Archive for September, 2009

Digitization of the SAVILLE analogue Conference interpreting recording facility: Lecture/Floor recording and CCTV streaming

The original conference interpreting lab setup had no provision for digital video recording of the lecture/floor. A workaround used on of the booth VCRs for analogue recording, with video form an ELMO dome cameras and audio from a lectern microphone – an audio installation which ran in parallel to the main DSI conference interpreting facility (and covered only the lectern, not the conference table).

A home-brew add-on was based on a consumer handheld digital camera for video. Experiments with different add-on microphones for audio from the lectern and floor were less than successful.

The DIS system however provides an audio out of the lectern an/or floor audio, as well as the capability for the conference administrator to open or mute floor microphones and for the technical administrator to set the maximum number of open microphones, and control their gain.

For the digitization of this system, I used

  1. an already retired standard university student lab computer
  2. to which I added an old spare ATI All-in-Wonder video card
  3. to which I connected a TEVION home TV switch as a poor man’s (~5£) video splitter into which I fed
  4. the (hitherto unused) DIS audio out balanced stereo, using an RCA adapter, as well as
  5. the ELMO video, using  a coax to RCA adapter (video signal was split into the ATI as well as back into the original SAVILLE Kramer AV switch).

While originally coming with its own digitization software, the ATI All-in-wonder also works well with Windows Media Encoder.

Two wme configuration files were created:

  1. this file on the computer connected to the central rack, then double-click it in order to start Windows Media Encoder, then click the Record button in the top menu – no custom GUI was deemed necessary for this non-student operated recording)  for recording to files that can be played with Windows media player, whether on Windows or on Mac OS X.
  2. (again, simply find this file on the central rack computer, then double-click it) for streaming CCTV live to the back office. An onsite admin office was one of the usual features of a teaching lab which was missing in this installation. CCTV allows to keep an eye on teaching activities in the conference interpreting lab, proactively spot support needs ands absorb feature requirements which instructors tend to have problems articulating (or even seeing the need for articulating). A (lower quality archived stream is created on the side and can be picked up, post-processed and archived at TBA).


Interpreting Lab Upgrade: Requirements and Vendors (Presentation 2009-07)

Screen-cast of my Slide Presentation: londonmet-interpreting-lab-upgrade-presentation1.wmv

Table of Contents:


Requirements For A Conference Interpreting Training Installation


Flowchart Digitization Of Learning


Vendor Solutions Categories


Vendor Solutions: Conference Interpreting Category


Vendor Solutions: Classroom Management Category


Vendor Solutions: Classroom Management Category: Face To Face Teaching Flowchart


Vendor Solutions: Classroom Management Category: Comparison


Vendor Solutions: Classroom Management Category: Synchroneyes


Vendor Solutions: Conference Interpreting Category: Braehler


Vendor Solutions: Language Lab Category


Vendor Solutions: Language Lab Category: Artec


Vendor Solutions: Language Lab Category: Sanako Lab 100 Sts


Vendor Solutions: Language Lab Category: Sanako Study 1200


Vendor Solutions: Language Lab Category: Sony Virtuoso


Summary & Question Period


Audience Feedback On Presentation

Character Input for SLA (Mandarin)

·        Input for east Asian languages can use

o   so called IMEs (Input Method Editors) which allow you to type Roman characters and receive in return a dialogue with

o   Handwriting recognition (not very usable with only a mouse as drawing devices.

o   How to easily type pinyin with tone markers

§  Use the Pinyininput IME from the Language Bar (or Input Method  Selector keyboard shortcut).

§  Its first mode is “checked” mode, which only accepts (mostly) valid pīnyīn (mostly valid in that it only checks for correct combinations of initials and finals, and not valid/invalid combinations of tones). When typing, if you place a number at the end of a pīnyīn syllable then Pinyinput will automatically convert the correct vowel in the syllable so that it has the appropriate tone e.g. Typing Ni3hao3 will produce the output Nǐhǎo. (…() “Checked” mode also optionally supports “érhuà” so things like pingr2 will be converted to píngr. The “érhuà” support is pretty simplistic, and it will allow any valid pīnyīn syllable which is followed by an r (even though such syllables might not exist in valid pinyin). (…)

§  The second mode is “unchecked” mode, and in this mode you can type whatever you like

§  (…) the user can optionally decide whether they want to use combining diacritic marks or individual characters [which] are probably the best way to go, as not all programs handle combining diacriticals correctly. (…)

§  Pinyinput can support multiple different keyboard layouts.(…)  regardless of the layout used, the letter v of that layout is always automatically converted to ü.

View a demonstration screencast.

·        Simplified Chinese

o   Select the pre-installed IME from the Language Bar (or Input Method  Selector keyboard shortcut).

·        More Information is available here; Foreign_Language_Character_Input.pdf

o   The LLC attempts to have the optimum environment language for learning preinstalled. Suggestions for additions welcome.

Language Learning Center Forms

Here you can download some forms which we use in our business processes.

Lab Assistant/Supervisor Job Application Form

Unless specified otherwise, submit to trplagwitz at