The ALIS Spider - a "whispering interpretation" system

The ALIS (Alternative Interpretation System) Project was born out of the Social Forum Process and the BABELS initiative, with the aim to allow activists in the social movement to express themselves in the various social forums and initiatives, even if they don't speak the "usual colonial languages" (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese...)

In most cases, the social movements do not have the ressources to hire professionals and equipment at market rates. So they end up only using one or two languages, restricting communication to those participants who have gone to school and master foreign languages - this practically excludes the majority of the actors in the field (indigenous people, women, small scale farmers, workers, day laborers, precarious populations, migrants...). Their voice is not heard and they cannot participate in the debates.

While BABELS mobilizes volunteer professional interpreters who participate in the forums and offer their interpretation skills, ALIS has designed and built the technical systems that allow the interpreters to work (booths, consoles, wireless transmitters...) and the audience to listen to the interpretation in their own language.

The ALIS Spider was designed out of the need to have a affordable, lightweight and portable system for providing interpretation in small meetings, workshops, group trainings etc. The entire system (box + headphones + microphone) amounts to less than 100 US$, compared to other systems on the market - albeit with more functions - which cost up to ten times more. 

It is not a wireless interpretation system, where you sit in a booth. It is a "whispering interpretation aid". You sit in a group and speak into a microphone, the participants listening via headphones that are plugged into the box.

Here is an example of how it works (clic on image to enlarge) :

Also check out the User Manual

The Spider has several more “goodies”, such as “in series” connection of more than one device, a Line input which is mixed with the mic, and Battery/Power adapter operation.

See photos here: