THC Newsletter: Issue 1

Update from the AIIC Technical and Health Committee: Testing of headsets


Testing of Interpreting Technologies

Headsets (headphone and microphone)

In the context of the growing demand for hybrid and virtual conferences, which has grown exponentially with COVID-19, all stakeholders in the interpretative process (conference interpreters, consultant interpreters, speakers and other active event participants, event organisers and technical staff) need guidance on the requisite technical equipment for meetings with remote participation and/or remote interpretation.

AIIC’s Technical and Health Committee (THC) is constantly scanning the market for suitable products, including headsets, headphones and microphone combinations, audio interfaces and peripherals, platforms and services that can meet their needs.  Based on the requirements set out in applicable ISO Standards, reliable research findings and the results of test sequences commissioned to experts and supervised by Committee members, AIIC’s Technical and Health Committee will be publishing guidance documentation to assist all stakeholders.

The AIIC Technical and Health Committee headset list is the first in a series of planned guidance documents on ISO-compliant audiovisual peripherals to be used in conjunction with desktop or laptop computers in an interpreted event[1]. It is aimed both at interpreters and active meeting participants with a view to ensuring ISO-compliant audio throughout the event, a prerequisite for interpretation quality. 

This list contains headset models from different manufacturers indicating the compliance of their headphones and microphones with ISO PAS 24019 / ISO 20109.

On the basis of this constantly updated list, recommendations can be made for interpreters and active participants in virtual meetings. AIIC is not affiliated with any manufacturer and has a strict policy of non-endorsement of individual providers. Recommendations are indicative, and specifications should be checked with the manufacturer. 


Table 1: Headsets that meet requirements for interpreters and/or participants

Manufacturer Series Model On-ear Microphone FR Headphone FR

AKG

HSC

15

YES

20 - 20.000 Hz

20 - 20.000 Hz

AKG

HSD

171

YES

60 - 17.000 Hz

18 - 26.000 Hz

AKG

HSC

171

YES

20 - 20000 Hz

18 - 26.000 Hz

BEYERDYNAMIC DT 394.SIS[2] YES 50 - 20.000Hz 50 - 20.000Hz

CANFORD (88dB)[3]

DMH

625

YES

20 - 18.000 Hz

50 - 20.000 Hz

HAMA

HS

320

YES

30 - 15.000 Hz

15 - 20.000 Hz

Logitech

H

340 USB

YES

100 - 16.000 Hz

20 - 20.000 Hz

Logitech

H

110

YES

100 - 16.000 Hz

20 - 20.000 Hz

Logitech

H

570e

YES

100 - 18.000 Hz

31 - 20.000 Hz

Sennheiser

PC

8

YES

90 - 15.000 Hz

42 - 17.000 Hz

Sennheiser

PC

131

YES

80 - 15.000 Hz

30 - 18.000 Hz

KOSS

CS

100

YES

100 - 16,000 Hz

30 - 16.000 Hz

KOSS

CS

100 USB

YES

100 - 16,000 Hz

30 - 16.000 Hz

KOSS

CS

200

YES

100 - 16,000 Hz

20 - 22.000 Hz

KOSS

CS

200 USB

YES

100 - 16,000 Hz

20 - 22.000 Hz

KOSS

CS

200i

YES

100 - 16,000 Hz

20 - 22.000 Hz

KOSS

CS

300

YES

100 - 16,000 Hz

20 - 22.000 Hz

KOSS

CS

300 USB

YES

100 - 16,000 Hz

20 - 22.000 Hz

Table 2: Headsets that meet requirements for active participants

Manufacturer

Series

Model

Over-ear

Microphone FR

Headphone FR

Cyber Acoustics AC 6012 YES 100 - 16.000 Hz 20 - 29.000 Hz

HAMA

AH

100

YES

30 - 16.000Hz

20 - 18.000 Hz

HAMA

Black

Desire

YES

30 - 15.000 Hz

20 - 20.000 Hz

HAMA

Urage Soundz

113737

YES

20 - 20.000 Hz

20 - 20.000 Hz

Logitech

G

332

YES

100 - 20.000 Hz

20 - 20.000 Hz

Logitech

Zone

Wired

YES

20 - 16.000 Hz

20 - 16.000 Hz

Sennheiser

GSP

350

YES

10 - 24.000 Hz

15 - 26.000 Hz


These lists will be updated regularly on the AIIC website as new information becomes available.


The AIIC Technical and Health Committee

AIIC’s Technical and Health Committee provides a focal point for technological developments and health-related matters in the conference interpreting sphere, covering all issues related to simultaneous and consecutive interpreting and related technologies and equipment, including health and safety issues.

It provides assistance and advice, makes recommendations, proposes and implements projects and activities in the technical and health and safety fields. It undertakes projects aiming to provide conference interpreters with an optimal working environment to enable interpretation of the requisite standard and quality.

