In recent years, interpreting equipment and technology have advanced significantly, making interpretation more accurate and efficient than ever before. In this article, we’ll look at the various types of interpreting equipment and technology that interpreters use, as well as how to become proficient with them.

There are three types of interpreting equipment and technology: consecutive interpreting equipment, simultaneous interpreting equipment, and remote interpreting equipment. Let’s look at each one in more detail.

Consecutive Interpreting Equipment

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Consecutive interpreting occurs when the interpreter speaks after the speaker has finished speaking, as opposed to simultaneous interpreting. Typical consecutive interpreting equipment includes:

  • Note-taking materials: To capture key information from the speaker, consecutive interpreters frequently use note-taking materials such as pens, paper, and highlighters. Some interpreters may prefer digital note-taking devices, such as tablets or laptop computers because they allow them to easily store and organize notes.
  • Sound-attenuating booths: Sound-attenuating booths may be used in some settings, such as courtrooms, to provide a quiet space for the interpreter to work. These booths can also be equipped with microphones and speakers, allowing the interpreter and speaker to communicate.
  • Translation memory software: This software assists consecutive interpreters in storing and retrieving previous translations, which can save time and improve consistency.

Simultaneous Interpreting Equipment

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Simultaneous interpreting occurs when the interpreter speaks at the same time as the speaker, typically using specialized equipment. Typical simultaneous interpreting equipment includes: 

  • Interpreting booths: These are soundproofed enclosures that allow interpreters to work quietly while still hearing the speaker. These booths can also be outfitted with headphones, microphones, and speakers, allowing the interpreter and speaker to communicate.
  • Wireless interpreting systems: In this case, the speaker’s voice is transmitted wirelessly to the interpreter, who can then interpret it in real-time. These systems are typically made up of a transmitter and receivers that allow multiple interpreters to work at the same time.
  • Speech recognition software: This software allows interpreters to transcribe what is being said in real-time, which can be useful when the speaker is speaking too quickly or has a difficult accent to understand.

Remote Interpreting Equipment

Remote interpreting occurs when the interpreter and the speaker are not in the same physical location. Remote interpreting equipment typically includes:

  • Video conferencing software: This allows the interpreter and the speaker to communicate via video call, with the interpreter interpreting the speaker’s words in real-time. Platforms such as Zoom and Skype have grown in popularity for remote interpreting.
  • Telephone interpreting systems: These systems allow the interpreter and the speaker to communicate over the phone, with the interpreter interpreting the speaker’s words in real-time. These systems can also be integrated with translation memory software to ensure consistency in interpretation.
  • Mobile interpreting apps: There are mobile apps that allow interpreters and speakers to connect remotely and communicate via video or audio call. These apps can be useful when a speaker does not have access to a computer or internet connection.

Proficiency in Using Interpreting Equipment and Technology

It takes time and effort to become proficient in using interpreting equipment and technology, but the benefits are well worth it. Here are some pointers to get you started:

Training and Education

  • Formal education programs: Consider enrolling in a course or program that covers interpreting technology and equipment. There are numerous interpreting schools and universities that offer specialized courses or certifications in this field.
  • On-the-job training: Many interpreting agencies and organizations provide training on the technology and equipment they use. This can be a fantastic opportunity to learn from experienced interpreters while also gaining hands-on experience with the equipment.
  • Online tutorials and webinars: With the advancement of technology, there are now a plethora of online tutorials and webinars available to help you learn about various types of interpreting equipment and technology.
  • Self-study: You can learn about interpreting tools and technology on your own with the aid of a variety of books, articles, and online resources.
  • Hands-on instruction: Some equipment suppliers and producers provide hands-on instruction sessions where you can learn how to operate, troubleshoot, and maintain their equipment.

Practice and Experience

  • Gain practical experience: You’ll become more at ease and skilled the more you use interpreting tools and technology. Seek out opportunities to use various hardware and software in various interpreting settings. 
  • Shadow an experienced interpreter: It can be beneficial to learn from observing an experienced interpreter, so consider doing so. You can observe how they respond to various interpreting situations and pick up advice on how to make better use of tools and technology.
  • Take on challenging interpreting jobs: You’ll learn more and advance more as you take on more varied interpreting assignments. Don’t be afraid to accept a job that requires you to use technology or equipment you’re not accustomed to; this is a great chance to learn and broaden your skill set.

Keeping Up with Industry Developments

  • Join a professional organization: Many interpreting organizations have networks and resources that can assist you in keeping up with changes in the field. Events and training sessions on the most recent interpreting tools and technology are frequently held by these organizations. 
  • Read publications about interpreting: Join a publication, newsletter, or blog that discusses technology and interpreting equipment. You will gain a thorough understanding of the most recent trends and advancements in the industry. 
  • Attend interpreting-related conferences: These are excellent venues for learning about new trends, connecting with other interpreters, and experimenting with various tools and technology.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to use the various pieces of technology and equipment that are available can significantly improve the quality of interpreting services. Additionally, staying current with industry developments can help you stay ahead of the curve.

Remember that being proficient in interpreting tools and technology requires time and effort, but it’s a worthwhile investment in your future as an interpreter.

If you are looking for interpreting services, Unspoken Language Services offers a wide range of interpreting services to meet your needs. Contact us today to learn more.