Digitizing Interpretation System: Interpreters Ditch Traditional Hardware for Software Solutions in the Booth

March 24, 2023

In the past, on-site interpretation for large events required significant logistical planning and manpower to set up and operate hardware-based interpretation systems. However, the new technology of virtual booth has revolutionized this process, allowing interpreters to still work in the booth (if client feels more assurance that way with interpreters in the conference room), but using software solutions with no interpreting equipment needed.

The advantages of this approach are self-evident: significant cost savings, minimal manpower and logistics requirements, as well as the avoidance of potential losses or damages to traditional hardware receivers.

Allow me to elaborate how it was achieved in the most recent event International Women’s Day 2023 Conference and Dinner organized by Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI).

This was a large-scale regional conference and dinner in the ShangriLa Hotel with more than 700 attendees in the ballroom. The simultaneous interpretation service for Mandarin and English was required.

Traditionally, organizers would go for the traditional hardware solution, which includes booths, headsets, and receivers, as well as two-way transportation from warehouse, a technician to set up (usually one day in advance), dismantle(right after event) and operate the system.

Manpower needs to be allocated to distribute and collect receivers and headsets if it is an event with more than 50 listeners, and In the event that any receivers are missing, a whopping USD350-450 per unit would be incurred.

However, I proposed a new solution of virtual booth, and it allowed for on-site interpretation with no traditional hardware,  but just laptops and headsets for the interpreters (see pictures below). A sound-proof booth was setup as the client was worried about unnecessary noise into our microphone, but for certain cases the physical booth may not be necessary.

The audience listened to simultaneous interpretation simply on their smartphones with earpieces.

The solution was simple and efficient. The interpreters worked from a soundproof booth equipped with a laptop, a microphone, and headphones. The interpreter's voice was streamed live to the audience through the Green Terp GT Booth with close to zero latency, which they could access on their smartphones by scanning a QR code or through GT Mobile link (see pictures below). The audience could then select their preferred language and listen to the interpretation in real-time through their earpieces.

This solution had several advantages over traditional hardware-based interpretation systems.

1)      It eliminated the need for interpreting equipment, which saved the client a significant amount of money and time on logistics and manpower, including but not limited to the interpretation set-up and the distribution, collection,  as well as maintenance of the receivers.

2)      It was more flexible and could be easily adapted to any venue or event. All you need is just to provide a live feed for the interpreters. If the interpreters are in the conference, the live feed would be reduced to an audio feed only from stage.

3)      This setup simplifies the process of conducting parallel breakouts. Interpreters can easily move into different rooms by “entering” the live feed remotely. Due to the impossibility of quick dismantling and re-setup of physical hardware, events with breakout sessions usually incur some unnecessary equipment cost toa large extent. However, virtual booth solutions such as GT Booth eliminate such logistical troubles and unnecessary equipment costs.

4)     The virtual booths solution minimizes real estate costs. Physical booths and hardware systems take up space and can detract from the overall aesthetic of the event venue, which can be a concern for event organizers and clients. I often heard clients comment that their designed concept of the meeting room decorations are “spoiled” by the booths. By eliminating such space constraints, virtual booth solutions can help keep clients happy.

The organizer was thrilled with the results of this approach. By eliminating the need for traditional hardware and relying on the technology of virtual booth, they were able to cut down on both costs and manpower while still providing high-quality simultaneous interpretation services to their attendees, by hiring our top-notch interpreters. The solution was also well-received by the attendees, who appreciated the ease of access and flexibility.

It has demonstrated how technology can be leveraged tor evolutionize on-site interpretation services. By adopting virtual booth, clients can save money, reduce logistical challenges, and provide a better experience for their attendees. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more innovative solutions like this emerge in the conference interpretation industry.

Contact me if you wish to know how to harness the power of such Virtual Booth technology , contribute to your ESG goals by further greening your events as well as saving huge chunks of cost for your upcoming meetings.

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If you want me to provide you Interpretation/Translation service in English to Chinese (Mandarin) and vice versa, or a quotation for conference interpreting services of any languages, simply contact me by phone or email.

Dr. Bernard Song