How to Use a Sign Language Interpreter
You have been informed that your client is deaf and you have scheduled a sign language interpreter. This may be your first time working with a sign language interpreter. Below are some tips that will help make the process go smoother.
Before the Meeting
- Positioning: It is always best to ask the deaf consumer where they would like the interpreter to be positioned. In most cases it is as near to the main speaker as possible.
- Brief the interpreters about visual presentations, share handouts and notify them if special audio will be used (ex: speakerphone, etc.).
Conversing with a Deaf Person
- Speak as though the interpreter was not involved in the conversation at all. Address the deaf person directly. Do not yell or scream.
- Look directly to the deaf or hard of hearing person when speaking to them, not at the interpreter.
- Increase eye contact.
- In groups establish turn taking skills, so that the interpreter can keep up.
- The mental process process takes time and a there may be a slight delay as the message passes from one language to another.
- Remember the interpreter will interpret everything that is said spoken or signed (even side conversations that can be heard).
- Remember: the interpreter is there to facilitate communication not to give his/her opinions, advice, etc.
- All sign language interpreters follow a professional code of conduct. Please visit www.rid.org
Common Misconceptions About Interpreters
- The interpreter serves as a tutor/personal aide.
- The interpreter might interject his or her opinions.
- The interpreter knows Braille.