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Simultaneous Translation Equipment

This page is about PURCHASING a translation system.

Click here if you would rather RENT a translation system

This 10 minute video explains what you need to know in order to buy translation equipment.

If you have listeners who do not understand the language of your meetings, a translation or interpreting equipment system will help you bridge the language barrier.

If you are looking for an automatic translation machine, we are sorry to say there is no such equipment yet.

You will need someone to act as the interpreter. Our equipment will allow the interpreter’s voice to reach those who need to hear it, while minimizing the disturbance to those who don’t need it.


As of July 11th, 2013, the FCC has approved both 216MHz AND 72 MHz products for language translation within the USA, as well as for assistive listening. This is great news, as 72 MHz equipment is often less expensive than 216 MHz equipment.

Many countries require FM interpretation equipment and FM assistive listening equipment to use specific frequencies that may be different from those used in the USA. Please check with the appropriate regulatory authority before purchasing.

Simultaneous Translation Equipment


What is translation equipment?

There are three terms that you might come across when it comes to translation equipment: Translation equipment, Interpreting equipment, and Interpretation equipment. These are just three different names for the same thing. If you are lost and don’t know where to start, do not worry because there are many options out there. The first thing that you will need is a human interpreter. The next thing is the material that needs to be translated; a speech, a sermon, or any kind of public event. Once you have these two crucial parts, the next thing you need is translation equipment.

The requirements for your interpreting system

The most popular form of translation equipment is FM radio-based equipment. In order for the interpreter’s voice to reach the people that are listening, you need to set up a miniature radio station. The first item that you need once you start the interpreting process is a transmitter.


Imagine you are in a small meeting room or at a church sanctuary and you need to move around while you are speaking. In that situation the right transmitter for you is a small battery-powered portable transmitter known as Williams Sound PPA T46. These types of transmitters have a range of about 150 feet which makes them perfect for a small meeting. Since they are battery-operated and portable, they are excellent for cases when you move around and speak such as when you are doing a tour of a factory or tourist location. They are simple to operate and not very expensive making them one of the best choices out there.

The next option is the Williams Sound PPA T27. This is a tabletop transmitter which plugs into 110 volts. This one has a much bigger range; it can go up to about a thousand feet with the right antenna. Nevertheless, it is quite simple to operate. It has very few controls on it, you can change the channel and you can plug in a microphone. If you need a transmitter for your event where you don’t have a lot of technical staff then this high-powered transmitter with its simple operation will be a good choice for you.

The third transmitter in this list is a more complex tabletop transmitter, the Williams Sound PPA T55. This one runs on 110 volts and with the right antenna, it has a range of about a thousand feet. It contains several functions within the menu and you can change a lot of advanced settings, such as the compression slope, the high-pass, and low-pass filters, etc. It also has the huge advantage of including a Wi-Fi transmitter. This (along with the correct wi-fi equipment) allows attendees to listen to the interpretation on their smartphones via a free app. If you are not familiar with these terms and you want a simpler piece of equipment where you don’t have to worry about these kinds of things, suitable alternatives might be the Williams Sound PPA T27 mentioned above, or the LT 800 from Listen Technologies.


Once you have the right transmitter and you send out the signal, you need to connect a microphone to that transmitter. There is a range of possible choices when it comes to microphones. These choices include a headset microphone, a handheld microphone, lapel mic, etc. One of the most popular ones you can find is the Headband Microphone, this one goes over the head and around the ears. To connect microphones with your transmitter, you simply plug them into the transmitter. If you are using the Williams PPA T46 or the Listen LT 700, plug your headband microphone straight in that. A similar version of this microphone with a different plug can be used to connect with the Williams PPA T55 or Listen LT800 transmitters.


After you choose your transmitter and you have a microphone, the radio signal will be sent out, this signal will carry the interpreter’s voice. Once the signal is sent, the listener will need something in order to pick up that signal, that’s when you need a specialized radio receiver. The specialized radio receiver will have to be on a special frequency so that it can pick up that one transmitter that you are working with. You need to have of receiver for each of your listeners. A very popular option is the William Sound PPA R37 receiver. Williams Sound also makes a couple of other receivers, which are PPA R37-8 and PPA R38. Both of these receivers allow you to listen to any one of multiple channels going on at the same time; if you have multiple interpreters doing several different languages, you can tune each transmitter and each receiver to a different channel. You can have up to eight different languages going on if you are using these kinds of receivers.

There are some equivalent receivers from the Listen Technologies, the LR 400 is a really popular model. This one is part of the older technology models, while LR 4200 is a newer model and a well-designed unit. This device has different features, one of its best ones is that you can recharge it with a standard USB mini plug. Another feature is that it has two headphone jacks so if you have two people who are listening to the same language, they can use the same receiver. This helps in keeping the cost down because you only need half as many. It is a slightly more expensive unit but the sharing feature makes it more reasonable.

As mentioned above, if you are using the Williams Sound PPA T55 transmitter, and if you have the appropriate wi-fi equipment, listeners can use their own smart devices and an app to listen to the audio. This can save a lot of money since you may not need to buy FM receivers.

Earpieces or Headphones

After you get equipped with a transmitter with a microphone and you have a receiver for each of your listeners, now you need an earpiece or headphone for them. There are quite a few options here. Here you have the Williams Sound EAR 008 or the EAR 022. Since this one item is made of hard plastic, you can easily wipe it with a little alcohol swab and you won’t have any hygiene concerns about it. Next on, there is also a standard single earbud with a foam cover (Williams EAR 013). While a standard headphone is the Williams Sound HED 021, which goes over the head, covers both the ears and has foam covers that are replaceable and they are washable. It is convenient to have both ears covered, making it possible to block out any other sounds that you don’t want to hear.

So, the essential things that you need for an interpreting system are:

  • transmitters
  • microphones
  • receivers
  • headphones or earpieces

Additional devices

There is a couple of optional extra equipment that you can include in your interpreting package. Firstly, it involves the carrying case. A carrying case is very helpful to keep things together in a good condition. Secondly, you might need an interpreter control console or interpreter unit. The perfect example is William Sound IC 2 and this is used in conjunction with the Williams PPA T55 transmitter for professional conference situations. This allows two interpreters to work together as a team, it allows them to switch rapidly and silently between each other, that’s why it is common in professional conferences.

All the equipment we sell is FCC approved for translation and assistive listening in the USA. Please call us if you need equipment that can be used overseas.