Questions to ask when selecting interpretation equipment



Determine the number of attendees at the event, and the size of the room/meeting space. This is important in determining the number of receivers required and the type of technology required for suitable coverage of the space.


Determine whether the event is inside or outside. Other important factors are whether it is in a highly populated urban setting or in a rural area. Typically, the larger the population center, the more likely it will be to experience interference from other RF transmissions. Previous experience using equipment in a certain area is helpful. If possible, use a receiver as a “scanner” to survey the site for interference before the event.


Will the equipment be moved from location to location and, if so, how often? Or is the equipment going to be installed in one room and remain there for events? Is the interpretation taking place

on a walking tour? These questions will not only help determine the required technology, but also whether the equipment can use standard power supplies or will require a portable transmitter(s).


Is secure transmission an issue? In some meetings, such as those held by a government agency, legal agency or financial institution, secure transmission is required so unwanted external listeners cannot pick up the conversation. When selecting interpretation technology, remember that infrared and encrypted digital systems offer secure transmission; FM systems do not.

Number of languages?

Determine the number of channels required to be transmitted simultaneously during the event.

As the number of languages or channels increase, the complexity of the technology increases (as does the cost).

Multiple meetings adjacent to each other?

Are multiple meetings taking place simultaneously in close proximity to each other? If so, transmitters used in one room can easily be within the range of other transmitters. Careful consideration should be given regarding the number of channels required. Infrared technology generally avoids this issue, as the signal is contained within the walls of each room.


Sometimes there are mindsets or comfort levels already set, based on the type of equipment that has been used in the past. This can be an important consideration, when someone is already accustomed to something, and there is no other determining factor for change.

(Courtesy of Williamsound)

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