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interpretation equipment

A Guide to Interpretation Equipment

International audiences require multilingual solutions, which is where interpretation comes into play. As well as offering interpretation services, we provide a range of interpretation equipment for rent or buy. Whether you’re looking for equipment, or just curious about the process, in this blog post we’ll be looking at the types of equipment available.

Interpretation equipment to bring the world to your ears

Language interpretation equipment can be divided into two categories: equipment for use by the interpreter, and equipment for use by the audience.

Interpretation booths

The most sophisticated way to avoid distracting audience members is to use an enclosed interpretation booth. Fully soundproof, they create an on-site workplace for interpreters to listen and interpret languages at busy international events. An interpretation booth is the best way for an interpreter to work at a conference, provided there’s space to set one up.

Tabletop booth interpretation equipment

If space is an issue when it comes to organizing interpretation equipment, tabletop booths are available to make use of available table space without the need for a fully enclosed booth. While they aren’t entirely soundproof, they enable interpreters to work at events with reduced noise interference and to minimize distractions for audience members.

Mic headsets

A well-known and commonly utilized piece of interpretation equipment is a mic headset, enabling interpreters to hear the speaker at a live event and interpret into a target language. This option limits the number of wires on a desk and keeps an interpreter’s hands-free.

Control units

A major component of the technology at use during language interpretation is the control unit. The control unit allows the user to manage the transmissions coming from the speaker at an event and the interpreter. Control units are an essential piece of language translation equipment for busy events with multiple languages, enabling greater control over user needs with regards to:

  • Information being transmitted
  • Volume
  • Multiple interpreters at a single event

This control creates a more professional environment and ensures a clean workflow for interpretation.


In order for the sound to leave the booth, a key piece of interpretation equipment is the transmitter. Transmitters work via FM radio signals or infrared plates, depending on the environment in which the interpreter is working. The transmitter broadcasts the interpreter’s voice to the control units.

Receivers & FM receiver interpretation equipment

The receiver is the audience piece of equipment. Connecting the audience to the interpreter, receivers work with either FM radio waves or infrared technology. Depending on the specific environmental needs of the events, multiple options of receiver are available.

Who does what when language interpretation equipment is needed?

Language interpretation equipment is but one part of the interpretation process. The other part relates to the people involved, in order:

  1. The speaker at an event, who speaks the source language.
  2. The interpreter or interpreters. They take the source language and interpret it into the target language. Large events may require multiple interpreters for different language needs.
  3. The control unit technician, whose role is to ensure the transmission of information around the conference.
  4. The audience, who provide their language preferences.

In the case of two-way interpretation, the audience is also a speaker in a different source language. Televised events containing video interviews may rely on two-way interpretation between an interviewer and interviewee, with a separate audience.

Other options for interpretation equipment

Technology has made great strides in recent years, and interpretation equipment has kept up with consumer demands. As well as live events, equipment now enables the use of remote video interpretation.

This allows an interpreter to work from afar, assisting in the same way they would on-site.

What’s best for you?

Language interpretation equipment is about providing the best solution for your needs.

  • If you need multiple languages interpreted, on-site interpreters are your best option.
  • If your space is limited, a tabletop booth is a more appropriate piece of translation equipment than a full interpretation booth.
  • If your venue limits the use of FM radio waves, the use of receivers with an infrared option is best. 
  • If your budget is limited and you’re preparing for an international video conference with someone who speaks a different language to you, remote video interpretation is advisable.
  • If you already have an interpreter or interpreters hired, choose whether you need to buy or rent your equipment – if you have multiple events lined up, buying may be cheaper.

How can we help?

As well as providing interpretation services, our customer service team can assist in your selection of language interpretation equipment. Simply get in touch, and we’ll do the rest.

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