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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: DO YOU ONLY OFFER INTERPRETATION EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES?
A:

No, IEBE provides a microphone system, audio-visual devices and office equipment.
The microphones can be hired as a stand alone system feeding directly into a sound system, or they can be used with their built-in loud speakers to provide a low level sound enhancement in a room without loudspeakers.These microphones enable all delegates to take part in question and answer sessions and to intervene in discussions.

Q: WHAT IS AN INTERPRETER AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT TO TRANSLATION?
A:

Interpretation, is often confused with translation. Interpretation is spoken, translation is written.
Interpretation is carried out in real time (simultaneously) or very close to it (consecutively). The interpreter has no time to refer to the written resources available to translators.

Q: HOW DO INTERPRETATION AND TRANSLATION WORK?
A:

An interpreter uses spoken words, conveying a message from one language to another, while translation refers to the activity of transferring a written text from one language to another.

Preparation before each event is essential for an interpreter.

The extreme speed at which the interpreter has to receive, understand, manage and reconstruct information is a simultaneous interpreter’s daily work requirement as he / she has to keep up with around 120 words a minute.

A translator on the other hand may translate 2000-3000 words a day, which requires a waiting period between the writing of a text by an author, its translation and its reception by the readers.

Q: WHAT IS A CONFERENCE INTERPRETER?
A:

A conference interpreter is a professional language and communication expert who, at multilingual meetings, conveys the meaning of a speaker’s message orally and in another language to listeners who would not otherwise understand.

The ability to interpret is a skill many claim but few truly possess. The interpreter listens to the speaker, understands the message and converts it into another language, speaks to the delegates and all the while monitors his output to ensure elegant delivery. And while this is happening the interpreter is absorbing the next part of the speech.

Conference interpreters work in the heat of debate, thinking as they speak.

Conference interpreters usually work from one or several foreign languages into their mother tongue.

Conference interpreters use different types of interpretation (simultaneous, consecutive, whispering) depending on the type of meeting and working environment.

Q: WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF INTERPRETATION?
A:

There are three:

Simultaneous
In a sound proofed booth with direct view onto the conference room, the interpreter listens to a speaker through earphones and simultaneously transmits the message in another language through a microphone to listeners in the room.

Consecutive
Seated at the conference table, the interpreter listens to a speech, takes notes and then renders the meaning of the speaker’s message in another language.

Whispered
Seated in the meeting room, the interpreter whispers in another language, to a maximum of two delegates, what is being said by a speaker.

Q: WHERE DOES INTERPRETATION TAKE PLACE?
A:

At many political summits and bilateral meetings interpreters make it possible for leaders to understand each other.

Today in our globalised world many international seminars and conferences also make use of conference interpretation.

Q: I NEED AN INTERPRETER, HOW CAN IEBE ACCOMMODATE ME?
A:

There are essentially 3 ways of interpreting: simultaneously in a booth, simultaneously behind the delegate/delegates (whispering to 1, 2 or 3 delegates at most) or consecutively.

Your budget will often determine the type of service you will use. IEBE’s coordinator will advise you according to your event’s setting and your own requirements.

Q: WHY DO I NEED SIMULTANEOUS INTERPRETATION EQUIPMENT?
A:

Interpretation equipment connects the delegates through a network created for an event allowing speeches and presentations to be amplified by a microphone system (and a sound system), translated by the interpreters and understood by the delegates in their respective languages.

The quality and reliability of the equipment determines the quality and reliability of the interpretation and thereby the success of your meeting.

It is in your best interest to use standardised equipment and competent technicians to set it up and run it. IEBE’s coordinator will estimate how many booths, microphones and delegate headsets you should need.

Q: WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
A:

The equipment you need includes microphones for participants and for interpreters, interpretation booths (one per language), interpreter consoles, transmission system, headset receivers for participants and interpreters and a sound system.

Q: WHY DO I NEED BOOTHS?
A:

For simultaneous interpretation you will normally need one booth per language. The booths should conform to ISO 4043 (built-in) or ISO 2063 (mobile) booth standards.

