Simultaneous translation is the oral translation of a discourse heard over an earpiece by the
interpreter, with a delay from the original discourse of a few seconds to a few minutes. This type
of translation is used most often in multilingual gatherings, where time is limited, and a rendering
as close to the original discourse as possible is needed.
Equipment necessary for simultaneous translation
When using this method, the interpreters are placed in a soundproof booth (semi-open or closed) from
which, through simultaneous translation consoles, they listen to the discourse received over the
sound system and interpret it into the target language. A simultaneous translation booth and two
interpreters are used for each target language.
There are several types of translation booths:
- arrow_forward Table top /
Semi-booth – not recommended due to the excessive noise distracting the interpreters and to the
mess caused in the room Another disadvantage is that the participants who do not listen to the
translation on the headphones will hear the original discourse, as well as the voice of the
interpreter who translates, thus causing confusion and discontent;
- arrow_forward Full booth –
soundproof booth, with a door and a cooler – isolates the interpreters from the sounds produced
in the room, while the participants of the event hear the original discourse, directly from the
sound system, or hear the translation through the headphones attached to the receivers.
From the simultaneous translation booth
, the signal is picked up through the microphone at the
simultaneous translation console and transmitted through a wire or through airwaves to the individual
headphones worn by the participants and to the audio recording equipment, if applicable.
The booth must be placed so that the interpreters have direct visual access to the speakers and the
The transmission of the oral translation is done through transmission stationse:
- arrow_forward Radio frequency
(RF) in VHF, UHF, FM – sensitive to interference and potentially intercepted by
unauthorized people outside the room;
- arrow_forward Infrared (IR)
analogue – light signal from the invisible spectrum, analogue modulation, appropriate in
rooms of any size (depending on the strength of the transmitters used) but sensitive to sunlight
and fluorescent light;
- arrow_forward Infrared (IR)
digital – light signal from the invisible spectrum, digital modulation, appropriate in
rooms of any size (depending on the strength of the transmitters) and less sensitive to sunlight
and fluorescent light, due to digital transmission.
The reception of the simultaneous translation is done through the individual, wired, RF and IR
receivers, fitted with individual headphones. The receivers are chosen depending on the type of
transmission and the number of target languages transmitted in the room!
Additional information – choosing the right equipment for simultaneous translations
When organizing the conference, you should consider the number of participants who may need the
translation of the discourse in the target language, but also in the language of the organizing
country.For example, in Romania – the foreign speakers/participants need simultaneous translation from
Romanian to their native language, and the Romanian speakers/participants need simultaneous translation
From experience, we suggest reserving an appropriate number of receivers with headphones, in order to be
prepared for the case where a large number of people who believe themselves knowledgeable in foreign
languages have difficulties understanding the lecture for reasons pertaining to the speaker, the
elocution, the speed, or the dialect. At the end of the conference day, the receivers are returned so
that the batteries can be charged or replaced.
The rates associated to the simultaneous translation equipment are added to the cost of the sound system
and differ depending on the size of the room, the type of equipment used, and the number of booths and