08.03.07

Not lost in translation

AUTHOR: Inavate

One of Belgium’s fore-most language and translation colleges now trains its students on professional equipment following an installation by Swing CVBA.

Since its foundation in 1967, the Mercator School of Translation in Gent, Belgium has established a reputation as one of the best in Europe. Around 1100 students can study the full range of modern languages with strong emphasis on live interpretation in the teaching process.

As the college approached its 40th Anniversary it was clear to Media Services Manager Anthony Quintelier that an upgrade was required to the school’s interpretation training equipment:

“Recording what the students and staff say in sessions is a really important part of teaching interpretation skills. Up until now we have been using two track cassette recording to do this, attached to a microphone / headset set. The upgraded system uses professional conferencing and interpretation equipment and digital recorders.”

The company selected to carry out the installation was Swing CVBA, who won a competitive bidding process against to supply and install the €100,000 worth of equipment. Tom Haelvoet led the project for the company. Swing has outfitted three teaching rooms with a combination of Sennheiser and Dennon & Marantz equipment.

Anthony Quintelier explained why: “We felt it was very important that we taught the students on equipment as close as possible to what they would be using in their professional careers. We therefore selected the Sennheiser 8200 system with delegate and chairman units, and Marantz PMD 570 recorders. Students can record sessions onto a CF card or USB flash drive and take them away for further study. They are already so used to dealing with mp3 that it’s very easy for them to get used to.”

The first teaching room features a central table with 1 chairman and 12 delegates around it and then 20 interpreter stations in 12 booths (8 are double sized). The classroom is equipped with an AV rack. This holds Panasonic VCR and DVD players, a Dell PC and also features analogue audio inputs for external sources such as an iPod or laptop computer. A Behringer RX-1602 line-level mixer and Marantz 570 CF recorder are provided for the tutor to record the session.

The interpreter booths are equipped with one or two SDC 8000 ID conference units, an Ecler Sam215 line mixer and a Marantz 570 CF-recorder. The line mixer is included to allow students to set their own levels for recording the sessions. The recorder operates two channels. The first is a mix of any multimedia sources used in the lesson (such as a DVD or video), and the “floor” i.e. what is said at the conference table. The second channel carries the multimedia sources and the student’s own translation. All the students have the option of monitoring the conference via either the integrated loudspeakers in the delegate units or Sennheiser HD 200 headphones.

A scaled down version of the same system is used in a second room, which only caters for eight delegates and eight interpreters with one the teacher acting as the chairperson. This room operates four double interpretation booths.

The third room is smaller still. In this case the four interpretation “booths” are mobile racks equipped with an SDC 8000 delegate unit, an infrared transmitter to accompany it and a mobile Marantz recorder – the 670.