Today, the main meetings were being held in a marquee at the newly renovated and beautiful Astley Hall in Chorley. There would also be a tour of Astley Hall, a tree planting ceremony and a visit to the historic St Lawrence’s Church, followed by dinner back at the marquee in the evening.
It is always preferable for simultaneous interpreters to have a good line of site to the person whose speech they are interpreting. A good audio feed, obviously, but being able to see body language and facial expressions is also vital to be able to capture the nuances of the message being delivered.
When speakers are sitting in a square, facing each other, this is impossible, because no matter where you place the interpreters booths, there will always be someone with their back to the interpreter.
To remedy this, we installed remote HD cameras, programmed to zoom and focus on which ever “push-to-talk” microphone was live. These images were fed to monitors installed in the interpreters booths, so that a clear image of each speaker was available to the interpreters at all times.
The signal from the interpreters was transmitted around the marquee via Infra-Red. This is an ideal medium for simultaneous interpretation meetings for two reasons. Firstly, it does not cause any potential clash with radio signals that may be being used. Secondly, security. Because the signal is being transmitted by infra-red light, it stays within the meeting area, eliminating the chance of unwanted eavesdropping.
The other events of the day (the tour of Astley Hall, the visit to St Lawrence’s Church and the evening formal dinner) were covered by the interpreters either whisper simultaneous interpreting or using a “Tour Guide” system for simultaneous interpretation through headsets.
Everything worked perfectly. Now on to Sunday and something completely different!