The purpose of an interpreting system is to send the voice of a human interpreter to those that want to listen in a different language from the rest of the audience.
Click HERE to bypass most of the questions and go straight to our most popular choices. The vast majority of our customers choose a simple single language system. So if you are looking for a system that is simple and reliable, for a solo interpreter, one language, perhaps for a church or PTA, the express route will probably work well for you!
If you would like to explore all the options in depth, read on!
Types of Interpreting EquipmentThere are 3 main types of interpreting systems, although we should say that well over 99% of our customers choose conventional FM systems:
Here are the pros and cons of each:
Conventional FM: Pros - FM systems are easy to install and use, relatively inexpensive, and flexible. There are portable and fixed systems to choose from. FM systems are available for up to 8 languages.
Cons - If you have multiple adjacent rooms - such as a court building, or a conference with breakout rooms - each room may need to be on a different channel. They cannot provide 'absolute guaranteed secrecy' which may be needed in a courtroom, or other government or high-security locations.
Wi-fi: Pros - A wif-fi system can send a signal to the smartphone or tablet of each user, so they don't need to have a specialized receiver. This could obviously be a large cost savings.
Cons - Your wi-fi system needs to be very robust, and meet stringent system requirements. You may need a knowledgeable IT person to handle the installation. Other wi-fi traffic may seriously impact the audio quality. There are limits as to how many listeners you can have on the system, depending on the specifications of your wi-fi system. There could be logistical issues such as you may need to provide power outlets so listeners can keep their phones charged. You may also need to keep a supply of earpieces in case people forget to bring theirs. The technology is still quite young, and so may change more often than the more established technologies.
Digital FM: Pros - These newer systems - Digi-Wave being the best known brand - offer 2 way communication, and a high level of security. They can be used in almost all countries of the world. In 1-way mode, they can handle up to 15 different languages.
Cons - digital systems have a fairly short range, and are more expensive than simpler FM systems.
Infrared: Pros - IR systems can have total security, which makes them great for courtrooms and top-secret events. Some systems, such as Bosch and Taiden, can handle up to 32 languages.
Cons - generally more expensive than conventional FM systems, in some cases much more expensive. They have a much smaller range than FM systems, and may require skilled installation. Most IR systems are not very portable.