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Olympic Interpretation

Oct 6, 2009 4:08 PM


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SportAccord, formerly the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), is an international organization acting as an umbrella organization intending to provide one arena for sport federations to meet and discuss topics pertaining to the world of sport. Their main offices are in Lausanne Switzerland, and they are home to the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee as well as the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and the Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF).

Each year, SportAccord hosts a five-day convention for the more than 100 sport federations across the globe, allowing the many leaders of the sporting world, including the executive board of the International Olympic Committee, to meet and interact in one location. On average, 1500 to 2000 attendees will travel from more than 60 countries to take part in the 5 day event, hoping to gain new information on the topics concerning their sport.

In March of 2009, Denver hosted the annual SportAccord Convention, with various panel discussions, conferences, and interviews held in seven different meeting rooms at the Hyatt Regency. Guest speakers included sport legends such as Andre Agassi and media giant Ted Turner, while exhibitor presentations by the four candidate cities of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games were given as well.

This year would be the first convention held by SportAccord within the United States, and while the official language of the organization is English, many of the sessions were to be carried out in a multilingual setting, requiring language interpretation systems in addition to traditional event AV. For this reason, Eric Newkirk the production coordinator at Ceavco AV chose the Taiden HCS-5100 language interpretation solution to cover each and every meeting requiring multiple languages.

“We knew that there was a lot riding on the interpretation side of this event. SportAccord and specifically the International Olympic Committee were looking for a solution that would be easy to use for their members. The interpretation system needed to be simplistic in design while at the same time, operate without failure. We needed a system that we could rely on,” Newkirk says. “And that’s just what the Taiden system gave us—reliability.”

Newkirk spoke with the North American Taiden distributor Media Vision USA to discuss the details of each room and the meetings that would take place. The high demand for quick set up and quality audio made the Taiden 3600 series an easy choice for the delegate microphones because of its robust audio signal and its fast and flexible set up. Language interpretation was carried out by teams of interpreters using the HCS-4385K, and the 5100 series provided Infrared wireless distribution for the various languages being spoken.

By far the largest of the seven rooms was the general assembly room where there were 138 HCS-3632 push-to-talk (PTT) delegate stations, 350 HCS-5100R/08 infrared language receivers (channel selectors), and five HCS-5100T/25 infrared transmitters that were mounted to trusses approximately 30ft. above the floor. The International Olympic Committee had fewer delegates, but it was also connected to a videoconferencing system, and it hosted meetings with the IOC counterpart in Switzerland. The system provided language interpretation for the participants and observers within the IOC room. Lastly, the press room provided for a panel of eight at the front of the room with an additional 70 delegate stations for journalists and reporters to ask questions. Interpretation was provided to the participants as well as audio distribution amps for recording and broadcasting.

“The advantage of the Taiden solution,” Newkirk says, “is that the system can be self contained as a fully functional standalone solution, or [it] can be integrated as needed into the house PA system, third-party recording systems, and videoconferencing systems.”

The interpreter unit provided many advantages for this event including adjustable microphone gain for individual units, a true plug-and-play design that allowed engineers to make quick changes between sessions (or during sessions), and light-weight headsets that let the interpreters hear the incoming audio clearly and comfortably.

Even though the larger rooms had a PA system brought in to provide sound reinforcement of the floor language, the medium-sized rooms were able to use the built-in loudspeaker on each of the Taiden delegate stations to provide ample sound reinforcement of not just the microphone signals, but any program audio added to the Taiden system as well.

Security was another large factor for this event. With sensitive information being discussed and then broadcast wirelessly throughout each conference room, it was necessary to have a distribution system that would keep the signal safe from eavesdropping. Fortunately, the system has inherent characteristics that kept the audio signal from leaving the room. Infrared is a line of sight technology and as such will not pass thru walls or opaque surfaces. This means that any conversation taking place within a room will stay in that room and cannot be detected from outside the walls of that room.

In the end, thru a collaborative effort of volunteers, event coordinators, AV providers, and their onsite teams, this year’s annual SportAccord international convention was a huge success. Participants from around the world were able to discuss topics in multiple languages and understand each other.



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