Equipment Needs & Options

Equipment Needs & Options

American Language Services has been providing language services for Conferences, Trade Shows, Symposiums, Meetings & Training sessions for almost 4 decades. We have worked in locations throughout the U.S. and Worldwide on a myriad of projects, subjects, languages, and equipment needs. Conferences and events can be complicated, and they include many elements that need to work together in unison. This is particularly true when it comes to professional interpreting equipment and technical support needed.

Our expert equipment and language consultants are available to assist you in the selection of your equipment that is technically appropriate for your venue and is consistent with your budgetary parameters. Below we will outline some good practical tips to assist you with your understanding and selection processes regarding equipment.

Determining Your Overall Needs

The first thing to determine is your event On-Site or Virtual and if you need equipment at all. For virtual meetings your main factor is determining what virtual platform you will utilize. We can assist you in breaking down the pros on cons of each so you can select the best option.

For small meetings, events, interviews and venues that are typically in one small room, equipment may not be needed. Also, the type of interpreting that will take place will to a large degree determine if you need equipment or not. There are two types of interpreting – consecutive and simultaneous.

Simultaneous interpreting is a popular method of interpreting for conferences, meeting & events. Simultaneous interpreters convert what is said in real-time. There are no pauses in conversation between the speaker and the interpreter.

Consecutive interpretation takes place when the speaker speaks for smaller chunks of time and then stops. The speaker is followed by the interpreter’s conversion of what was said to the audience. During these sessions, there are pauses or breaks between sentences when each party is speaking.

Typically, you will need interpreting equipment when you’re requesting simultaneous interpreting, unless the event falls into the categories described above. For consecutive interpreting, it is very rare that equipment is needed. Generally, the consecutive style is for smaller, more intimate events and the larger events usually are preferred for simultaneous.

Consideration in Assessing Your Equipment Needs

Once it’s been determined that you will be need equipment for your event, an evaluation of the following needs to take place:

  • Venue
    • How many rooms will the event take place in?
    • What is the timing of each session?
    • What are the sizes of the rooms?
  • Technical Considerations
    • Where, in each room, is the preferred location to set up the interpreters?
    • What is the exact schedule in each of the rooms?
    • What equipment is appropriate for the size of each room?
    • How many people will be in each room?
    • Discussion with your AV team and on-site team as to technology preferences and limitations
  • Budget
    • Every event has budgetary guidelines.
    • The equipment options that are available are individually priced based upon the technology being requested, the number of units needed and the time frame desired.
    • For example, there are fully encapsulated booths, tabletop booths and portable equipment. Each are used to relay information to your guests, but they vary widely in size, technology, set up and cost.
  • Client Expectations
    • There are times when your client or manager wants a specific type of equipment. This decision may not be based in pure logic, but simply a preference that someone is looking for regardless of budgets.
    • Once your preferences are relayed to our expert consultants, we will advise you on best practices and technology that will fall into specific perimeter.

Making the Right Selection for Your Event

The first choice to make is whether you will be going with a booth set up.  Booths are appropriate for larger events, larger rooms, main plenary sessions, when you have many people in the audience and if your event is in one large room. They are also very effective for smaller events when you need ancillary surrounding noise eliminated.

There are 2 main Booth options: Fully Encapsulated Booths and Tabletop Booths.  Fully encapsulated are fully enclosed on all sides and the top of the line of booth options.  They look great, work great and are impressive for larger and high-profile events. These are used when you or your client only want the best and want to ensure the interpreters are sealed off from the audience.

Tabletop Booths are another great option.  They are enclosed on 3 sides and typically sit on a standard 6 ft. long conference table.  They are an excellent sound blocker, have great audio clarity and are more affordable and convenient then the fully enclosed booths.  A secondary consideration is cost factors relating to each.  The tabletop option is more affordable for rental, shipping and set up then the fully encapsulated. Also, they are smaller in size, can fit better with limited space and are easier to move and set up compared to Fully Booths.

Booths or Portable Equipment (Headsets & Receivers) can be utilized for smaller rooms, smaller venues, for breakout sessions and for rooms that do not have enough space for either type of booth. For breakout sessions, Tabletop Booths, if they can fit in, are a great option to consider.

Portable equipment works great when there are relatively small numbers of people, the rooms are smaller, when the meeting is short in duration or when budgets are tight. This equipment has good sound clarity, is cost-effective, can easily be moved from room to another room.  It also does not require any special set up or tear down or need on-site technicians to monitor.

There are other options to consider helping enhance your event.  There are state of the art transmission equipment called WAVE Casts. This technology, which has been recently developed, lets you work with the audience member’s cell phone via a special application and lets you use Both FM & Wi-Fi. This gives you maximum flexibility and is a hedge against and sound interference.

Other equipment to consider are recording equipment, mixers, monitors, and microphones, including Push to Talk.  Each are specialized units and have specific applications and fill certain event needs.

What is the Best Choice for You?

The information presented to you above is a good guideline explaining how the equipment works and what the usage is for.  This information will provide you with insight into the process and will give you a good idea of what to discuss with your equipment vendor.

Again, our expert language consultants are available to assist you in the selection of your equipment that is technically appropriate for your venue, cost effective and in line with what your client wants.

About American Language Services

Founded in 1985, American Language Services was there to help pioneer the rise in remote ASL interpreting options. Our dedication to quality and client satisfaction in interpreting allowed us to shift from a one-woman agency into one of the most successful language agencies in the world. Our language experts provide CART and ASL interpreting services to people all around the world. Because of our 24/7 availability, you’ll never have to worry about us not picking up the phone.

AML-Global has some of the most impressive linguistic talents in the world. These highly skilled language professionals are recruited, screened, and tested to ensure high-quality work.

Contact us by email at or via phone at 1-800-951-5020 for a free estimate.


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