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What's your experience with bidule system?
Thread poster: Franco Rigoni

Franco Rigoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
Sep 9, 2008

Hello, I've been asked to do a simultaneous interpreting on the occasion of a seminar about marketing. I accepted the assignment and a few days after I got to know I won't be working in a normal booth as usual, but I'll be using a BIDULE system. I immediately thought: "What the hell is that"?
I've only worked in booths and I've checked what it is in a book, but I wanted to know what your experience is with this type of system. Is it more difficult? Did you experience ore problems in concentrating? Isn't there any problem with the sound system? Isn't it a bit disturbing for speakers?
Thanks in advance for your comments and experiences!
Franco


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VMTTRADUCE  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:42
Italian to English
+ ...
I used to hate it, but... Sep 9, 2008

... I eventually found a "compromise": I always ask that they give me those big earphones as they have on radio & TV, which are perfectly soundproof, so that I can work in good acoustic conditions for our job.
The fact that my voice may disturb someone is not my business! If they want to spend less, the consequence is that they get a worse service. I usually just tell them that my voice will be heard in the environment around because I'm not protected by the booth and they organize something to handle with that. But it's none of my business and I WON'T WHISPER for their comfort!
Of course our rate remains the same. The client only saves the money for the booths.
Enjoy the bidule!


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Giulia TAPPI  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:42
French to Italian
+ ...
Working alone? Sep 9, 2008

In my experience, one problem may be that they ask you to do the interpreting alone istead of sharing with another interpreter in the booth. This may result in working simultaneously for hours!
On the other hand, I disagree concerning sound problems : the microphone is very sensitive, so you really HAVE to whisper, otherwise people listening will get terrible earache!


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Bidule??? Sep 9, 2008

That's the first time I've heard that term, but once I saw the description I recognized right away what it was; except for the "earphones" part, I seldom had any of those, and they were never the soundproof kind. Generally there was just me with a portable transmitter, often no sound system at all. I would just tell them in the beginning, "folks, get used to it, when the action starts I'm going to be in the middle of the fray. That's where I have to be if I'm going to understand what's going on."

Once they realized that the interpreting was working, they would accept that. Few clients were willing to pay the cost involved in a first-class setup. I speak of this in the past-tense because I haven't done much interpreting recently, but it is still the same.

And I WON'T WHISPER either; I don't know how to do it and if someone whispers to me I cannot understand. So they just have to get used to it.

Also, mind Giulia's comments on working alone, that can be fatal. But microphones are extremely variable. Don't whisper because people can turn down the volume, and many (like me) do not understand whispering.


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Franco Rigoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
There's a 2nd person Sep 9, 2008

No, there's going to be a second interpreter as usual. That's what they said and anyway, I couldn't do an 8-hour interpreting just on my own. Another question: where am I going to sit? Close to the speaker? Close to the audience?

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Franco Rigoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Big earphones Sep 9, 2008

Valeria Maria Tafel wrote:

... I eventually found a "compromise": I always ask that they give me those big earphones as they have on radio & TV, which are perfectly soundproof, so that I can work in good acoustic conditions for our job.


But in this case you can't hear your own voice, that would be kind of queer to me as I've always been told to wear the headphones so that they cover just 1 ear. What if I feel so disturbed by my voice that I can't do the interpreting? It's a 3-day job and I dont really want to mess things up!


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Big earphones Sep 9, 2008

You don't WANT to hear your own voice, you want to hear the SPEAKER'S voice, so big earphones are best. But I've had to work mostly with the small one on just one ear, and if I get good volume without distortion then I can make it even though it is not ideal.

I have a slight hearing deficiency so I hope your hearing is better than mine. I am very sensitive to poor sound conditions.

If you have good sound then you can sit far from the group so as not to be distracting. If you do not have good sound then there is no alternative but to locate yourself where you can hear and understand, because you cannot invent it!

Hopefully you will not be tied to a leash (fixed-base transmitter), ASK ABOUT THAT, because if there are questions and responses from the audience, for instance, you may have to move into the middle all of a sudden in order to understand what is being said. Either that or they have a portable mike to pass around and the discipline to use it, ASK ABOUT THAT also.

What you cannot understand, you cannot interpret.


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Hannah Dorthea Nielsen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:42
Member (2008)
German to Danish
+ ...
Batteries Sep 10, 2008

Do bring some extra 9V batteries for the microphone, because you risk that the meeting organizer didn't think about it, and then you have the problem...

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Hannah Dorthea Nielsen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:42
Member (2008)
German to Danish
+ ...
Self-monitoring Sep 10, 2008

Henry Hinds wrote:

You don't WANT to hear your own voice, you want to hear the SPEAKER'S voice,


Oh but yes, you DO want to hear your own voice, because you have to check upon yourself that you articulate well or don't speak in the source language or whatever else happens to people that don't monitor themselves.

Just keep some distance to your audience, then you can speak in a normal voice, you can monitor yourself and they can listen to you through their headphones.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Your own voice Sep 10, 2008

You will hear it anyway because it will be transmitted through your own head. You just don't want it to be so strong that it will interfere with the speaker's voice.

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