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The Chapter Hall

07/09/2009: General House

The Chapter Hall where the 21st General Chapter meets is the same one used for all the Chapters since 1967. The floor has been leveled from its previous gallery-type platforms, and is now one large, flat surface. To the main hall, on the same level, another space has been opened up on the side. This will serve as an entryway and for distribution of materials. From the previous structure, the platform and the translation booths have been retained.
The room has been rejuvenated with tones of smooth green paint, a metallic structure holding the lighting, video and sound systems and a framework of fabrics to minimize echoes. Improved cooling and heating systems allow better regulation of the temperature when necessary.

Division and seating of the participants

The Chapter Hall is furnished with ten circular tables, each seating ten people, a presider’s table seating seven, a podium, the president’s table and the secretaries’ tables with seating for four, one for each official language, plus a secretary who will keep track electronically of the various speakers. The four booths for simultaneous translation have two places each. In a central space between the booths is the control room for audio, video and lighting.
Four large screens, two on each side wall, allow all the participants to see the face of whoever has the floor as well as any projections that are shown.

The receivers for simultaneous translation are stored in the previously-mentioned distribution area at the side of the hall.

The Chapter network

All the participants at the Chapter have access to an internal computer network, developed ex profeso, to maintain communications up-to-date.

Delegate and other participants can follow on their computer screens, in one of the four official languages, the texts that are being discussed, can request a place on the speakers queue, listing the topic they wish to address, vote (with single or multiple options), see the voting results, consult the timetables for going to the airport, see the photos and videos that are published, automatically translate short texts, listen to music, check the weather in Rome, or see a wide selection of documents.

There is also the capability of having a video conference with someone outside the assembly, with the image being projected on the four screens, hearing the voice and interacting via live questions and answers.

It is hoped that the working papers will be distributed in digital format so as to use the least amount of paper.
Those doing simultaneous translation can see, on a small screen located next to their microphones, the person who is speaking or the documents being projected on the four large screens.

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