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NEWSLETTER | 04 Oct 2019

State-of-the-art technology for university interpretation course students

Paul Ward is buk’s international sales and marketing manager and has 40 years in the business. He takes a look back at the history of simultaneous language interpretation and the advances in technology that have seen buk ensure universities in the UK remain at the forefront in providing world-class interpretation training.

Today’s technology for language interpretation suites at universities across the UK are, as you would expect, far more advanced than the first simultaneous translations that happened at the end of World War II during the Nuremberg war trials of 1945.

At the trial, four languages were spoken: French, German, Russian and English and the story goes that there were 12 interpreters sat at four desks separated by glass panels.

Interpreting equipment was basic, and people often tripped over cables etc stopping the proceedings. According to the Holocaust Encyclopaedia just six microphones were in use, although everyone had a set of headphones.

The trial could not proceed any faster than 60 words per minute because of the complex translation needs. If a speaker was talking too quickly the interpreters would turn on a yellow flashing light and a red one if they wanted the speaker to stop or repeat what they were saying.

Today, the 21 universities in the UK that offer interpreting courses are in strong competition to attract the right calibre of students from around the world. With tuition fees per student of up to £16,400 per annum, it is worth getting the technology up to date.

Within the past year alone, buk Solutions has worked with three universities to supply them with enviable technology to provide not just the basics but state-of-the-art equipment. In total, 11 of those 21 universities contain equipment supplied by buk Solutions.

This technology includes flexible conferencing multi-media systems, simultaneous interpretation systems, and digital interpreting suites incorporating multi camera tracking, web streaming and lately, integration with Sanako® language training software.

Interpreters have to be incredibly agile: they need to understand what is being said and instantly interpret this to another language in real time, employing a honed set of skills including motor, sensory and cognitive skills all used in unison.

To watch them in action is a humbling experience. We know that supplying them with the right tools, and our back up whenever needed, is vital. Our aim is to get it right first time for language departments, their lecturers and students.

See one of our recent case studies of the work we have done for a university. If you would like to talk about upgrading the interpreting suite at your premises please contact me, Paul Ward at buk Solutions on 01223 411601 or email



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