WorkWithInterpTips to guide you if you find yourself communicating with a Deaf person and an interpreter:

  • The interpreter is there to support everyone, including you –  they are there to communicate for both the hearing and the Deaf people involved in the conversation. If you have questions or something is not working for you – ask the Interpreter to help so you can be comfortable with the experience.
  • Try to avoid the natural temptation to speak in a loud voice and/or exaggerate the enunciation of your words in an effort to help the Deaf client understand you. Speak to the Deaf person as you would to a hearing person. The interpreter will do the rest.
  • Please speak to the Deaf person directly as if the Interpreter is not there. The Interpreter is there to facilitate your 2-way conversation. They are not there to “participate” in the conversation or begin sentences with “he said”………
  • As with most of us, preferences can vary. It’s great to ask the Deaf person to let you know if he/she has particular preferences. Some might and some may not. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ expectation. You can also ask the Interpreter, they are used to helping ensure that both of you are effectively communicating.
  • The sign language interpreter is there solely to interpret.  Many have been asked to fill out forms, pass out papers, help lift items or people, offer opinions, run errands and even babysit a classroom.  In education or in a medical setting, if the medical practitioner or teacher leave the room, the Interpreter usually leaves the room as well.
  • When booking an Interpreter through Deaf and Hear Alberta, alert us to any extenuating circumstances. Is the Deaf individual in need of an English speaking Interpreter?  Spanish speaking?  Other language?  Sign language is not the same worldwide.  Is the deaf person low visual? We do have interpreters who interpret specifically for the Deaf/Blind.  Specific details help us determine which interpreter would be the best fit for the job.
  • Feedback to our agency is so important. Did the Interpreter communicate easily with the Deaf client?  Was the sign language Interpreter professional and on time?  Did you have an ideal experience and prefer to work with this Interpreter in the future? You will receive a survey after the visit – please give us feedback so we can serve you better next time!
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