iProbe Knowledge Base


Learn about ISO interpreter booths

interpreter booths are used at a multitude of events throughout the world, ranging from prestigious governmental and non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Commission to Fortune 500 companies, international non-profits and local grassroots organizations.

interpreter booths create an acoustic separation between different languages spoken simultaneously and from the speakers' voices when the interpreters and the presenters are all in the same room.

the booths are designed to accommodate one or more interpreters, as well as the interpreter consoles and microphones that are part of the language distribution system used to transmit the translation of the spoken words.

most private events do not warrant the use of an ISO booth as it would be impractical or too costly. In the private sector it is common to use non-ISO light weight mobile or ultra-mobile interpreter booths as meetings tend to last from a few hours to a few days.

interpreter booths are used at a multitude of events throughout the world, ranging from prestigious governmental and non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Commission to Fortune 500 companies, international non-profits and local grassroots organizations.

interpreter booths create an acoustic separation between different languages spoken simultaneously and from the speakers' voices when the interpreters and the presenters are all in the same room.

the booths are designed to accommodate one or more interpreters, as well as the interpreter consoles and microphones that are part of the language distribution system used to transmit the translation of the spoken words.

most private events do not warrant the use of an ISO booth as it would be impractical or too costly. In the private sector it is common to use non-ISO light weight mobile or ultra-mobile interpreter booths as meetings tend to last from a few hours to a few days.

description of ISO booths


what are ISO certified interpretation booths?

interpretation booths that meet the requirements set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are considered ISO certified interpretation booths. ISO standards are recognized, accepted, and implemented worldwide and exist to guarantee the quality, safety, and reliability of industry products and services.

the standards for ISO booths were conceived to improve the working conditions of staff and freelance simultaneous interpreters operating day-in day-out in work spaces at publicly funded institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations. A Better design of the booths improves the working conditions for these professionals, which in turn, results in a better experience for the users of simultaneous interpretation services.

in other words, using ISO certified interpreter booths can benefit organizations that consistently employ simultaneous interpreters for events, conferences, and meetings.

ISO booths are suitable for organizations and event spaces where simultaneous interpretation is a part of daily operations with sufficient floor area to accommodate fixed interpreter booths or large mobile booths.

types of ISO booths


types of ISO interpretation booths

there are two types of ISO-certified interpretation booths, as specified by the relative standards:

  • fixed Booths for Simultaneous Interpretation - as per ISO 2603:1998 (typically, these booths also comply with the International Electrotechnical Commission standard for Conference Systems, IEC 60914:1988)
  • mobile Booths for Simultaneous Interpretation - as per ISO 4043:1998

the ISO standards dictate parameters for things such as booth construction, dimensions, ventilation, lighting, safety measures, as well as booth placement within the venue.

ISO standards


ISO 2603:1998 - Fixed booths for simultaneous interpretation

the international standard for the planning and construction of fixed interpretation booths, ISO 2603, was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in conjunction with the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) and the staff interpreters of the European Commission. ISO 2603 sets out minimum standards for new and renovated booths. Organizations such as the United Nations tend to make every effort to comply with the latest version of the relevant standards.

ISO 4043:1998 - Mobile booths for simultaneous interpretation

full isolation interpreter booths that are ISO 4043 certified as a standard accommodate two interpreters. While the ISO categorization defines these booths as "mobile", we categorize them as "semi-portable" because their particular construction makes them much heavier and cumbersome to transport. They are made with heavy sound-isolating materials that meet the ISO 4043:1998 standards for mobile interpreter booths. They feature a modular panel system s. To meet the DIN 56924 norm the booth can be fitted with optional double glazing.

the ISO 4043 International Standard is an adaptation of ISO 2603 to meet the needs of transport and handling of mobile booths to be used in halls not equipped with built-in booths.

the aim of this International Standard, prepared at the request of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) and the Joint Service Interpretation-Conferences (JSIC) of the European Commission (EU), is to provide optimal conditions for simultaneous interpretation using mobile booths. The booths are free-standing self-contained units, assembled from modular components, that isolate the interpreters from sound from the proceedings in the room and between two or more simultaneously interpreted languages.

the main features of mobile booths, distinguishing them from built-in (fixed) booths, are that they can be dismantled, moved and set up inside the conference room. Still, as compared to non-ISO booths, mobile ISO booths are constructed with heavier materials, are more cumbersome to transport and take up more space.

booths that can be moved but are used on the premises and stored near conference rooms should be designed to conform as closely as possible to the ISO 2603 built-in booths standard.

the design of an ISO mobile booth is governed by four requirements:

  • acoustic separation of different languages spoken simultaneously;
  • good visual and two-way audio communication between the interpreters and the participants in the meeting;
  • adequate working conditions for the interpreters, whose booths are their work ¬≠place, such as to enable them to sustain the intense effort of concentration required throughout the day's work;
  • ease of handling and assembly and lightweight, yet sturdy construction.
Best suited for:
  • Events contractually obligated to meet the ISO 4043 standards for mobile booths.

consulting services for interpreter booths

iProbe offers consulting for the design, selection, fabrication and installation of interpreter booths. Professional consulting on ISO requirements and international regulations is offered to System integrators, AV consultants, and other organizations planning for simultaneous interpretation booths in their existing or new facilities.

Learn more...

target organizations for ISO booths


Which organizations should use ISO Booths?

  • Conference facilities hosting official meetings of international organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Organization of American States must make use of interpreter booths - mobile or fixed - constructed according to ISO standards.
  • If your event is organized in affiliation with a governmental body or NGO that is contractually bound to follow the ISO standards, you may be subject to those guidelines as well and should therefore use ISO booths.
  • Any independent venue in need of permanent interpreter booths, even if not bound to follow ISO standards, can benefit from installing fixed ISO booths. These booths will guarantee an optimal work environment for interpreters and can constitute a competitive advantage for the venue. However, keep in mind that ISO booths are more expensive and require greater floor space than non ISO-certified booths.
  • If you are organizing short-term independent or private events, you are free to use any interpretation equipment setup that is most beneficial to your event attendees and is within your budget and space capabilities. In fact, some of the ISO standards may even prove impractical for your needs because the manpower and time required to set them up make them cost prohibitive and inefficient for short term use. For example, the mobile interpreter booths that comply with the ISO 4043:1998 standard are very large and may take up a lot more space than you have available. They are also rather difficult to transport (even if they are defined as "mobile", they are really more semi-portable than fully portable). In that case, you might be better off renting non ISO booths that are less costly, more flexible and easier to move.