Interpreter console project

Much of our work involves repurposing and repairing existing equipment, however from time to time it becomes clear that we need to create specific tools. We are therefore embarking on our second major research and development project, putting our 10 years of experience in the field of simultaneous interpretation into the design and building of an interpreter console based on the principles of open source hardware, that will meet the needs of the social movements we support.

This is an initial call out to find support from the project. The COATI collective is financially self sufficient for core costs, however, a major project like this will need outside funds.


We will also need design input from the people who will benefit from the console – other interpreting technology collectives, the organisations that work with interpreters and the interpreters themselves.

If you are interested in the project and/or can suggest possible funders we could approach we would be very grateful for your help!

Please contact: coati-console [at]

For more information about COATI and our committment to Technological Sovereignty, see: COATI and "Technological Sovereignty"

COATI Open-Source Interpreter Console

The consoles we currently use were developed by ALIS for the European Social Forums more than a decade ago. We have been working with, repairing and improving on these consoles for ten years, however, most are now reaching the end of their useful lives. We are sometimes approached by organisations wanting to acquire their own consoles, however none have been produced for years; the electronics are not easily reproducible and no schematics are available.

We therefore intend to design a new simpler console that will meet our own needs and those of the social movements we support. Our basic design criteria are for a small, light and easily transportable unit; simple to use for technicians and interpreters alike, as volunteers in these roles are often working with interpreter booths for the first time. The idea is for an all-in-one unit, with no need for a separate mixer, enabling scaleable, modular set-ups to cover the massive variety of meeting sizes and language combinations found within international networks.

Our first major research and development project, the Spider and Extensions published full design details, in order to facilitate others to build their own devices. The console project has the same goals but will differ slightly in the approach: instead of producing a single design we will instead take a more flexible, modular approach while trying to remain true to the spirit of open source design. Using pre-assembled, off the shelf circuit boards will significantly reduce costs and assembly time, while also providing a greater range of sourcing and customization options. Additionally, it should simplify troubleshooting and repair.

The project documentation will contain the specifics and building instructions utilised in our own designs, but will also examine the potential for alternative options. Somebody wishing to build their own consoles will be able to follow specific step by step instructions, but will also be able to opt for alternatives, as local conditions or preferences dictate. For example, they might choose not use the headphone pre-amp modules we recommend, instead opting for a similar unit that is cheaper or more easily sourced in their region. Likewise, they may opt for input/output connectors, to best suit their own circumstances.

Initial documentation:

Discusion document (ODT) (PDF)

General construction guidance (ODT) (PDF)

General construction guidance (ODT) (PDF)

[[Intitial evalutations (ODT)|Coati console project prototype intitial evaluations.odt]] (PDF)