Working With An Interpreter
The sign language interpreter’s role is to facilitate communication and convey all auditory and signed communication occurring between deaf and hearing individuals.
- Communication between deaf/hard of hearing individuals is facilitated through the interpreter. The interpreter signs everything that
happens in the room. This may include a lecture; discussion, comments, questions; and environmental sounds that can be heard whether they are
inside or outside the room. No personal communication occurs between the interpreter and the deaf person.
- Talk directly to the deaf person, as if the interpreter was not there. Do not direct comments to the interpreter (i.e. “Tell him…” or “Ask her…”) or ask
the interpreter’s opinion or comments regarding the content of the class/meeting.
- Help the interpreter stay in his/her role. Avoid private comments/conversations with the interpreter when he/she is working. Everything spoken will be
interpreted regardless of suggestions to disregard or not interpret a comment.
- Speak naturally and at your normal pace. The interpreter will adjust to you. If necessary, the interpreter will ask you to repeat information.
- Generally, the interpreter will stand either to your left or to your right. This enables the deaf/hard of hearing person to establish eye
contact with both you and the interpreter. Wherever the interpreter stands, there must be good lighting available.
- When using demonstrations and visual aids, it is important for the speaker to allow extra time for the deaf person to see what is
being demonstrated as well as to see what is being signed.
- Avoid such vague references as “this” and “that.”
- When using an overhead projector, slides, videotapes, and/or films, it may be necessary to dim the lighting in the
room. Maintain enough lighting for the interpreter to be clearly seen.
- If the deaf person is not in attendance, the interpreter will remain for 15 minutes before leaving.
- Long stretches of interpreting may require a team of interpreters working together. They will take turns, rotating
approximately every 20 minutes. There is no need to pause the lecture during these changes.
- If you wish to discuss any problems with the interpreter about the interpreting situation, please wait until
a break. Together with the deaf person, decide on a solution.
- If you would like to speak to the deaf person after a class, and will need the assistance of the interpreter,
ask the interpreter if she/he can stay for a few minutes. Do not assume that the interpreter is free; she/he may
have another assignment immediately..
- An interpreter can only accommodate one speaker at a time. You may need to remind people in a group discussion to take turns speaking.
- UND Interpreters are associated with the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and are bound by a Code of Professional Behavior which
requires impartiality and confidentiality of all assignment related information.
http://www.rid.org/ethics/code/index.cfm for details.