It keeps members abreast of technical innovations that affect the interpreting profession. It also works in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders of the interpreting service business and experts of several Working Groups of the International Standards Organization (ISO).


Consultative body

The THC offers advice and assistance to AIIC members, the Executive Committee and Advisory Board, groups, regions, other committees, networks and delegations as well as other relevant stakeholders in the interpreting service business such as international organizations and institutions, chief interpreters, architects, interpreting equipment designers, rental companies and manufacturers of equipment, researchers, universities and interpreting schools. It advises on issues such as designing state-of-the-art conference facilities, upgrading interpreting equipment and booths, ISO compliance, Distance/Remote Interpreting solutions etc. It has a representative on the AIIC Taskforce on Distance Interpreting (TFDI) for all distance-interpreting related matters.


ISO Standards

THC members have been active in the work of ISO/TC37/SC5, namely in Working Group 3  focusing on “Facilities and equipment for interpretation services”, the Working Group’s aim being to update the existing ISO standards 2603 (permanent booths) and 4043 (mobile booths) and define additional standards needed to take into consideration the latest technological developments in the field of interpreting. With THC input, WG3 has successfully managed to bring to market a set of five standards specifying requirements and recommendations for simultaneous interpreting:

  • ISO 2603:2016 (building, usability and accessibility of permanent booths),
  • ISO 4043:2016 (building, usability, accessibility, set up and dismantling of mobile booths),
  • ISO 20108 (quality and transmission of sound and image input to interpreters) and
  • ISO 20109 (interpreting equipment),
  • ISO 22259 (conference systems).

These standards provide the relevant requirements both for the quality and transmission of sound and image provided to interpreters and for the equipment needed in the booths.

In addition, THC has also participated very actively in the development of ISO PAS 24019, a publicly available specification addressing Simultaneous Interpreting Delivery Platforms used for the delivery of simultaneous interpreting services in remote interpreting settings.


Testing of Remote Interpreting Platforms

The THC is active in testing different cloud-based systems for remote interpreting in simultaneous mode (Remote Simultaneous Interpreting - RSI) available on the market, for their compliance with the main features of ISO standards 20108 and 20109, with a focus on the transmission of sound and image input and output signals.

The THC measures and collects data on the characteristics of sound and image in cloud-based systems for the delivery of simultaneous interpreting in remote modality (remote simultaneous interpreting - RSI),  enabling a comparative representation of the characteristics of input signals at the moment of feeding into the system at the source (measurement point 1: source signals) and output signals at the sink (measurement point 2: output signals transmitted to interpreters) related to the following essential parameters applicable to audio and combined audio/video signals for simultaneous interpreting based on the requirements of ISO standards ISO 20108 and ISO 20109: Frequency response; Lip synchronicity; Latency; Intelligibility; Hearing protection; Audio quality and Video quality.


Research and Development

The THC proposes or undertakes innovative research in different technology and health-related areas in collaboration with other AIIC groups such as the Research Committee (RC) and the Taskforce on Distance Interpreting (TFDI), as well as with other organisations. Evidence-based findings from research can be used to underpin future guidelines and recommendations.

In the field of remote interpreting, the THC worked closely with FIFA (the International Federation of Association Football) and the University of Geneva in a large-scale academic field study researching stress levels, personal preferences, job satisfaction, equipment improvements, visual input, physical reactions etc. Its members have also contributed to TFDI research, guidance and guidelines.

The THC is currently collaborating with other relevant stakeholders on researching several health-related issues such as the impact of CO2 levels in the booth and acoustic shocks (a key finding of our survey being that some 47.1% of respondents had experienced symptoms of acoustic shock).

Further research is also needed into other areas related to interpreter health such as stress etc. and the impact of technological developments (including but not limited to DI) and resulting practice on interpreter health and wellbeing.

Given the response to the acoustic shock survey, the THC is currently looking at the development of a hearing protection device for interpreters.


Group members

  • Klaus Ziegler: Coordinator           
  • Andrew Constable
  • Cyril Flerov
  • Francesca Lo Truglio
  • Gabriela Hecht
  • Gabriella Verdi
  • Marzia Sebastiani

Contact the Technical and Health Committee

technical-group@zcc2xnqm.aiic.net


 Notes

[1] Beyerdynamic DT 394.SIS requires phantom power i.e. from console or USB audio interface: cannot be plugged directly into computer audio ports.

[2] Requires phantom power i.e. from console or USB audio interface: cannot be plugged directly into computer audio ports. Canford produce a version of this model with an 88 dB limiter. To be tested by the THC.

[3] The Canford DMH 625 has an 88 dB limiter. To be tested by the THC. 


Recommended citation format:
Technical Committee. "THC Newsletter: Issue 1". aiic-usa.com May 15, 2020. Accessed July 8, 2020. <http://aiic-usa.com/p/9007>.