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I am preparing a keynote to an assembly of interpreting equipment suppliers where I will be representing AIIC.

One aspect that I will cover is interpreter consoles. What strikes me when I think back to 1990 when I started in the profession is how little interpreter units have changed. They may support more channels, they may provide more relay presets, but they have not changed fundamentally in 25 years.

What new features would you like to see in tomorrow's interpreter consoles? I'd be grateful for answers - one per proposed new feature so that everybody can vote them up or down.

Edit: related question on ii.

asked 22 Jan '15, 09:33

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck ♦♦
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edited 22 Jan '15, 09:52


12next »

A useful feature would be a "repeat" button to replay the last few seconds of the speech if you've missed a figure or a name, and your boothmate can't help you out.

Importantly, once you've played back the last few seconds and hopefully understood what you'd missed originally, the system should allow you to catch up seamlessly with the live speech. This could be achieved algorithmically by removing long pauses out of the recorded track, if any. Or by speeding up the tempo of the soundtrack until you've caught up with the original.

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answered 22 Jan '15, 09:51

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Vincent Buck ♦♦
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edited 22 Jan '15, 09:54

Chris suggests that all sockets for headphones should be on the front face of the console

  • to easily connect our headphones,
  • to avoid mistakenly engaging any "mike disable" buttons (like on the Philips), and
  • to avoid interpreters lifting up the console to locate the sockets and disconnecting the wires by mistake.
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answered 22 Jan '15, 17:24

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JuliaP
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Il pourrait être utile de disposer d'un système informant les autres cabines que je m'absente, peut-être par un voyant au dessus du canal (précisant si le collègue assis à droite ou à gauche dans la bine XX est sorti). Cela éviterait la tournée des cabines pour prévenir.

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answered 24 Jan '15, 12:58

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leprof
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Chris (who is not on this forum and is passing it on through me) suggests that console manufacturers standardize the "mike engaged" lights to red or green, so that interpreters don't make mistakes when they move from one console type to another and think they are speaking into a live mike or (more dangerous) think they are commenting only to their boothmate!

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answered 22 Jan '15, 17:16

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JuliaP
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Chris also suggests that all consoles should have jack sockets and 5-pin DIN (enabling the use of a mike/headset combination).

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answered 22 Jan '15, 17:17

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JuliaP
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I would love to have an option to monitor my voice without delay, with a separate volume control for the original and a control for voice monitoring. And even the possibility to choose mono/stereo for both original and monitor independently.

Interpreting political speeches at institutions I don't feel monitoring my voice is that important, but working in the private market and broadcast events it is essential specially if wearing closed or semi-opened headphones.

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answered 22 Jan '15, 10:52

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Nacho ♦
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Chris lastly suggests the fitment of a discreet buzzer/chime to warn that the channel you have selected is already occupied - an all too common problem! This would be useful, given that the current flashing light arrangement frequently proves ineffective.

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answered 22 Jan '15, 17:29

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JuliaP
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Chris also suggests: It would be useful to have a graphic representation of the interpreter's voice output level, preferably with a "clip" or "saturate" indication when that volume is too high (i.e. when the interpreter's volume causes the self-protection circuits to cut in). This is a problem we invariably rail against when caused by speakers.

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answered 22 Jan '15, 17:33

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JuliaP
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Another useful feature would be a clearer indication of relays. Most units now feature a + next to the booth's indicator when that booth is interpreting directly from the floor language, and a - sign when interpreting is done from relay.

Instead of the plus and minus signs, an indication of how many relays there are would be more informative: 0 when the booth is working directly from the floor language, 1 for a single relay, 2 for a double relay, etc.

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answered 22 Jan '15, 10:02

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Vincent Buck ♦♦
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edited 22 Jan '15, 10:56

Hi Vincent - isn't that what the equal sign is for on some consoles? So a plus sign if working direct, a minus if working on relay, and an equal sign if on double relay.

(22 Jan '15, 14:15) JuliaP

@juliap: I don't remember ever seeing that. Which brand does it?

(22 Jan '15, 16:43) Vincent Buck ♦♦

I think it's the traditional black box Philips console. I remember that one organization installed the consoles and suddenly I was able to see when people were doing double relay by the = that showed up over their channel.

(22 Jan '15, 16:54) JuliaP

The old consoles from "Danish Interpretation Systems" do have the feature. If someone is in single relay the unit features a "-" next to the booth's indicator and a "- -" if it's a double relay

(23 Jan '15, 05:33) Marta Piera ... ♦
2

The EP consoles in BXLs and STR have an equals sign for double relay and a X for a total breakdown (or circular relays). Sorry I can't recall the brand.

(23 Jan '15, 05:38) Andy

I would suggest a warning light for the sound input. It would alert the interpreter when the level of sound input is too high so that it might affect his/hers hearing.

In addition, the console would detect a power surge and cut off the system. Such power surges cause a loud high-frequency disturbance that could also damage the interpreters’ hearing.

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answered 23 Jan '15, 05:21

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Marta Piera ... ♦
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question asked: 22 Jan '15, 09:33

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