ISO 20109 – Simultaneous Interpretation – Equipment Requirements
This standard specifies the technology to be used in interpreting booths and interpreting equipment. It was completed at the end of 2016 and has since been taken into account by the first conference equipment manufacturers when developing new systems, e.g. Bosch, Shure, Televic and Taiden.
Among other things, there are the following improvements: All interpreting consoles shall be equipped with "Hearing Protection" in the future. In addition, a special screen symbol must be displayed on the interpreting console if the source language channel in question is transmitted outside the conference room, e.g. via TV/radio/internet streaming, a video conference link or as a recording. This is because the interpretation itself is protected by copyright, so a transmission must be agreed with the interpreters – and is thus made visible.
In addition, the standard specifies requirements for mobile plants (PFA). The standard also explicitly points out that these PFA (= Whispered Interpreting Equipment) due to the more difficult working conditions for interpreters, are only suitable for mobile use under certain conditions and do not replace booths.
Event technicians to supervise the conference equipment and regulate the sound for the interpreters is now also mandatory.
In general, it was important to define the standards and norms in such a way that they would meet the requirements and demands of both fixed and mobile interpreting equipment in equal measure. As Example The European Commission, which played a decisive role in the development of the standards, can be cited as a source of inspiration: The Commission's premises are excellently equipped technically, the conference systems run fully automatically and are optimally leveled. Work is carried out there in a constant, shielded and perfectly calibrated environment. This eliminates the need for technical support directly on site during the meeting. The situation is of course different in mobile use "in the free economy": No two conferences are alike – the local conditions and technical requirements are always different, so that the acoustics in the respective room usually require the presence of audio technicians on site. This is the only way to ensure that not only the participants experience good speech intelligibility, but also that the interpreters always have a well understandable sound on their headphones, the basis for a professional interpreting performance.
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