The guided-tour interpreting system – light, unobtrusive, versatile About the guided-tour interpreting system (a.k.a. “bidule”)
Whenever space and budget-related issues make it impractical to use simultaneous interpretation booths, a different high-performance option is available – the bidule-based interpreting system.
The bidule is an audio transmission system that uses receivers connected with the same channel as the transmitter, and also includes a microphone (see photo).
The interpreter’s independence goes hand in hand with the extreme unobtrusiveness of the device, which does not require the use of typical interpretation booths.
The participants are provided with receivers and headsets limiting the audio to the receiver, thus allowing the speaker to talk without any voice over.
Additional strengths of the system include limited energy consumption – ordinary disposable batteries are used for up to three working days of listening without replacement.
The limits of simultaneous interpreting
Whenever multilingual interpreting is required, simultaneous interpretation booths are traditionally used. This is, in fact, the most versatile system, capable to address the need to translate the participants’ speeches into multiple languages for large audiences at the same time.
However, two features of the traditional booth-based simultaneous interpreting system may cause concern:
- non-negligible costs (technical support is required for set-up/dismantling, whose cost adds up to the system’s rental cost)
2.well-defined spaces (booths are cumbersome and require the necessary space for set-up)
When to use the bidule
The bidule has a broad range of applications, such as dynamic tours and visits, with people in motion, or conventions organized in small premises, which cannot accommodate booths.
Another successful use is during Board meetings with members from different countries, that leverage upon the simultaneous style of translation to limit the duration of the event.
Last but not least, in company training courses with multilingual participants, where booth set-up would be inconvenient and expensive.
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