Designing and building booths for simultaneous interpretation

Guidelines for architects, designers, planners and builders of conference facilities

There are all kinds of simultaneous interpretation booths. Some are very pleasant places to work in, while others make the interpreters' job more difficult because they are not properly designed and built.

We want to give you some tips on how interpretation booths can be designed according to ISO Standard 2603 on built-in simultaneous interpretation booths, to make them places where interpreters can do their best work, and conference delegates can enjoy the best in multilingual communication.

There are two international standards that contain the requirements for built-in simultaneous interpretation booths and equipment:

  • ISO 2603:1998 - Booths for Simultaneous Interpretation - General Characteristics and Equipment
  • IEC 60914:1988 - Conference Systems - Electrical and Audio Requirements (International Electrotechnical Commission).

There are other details that are important to bear in mind from the start, which can mean the difference between well-designed booths that will make it easier for interpreters to do their job and ensure a pleasant, fruitful experience for conference participants, and poor design that can lead to frustration later when it may be too late to change anything.

These pages contain a few design pointers, based on ISO Standard 2603 plus some additional details drawn from interpreters' experience. However, the Standard contains much more detailed information than we can present here and must be consulted in the planning stage.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The conference hall
  • How SI booths fit into the design of a conference hall
  • A checklist for designing and building SI booths
  • Location of booths in the hall
  • The booth area
  • Communication with the technicians and the conference room
  • The booth
  • The booth dimensions
  • Visibility from the booth
  • The workspace
  • Lighting in the booth
  • Soundproofing and acoustics in the booth
  • Climate control in the booth
  • Simultaneous interpretation equipment
  • The interpreter's control panel
  • The sound system
  • Some important details in the sound system and equipment

Download the full report in PDF format below.

Recommended citation format:
Martha HOBART-BURELA. "Designing and building booths for simultaneous interpretation". June 27, 2002. Accessed July 11, 2020. <>.