pen, and they usually carry that along with them anyway, so there’s usually no need to supply them with anything.

Simultaneous interpretation, however, is another story entirely. As these interpreters usually have to address only several attendees of a meeting at once – who are most likely not sitting anywhere near each other – while not disturbing any of the others, special equipment is required for both the interpreter and the attendees.

Consecutive interpretations – equipment rundown.

For consecutive interpreting, you’ll need to ensure that your conference room is equipped with the following:

  • The floor mic – this is the main microphone the main speaker of the event is speaking into,
  • A soundproof booth for the interpreters – each should be able to hold two of them, and the interpreters must be provided with professional headsets,
  • Headsets for the attendees – so that they can tune into the interpretation of their choosing,
  • Lastly, you need to choose one of the two types of transmission systems:
    • infrared transmission is best suited for smaller events, as it has shorter range. On the plus side, it is not affected by radio interference;
    • radio transmission works better for larger conferences. While it can be affected by radio interference, it is a portable system, making it very easy tp use.


The key to deciding what basic equipment you need for your meeting or conference is knowing what the scope of your meeting is. If it’s a smaller affair, it might turn out you might not need any additional equipment at all. If you’re set on consecutive interpretations, you also need to take the size of the meeting into account to determine the type of transmission system that will work best. Keep all of these aspects in mind and you should have no problem getting your interpreter the equipment they need to do their job right.