The Role of the Interpreter
- Facilitate communication between hearing and Deaf or hard of
- Interpret the message accurately.
- Convey the feelings of the speaker.
- Maintain impartiality and confidentiality.
How to Work Effectively with an Interpreter
- Meeting with the interpreter fifteen to thirty minutes before
the assignment can be helpful.
- Outlines, scripts, notes, copies of speeches, or other materials
should be sent in advance to help the interpreter prepare for
- The interpreter will assist you in determining effective placement
of the interpreter.
- Be sure there is adequate lighting and appropriate backdrops
for the interpreter to be seen.
- Anticipate that breaks will be needed. Interpreting and watching
Sign Language continuously is tiring. Allow for at least a 5 or
10 minute break every hour. Some lengthy assignments will require
two interpreters who will work as a team at approximately 20 -
30 minute intervals to insure the quality of services provided.
Because both members of a team are responsible for the entire
interpretation, guidelines for breaks listed above are still applicable.
During the assignment
- Establish rapport by looking at or talking directly to the
Deaf or hard of hearing person. It will help make your message
clear if you speak in the “first person”.
- Speak at a normal rate, but be aware that there will be a slight
delay due to the interpreting process.
- When reading from a printed text, take care to speak at a normal
conversational pace. (Research has shown that the pace while reading
aloud is double or triple that of normal conversation.)
- Allow extra time for Deaf and hard of hearing participants
to scan visual aides before speaking again.
- In group settings speak in turn, one person at a time.
- The interpreter will not participate in any discussions or
activities during the assignment.
After the assignment
- Any questions directed to the interpreter should be discussed
prior to or following the assignment if at all possible instead
of while the interpreter is working.
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