In addition to providing various interpreting services, Translators USA is also a vendor of professional interpreting equipment. Aware that sound quality is of key importance for quality interpretation, we use and sell only the highest quality interpreting equipment. But we are also aware that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. To meet the needs of different applications, preferences and settings, Translators USA selection of interpreting equipment therefore includes different types of interpretation systems using different types of technologies.
A Comparison Between Infrared and FM Interpretation Systems
In order to hear the speaker and transmit their message to the audience in the selected language(s), interpreters use two types of interpretation systems: infrared and FM systems. Obviously, a question occurs which one is better? The answer will depend on several factors including the setting, type of event and personal preferences.
- Infrared Interpretation Systems
Like their name suggests, infrared (IR) interpretation systems use IR signals. Since this technology works similarly to remote controls, it is crucial for all the components to be clearly in sight. IR interpretation systems are appropriate for both smaller and larger events requiring simultaneous interpretation. Obviously, larger settings require more emitters to cover the entire area.
Pros and cons: The main advantage of IR interpretation systems is that they are "immune" to interferences from radio signals, cell phones and other devices that use radio frequency. And since IR signals can't travel through the wall, these interpretation systems also provide a high level of security. What is said in the room, stays in the room which makes them ideal for meetings and events of confidential nature. Downsides? A few. IR systems are sensitive to sunlight although newer digital versions can also be used in bright sunlight. In comparison to FM interpretation systems, those that use IR signals tend to be more expensive, heavier and larger in size, and more complicated to set up.
- FM Interpretation Systems
FM interpretation systems, also known as RF systems use radio waves. Since radio waves travel through the wall, there is no need for an interpreter to be present in the same room. Just like IR systems, they are suitable for both small and large areas. Obviously, more powerful system is needed for an area over 1,000 feet but it is sometimes also used to cover smaller areas because more power translates into higher quality sound.
Pros and cons. Unlike IRs, FM interpretation systems aren't vulnerable to sunlight which makes them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. They are also more portable/mobile, easier to set up, can be hidden from direct view and can easily be expanded if necessary. FMs, however, aren't immune to interferences from radio signals and are not as secure. But then again, systems using the latest technology come with interference-minimization technology and special security features that ensure confidentiality.