When the going gets tough and speeches are fast and furious, it’s hard to interpret every last detail.

Names, numbers, and some terminology often end up getting short shrift.

Speech recognition technology can help to bridge the gap, feeding you figures and terms from your glossary and reducing your cognitive load.

Wondering what this actually looks like? Check out this example of speech recognition in action.

If you’re interpreting remotely or testing out speech recognition from your home computer, you can use software to send the audio you’re interpreting to the speech recognition engine. (More on that in our Speech Recognition for Interpreters course!)

But how exactly do you connect your laptop to the console in the booth?

In this post, we’ll discuss the hardware you need and talk you through every step of the process. (We promise it’s not complicated - and we’ve put together a free mini-guide to make set-up even easier!)

Download the free mini-guide to setting up your laptop and console for speech recognition

The gear you need

How to connect your laptop to the interpreting console

Start by running two audio cables out of the console - one for the headphones you’ll be using to interpret, and another to provide the sound to your laptop.

Many modern consoles have two headphone jacks, but if not, you can use a simple splitter, like this one.

Plug your headphones into one of the jacks, and a 3.5 mm audio cable into the other. The other end of that audio cable goes into your computer.

Although many Windows computers recognize the incoming audio without any problems, most Macs will require an external sound card.

Luckily, an external sound card is inexpensive and easy to set up.

Just plug your sound card into your computer using the USB port, then plug the audio cable into your sound card.

Make sure the sound card you purchase is compatible with your computer’s operating system and USB ports. Most laptops support USB-A sound cards. Newer models (especially MacBooks) only have USB-C ports. Since many laptops may be limited to a single USB-C port, pick up a USB-C sound card that allows for passthrough charging, like this one.

And...that’s it!

We’ve put together a little video to walk you through these steps. Check it out, then download our free mini-guide to help you connect your laptop to the console when you’re in the booth.

Download the free mini-guide to setting up your laptop and console for speech recognitionThis post includes Amazon affiliate links to products we recommend. If you use these links to purchase your snazzy new gear, we’ll get a small commission to support our work.