What is Simultaneous Interpreting:

Simultaneous interpreting (or simultaneous interpretation) is one of the most complex types of language use. Interpreters are using highly specialized wireless equipment and are working in a soundproof cabin called “simultaneous interpreting booth.”




Brief History of Simultaneous Interpreting Equipment:

Attempts to design simultaneous interpreting equipment started in the 1920s with Edward Filene and Alan Gordon Finlay. The system was called “the Filene-Finlay simultaneous translator” and was used to read texts that had already been translated before the event.

alan gordon finlay

Alan Gordon Finlay, inventor of an early simultaneous interpretation system. Photo taken cir. 1920.

No one thought at that time that “live” simultaneous interpretation was possible.

During the Nuremburg Trials after WWII we see simultaneous interpreting equipment that is more similar to what we have today.

A lot of credit in perfecting the equipment goes to the United Nations, where simultaneous interpretation was introduced (with some resistance at first) after the World War II.


Simultaneous Interpreting Equipment Today:

Today the majority of conferences is in simultaneous interpretation mode, and manufacturers of simultaneous interpretation equipment abound.

A note has to be made that like in any market quality of design and construction varies greatly and – caveat emptor – cheap solutions are not too reliable.

quality interpretation servicesUtmost care has to be taken when selecting your simultaneous interpretation equipment provider: best if it is a company that specializes in such equipment and not just an audiovisual company or a videographer.

Professional conference interpretation and translation agencies will either have their own equipment or have a working relationship with such specialized companies.

It is best if you purchase conference interpreter services and rent simultaneous interpretation equipment from the same company instead of shopping around. It is one of the scenarios where one stop shopping for language services works!