How To Work With An Interpreter

Professional spoken language interpreters and sign language interpreters are neutral and follow a code of ethical behavior; a major tenant of that code is keeping all assignment related information confidential. Interpreters will speak in the first person, no need to say “tell her or him …” when a person who is deaf signs the interpreter will automatically begin speaking/interpreting this is simultaneous interpreting. For spoken languages consecutive interpreting methods are generally used. Participants take turns speaking, so the communications are delivered, interpreted and responded to consecutively.

Look directly at the person who is receiving the communications, speak directly to them. The interpreter will interpret automatically and as unobtrusively as possible.

Allow more time for communication to flow back and forth. Allow people to finish full thoughts and statements. Manage communications so that one person at a time is speaking. Make sure communications are loud enough for the interpreter to hear.

Most interpreters can mange the interpretation to match the speaker regardless of how fast they are speaking. Exceptions may be when a person is reading or interpreting communications from DVD’s or videotapes. Interpreters interpret everything; sign language interpreters often interpret environmental sounds along with the spoken word. If you do not want something to be communicated do not ask the interpreter to omit it. Behave the same way you would with any person if you did not want them to hear you. Leave the room or communicate in a way that the interpreter cannot hear it. Interpreters satisfy a very narrow role. They facilitate communication between a hearing and non-hearing person or people who speak different languages. Asking them to do other things beyond this role is inappropriate and may inhibit their ability to interpret when needed.

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