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Open To Interpretation

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Open To Interpretation

It’s the type of task you’d imagine many government departments need to take care of all the time: Take a VC call with an equivalent department overseas and conduct business via interpreters. It may not be exotic or glamorous, nonetheless, effective communication is critical to doing intergovernmental business, where every word, phrase and inflection can be crucial.

What sort of AV design best suits this kind of application elegantly and cost effectively?

Credible Audio Visual Solutions (CAVS) was faced with just such an assignment.


Firstly the room layout needed to be settled. A 20-cap boardroom would be supplemented by two ‘Focus’ rooms - boardroom for the bureaucrats and focus rooms for the interpreters. Separating the two groups left the boardroom to remain ‘all business’, while the interpreters can be allowed to independently get on with the sensitive job of interpretation with professionalism and precision - one focus room per ‘side’ of interpretation (English>Japanese in Focus Room 1 and Japanese>English in Focus Room 2, for eg) and two interpreters per focus room - like football commentators they tag team for better accuracy and to manage fatigue.

“We didn’t want to have the interpreters within the boardroom,” explains CAVS’ Josh Yeates. “That way we saved some space and kept the boardroom high level. Having the interpreters in the same space can also impinge on the concentration of people in the boardroom and interferes with a flowing discussion. That separation was the most important initial design criterion.”


A Cisco VC system takes care of the meeting in the boardroom. Two Shure MXA microphone arrays pick up the conversation in the room, while QSC in-ceiling speakers provide the output, all plumbed through a QSC 110f Core.

The interpreters in the two Focus Rooms log into the Cisco call but remain anonymous — neither seen or heard on the actual call.

Two interpreters per Focus Room tagteam throughout the course of the meeting in the Boardroom. One for translating out of English and the other into English.

Each Focus Room features a WilliamsAV IC panel which can handle two headsets with individual control over levels.

The interpreters’ audio is routed to a Williams AV IR transmitter in the Boardroom. The participants in the meeting take a pack from the charge bay and select which translation they wish to hear in their over-ear set (or they can use a hearing loop lanyard if they have a T Loop hearing aid).


A WilliamsAV system takes care of the interpretation aspects.

A WilliamsAV IC-2 Interpreter Control Console acts as the hub in each focus room. Both interpreters can plumb into the IC-2 simultaneously, with parallel controls on the unit for each. The interpretation is routed through the Q-Sys Core and into the WilliamsAV infrared transmitter in the boardroom. The participants can hear the results via WilliamsAV IR receiver/headphones or hearing loops. The in-room listener can choose which channel they’d like depending on whether they’re an English speaker or not. The Webex call audio is piped through the QSC Acoustic Design in-ceiling speakers.

“The WilliamsAV infrared system provided more flexibility with how we were able to implement it and it was also more cost effective, which always helps. The IR approach is quite clean — the only table-mounted device in this solution was the Cisco touch panel.”