How does it work?

In practice

In the booth, conference interpreters work in pairs. Usually they work half hours, after which the colleague takes over. Depending on the subject, they may work longer or shorter shifts. However, the ability to concentrate deteriorates heavily after half an hour, so usually interpreters tend to stick to their half-hour shifts. Translation quality can suffer badly after having interpreted continuously for half an hour. For this reason, you will need two interpreters per language.

Do we need any equipment?

We do. The customer will have to provide a booth or a mobile interpreting set (e.g. a Sennheiser Tourguide). This equipment will allow the interpreter to translate discretely, with meeting participants using headsets to listen to the provided interpretation. A mobile interpreting set, however, can only accommodate a maximum of twenty persons. If the number of people needing translation exceeds twenty (which is the number of headsets provided with a Tourguide kit) or if the meeting uses more than two languages, booths will be needed.
In the odd case, it is possible to work without any equipment. The interpreter will then whisper his interpretation. However, do bear in mind that whispering interpretation is only possible when only one person (maybe two) is listening to the translation.


Many customers ask questions about confidentiality. Rightfully so. We work everywhere and with lots of different people, companies and organisations. They can rest assured: confidentiality for interpreters is absolute.
As an interpreter we often deal with sensitive information. Data can be confidential for different seasons: the company may be listed on a stock exchange, or the information is of a financial, personal or commercial nature. Apart from the obligation to stick to their professional deontology, interpreters also have an interest in protecting their reputation.