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Simultaneous Translation

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Terence J, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. Terence J

    Terence J Guest

    Good morning,

    I need to record conferences where the English speaker is being translated into 4 different languages.
    I understand all the peripherals, wireless microphone for the speaker, translators in cabins with headphone and microphones, wireless receivers for participants to the conferences.

    What I don't quite yet get, understand, is how to link all this equipment so I can record simultaneously the speaker and the 4 translators each on a different track in order to be able to edit later on.

    Can anyone shed some light in this fog?

    Thank you for your help, Terence.
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Well, you need a multitrack recorder of some sort. Which means either a computer interface or a stand alone multitrack recorder. An interface would be easier since you don't have to transfer the files once recorded. You would need at least 6 channels which means you'll likely have to look for an eight channel interface. There aren't any 6 channel devices that I know of. Check out the Presonus FireStudio Mobile. It's a 10 channel Firewire interface for $300 or less. Comes with a very basic multitrack recording software. All you would need is a feed from each of the translators and the speaker.
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Hi Terence,

    Some of these translator systems are VERY complex in the signal routing. You'll need a multi-track recording method for sure - but where to plug it in is much more of an issue.

    Venues that host events of this nature may have splits for news/media, in which case you're in great shape. You just need a recording system and lots of cables.

    If there are no media feeds, you will need to know where all these mic signals go and what device(s) send them to their destinations. Otherwise there is little advice anyone could give on how to implement a plan.

    As an alternative to tapping into an existing system you may consider setting up a standalone system with a multi-track recording system of your choice + 5 of your own mics. As you say, the translators are isolated in cubicles another mic shouldn't be an issue - and it's not uncommon to see multiple mics on a podium at a conference.

    Bonne chance.
  4. Terence J

    Terence J Guest

    Hello hueseph and dvdhawk,

    thank you for your feedbacks.
    the conferences will be held in places with no audio systems, so it's all down to me.
    I was thinking of the Motu 896 MK3, an audio interface with 8x analog XLR I/O, connecting 5 microphones to it, speaker microphone is routed to one of the front headphone output to a headphone amplifier which serves the 4 translators headphone. Each translator microphone is routed to a transmitter.
    Do you think this would work?
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Headphone output of podium mic to headphone distro. Using the 896 analog TRS outs as a one for one pass-through for the interpreters? This should work. I'd make sure I had a good run through test several times first.

    Remember the prime axiom of live audio. How many mic cables do you need? One more than you have.
  6. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    truer words were never spoken.

    Terence, a few follow-up questions if I may...

    Will you also be responsible for amplifying the keynote speaker to a live audience?
    How far from the podium to the translators?
    How much distance will there be between the 4 translators?
    Are the translations done in real-time for the benefit of those attending the conference - transmitted via short-range FM or infrared on 4 independent channels?
    Or, are the translations solely for the purpose of the recording?
  7. Terence J

    Terence J Guest

    Hello JackAttack and Dvdhawk,

    "How many mic cables do you need? One more than you have"
    I guess you mean in case some cables are not working, correct?
    Indeed, testing is paramount, and before investing in the hardware I need help from more knowledgeable person, I'm really a beginner and it's not easy to grasp all the concepts.

    To answer your questions Dvdhawk:
    - amplifying the keynote speaker to the live audience is not in the scope, speaker will have a wireless mic, a T.Bone TWS16PT 863MHZ, just for the translators.
    - the speaker will not always be staying on a podium, as a matter of fact the speaker will be moving more than staying in place. Nevertheless, the speaker does have a home base and translators will be sitting opposite at 45 feet.
    - ideally, I would like to rent translator cabins to avoid having to deal with the distance issue between the translators and also to isolate them from the surrounding noise.
    - translations are done real time for the benefit of the conference participants who have short range T.Bone IEM 100R - 863 MHZ UHF in ear on independent channels AND for the purpose of recording.
    I can send you diagrams of what I have imagined, there are 2 versions.

    Thank you for your support, I really appreciate your straight answers.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I mean inevitably you are further from a sound source than you have cable to reach. And sometimes helpful people ruin your cables-drummers, stage hands, small children with scissors (actually happened). If you have a sketch of your mock up you can link to or post that would help us out quite a bit actually. By beginner do you mean you haven't run live sound before or just haven't done reinforcement in a conference scenario?
  9. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Yes, a diagram would be helpful.

    How many attendees do you expect will require IEM receivers?
  10. Terence J

    Terence J Guest

    Hello dvdhawk and TheJackAttack,

    I understand about cable and reaching the sound source.
    By beginner I mean really beginner, neither done live sound nor reinforcement, I'm diving at the deep end of the pool here and trying to do a crash course.
    posted a jpg of the diagram at Diagram
    Attendees requiring translation is unknown, but from experience and previous conferences during which we did consecutive translation, speaker says something, translator picks up, I would say 10 per language at the most, so 10 receivers per transmitter.
  11. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Terence, your diagram seems to have all of your specified needs covered. I hope whoever has given you this job has also given you a generous budget to provide all of those IEM receivers. Did you know there are infrared systems that exist specifically for the 4-language translation application? I have no idea what the content of your conference will be, but there are advantages to infrared in comparison to FM or IEM systems in terms of security. Infrared signals won't leave the conference room.


    I know these are available in Europe. Don't let the MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) scare you.
  12. Terence J

    Terence J Guest

    Hello dvdhawk,

    I feel relieved to hear the diagram seems to have it all!
    Good remark about the budget, I don't know, started studying all this on the basis of just a request, not even made directly by the speaker.
    Yes, I've also explored the IR solution and I have looked into renting as it is even more expensive than the IEM. Well renting seems to be still more expansive than buying the IEMs.
    Agreed about confidentiality but I think budget here will be the prime key to decision making.

    I'll keep you posted on progress and thank you for your help.
    Sincerely, Terence.

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