How to work with interpreters

The Interpreter’s role is to facilitate communication, not to participate.

Using an Interpreter: Address the audience or individual, not the interpreter. Do not use “tell her/him” to the interpreter. It is helpful to provide prepared text for speeches beforehand that can be given to the interpreters.

Interpreter Seating: The interpreter will stand or sit near the main speaker. This permits the consumer to have eye contact with both the speaker and the interpreter. Interpreters can only interpret for one speaker at a time.

Time Lag: Usually an interpreter is a few words or phrases behind the speaker. Please allow for a slight pause for people who are D/deaf to respond or ask questions.

Long-term Interpreting: For an event that is longer than two hours, two interpreters may be needed. Interpreting is a physically demanding task which can lead to repetitive motion injuries. To maintain quality and clarity, team interpreting will generally alternate every 15-20 minutes, one actually interpreting, the other actively providing backup and support depending on the content.

Lighting and Background: Adjustments may sometimes be necessary to allow the D/deaf participate to clearly see the interpreter.

Categories: Communication Access
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