They should be sound-proof and have a silent ventilation system. This will ensure better communication and trouble-free listening by delegates.

Q: WHAT IS A LANGUAGE COMBINATION?
A:

The term “Language Combination” refers to the languages an interpreter uses professionally and the combinations of languages needed during an event (eg: French-English, English-French, Spanish-English, Arabic-English…)

Q: I AM ORGANISING AN INTERNATIONAL EVENT, CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME ADVICE?
A:

A multilingual conference requires reliable interpretation equipment, operated by competent technicians. Here are some points to help you:

The amount of languages provided will determine the amount of booths you will need.

Size: A mobile 2-person booth measures 2 m wide x 2 m deep x 2 m high.

Location: Booths must be placed in such a way as to give interpreters an unobstructed clear view of speakers and of the screen used for presentations, and allow them to gauge the reaction of participants.

Windows: Booths should have clear window screens.

Ventilation: Each booth must have a silent ventilator, usually fit into the roof at the back, appropriate lighting (small movable desk lamps), and be properly sound-proofed.In order to ascertain that the overall installations you plan to use correspond to your needs, make sure to provide IEBE’s coordinator with:

The general layout or floor plan of each meeting room, with details: seating capacity, windows, exits, light sources etc…
The number and position of the built-in booths in each meeting room.
The interpretation system

IEBE provides the whole system, including, SI control panels, microphones, amplifiers and headsets and mobile booths. The equipment supplier’s technician operates the system throughout the conference. The booths meet ISO standards as regards size, ventilation and lighting and should be positioned in such a way that interpreters can see the rostrum and the screen used during the meeting.

Checking the interpretation equipment

Before the meeting opens, ask the consultant interpreter or coordinator to check with the chief technician that the equipment is working properly for your peace of mind (each microphone checked with interpreters in each booth, check the delegates’ receivers in different parts of the room) This is essential to ensure that the meeting starts without technical hiccups.

The importance of sound

Good sound quality in the booth and in the conference hall is an essential factor in simultaneous interpretation. Poor sound causes unnecessary stress and fatigue, both to delegates and to interpreters.

Q: FURTHER HINTS TO FACILITATE THE TASK OF INTERPRETERS?
A:

Here are a few:

Documents: Make sure that interpreters receive the relevant conference documents as early as possible. In addition to the conference agenda and any written speeches, supply interpreters with curricula vitae of key speakers, the names of the officers of the Organisation, minutes of previous meetings on the same subject, as well as other useful background information. A set of the Organisation’s Basic Texts should be placed in every booth. When documents are circulated during a meeting, make sure that interpreters obtain a copy before they are discussed. Each booth should receive at least one copy of such papers, if possible in all conference languages. A translated version of all speeches and read out documents or presentations must be provided to the interpreters.

Briefings: Before any technical conference, organise a briefing session with the interpreters and the key speakers at the meeting and/or an expert officer of the Organisation. Interpreters should be able to ask questions on contents, terminology and procedure.

Presentations: If slides or transparencies are to be shown and require interpretation, make sure that the screen is clearly visible from the booths and that interpreters receive a script or a copy of the texts and pictures to be projected in good time. Anticipate speakers moving away from the rostrum while speaking: provide the speaker with a lapel or neck microphone.

Films: If films are to be shown and require interpretation, the interpreters must receive a translated copy of the script beforehand. For the dialogues to be interpreted, the film’s sound-track must be directly fed from the projector into the interpreters’ earphones, i.e. not through microphones in the room.

Liaison: It is absolutely vital to communicate everything through IEBE’s interpreters’ coordinator; he will guarantee a smooth coordination within the team, and liaise at all times between the client and the interpreters.

Interpreters’ room (optional): Provide an office or rest area, where interpreters can collect documents, check the assignments schedule, study conference papers when they are not in the booth and where messages can be left for them.

Water: Fresh drinking (bottled) water should be made available to interpreters, either in the booths or readily accessible nearby. A glass for each interpreter should be placed in the booths. Glasses should be changed after every session.

Disposal bins: Appropriate bins must be placed inside or near the booths to allow for the disposal of obsolete documents.

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