Tuesday, May 22, 2012

8 useful tips for hearing people working with an interpreter

Photo Source: deafservicesqld.org.au
By Ariana Lee-Fisher, DSB Staff Interpreter
Politeness is always a matter of perception, which in turn is based on cultural concepts that can vary greatly between any two people. When it comes to communicating with deaf individuals through an interpreter it is best to avoid offensive behavior by following these 8 tips:

  1. Avoid saying things like “Tell him/her,” “can he/she…” and just speak directly to the deaf client.
  2. When speaking to the deaf client, do not look at the interpreter, the interpreter is merely there to facilitate communication.
  3. Try not to speak too fast and jump from one topic to another quickly.  Remember, the communication process is always a little bit slower when 3+ people and 2 languages are involved.
  4. Try to use complete sentences and relay complete thoughts at all times.
  5. Always speak clearly and make sure the interpreter can hear you.
  6. Make sure the line of sight is clear between the interpreter and the deaf client; do not walk in between them while you are speaking.
  7. If something has been given to the deaf client to read, make sure the client looks up before you begin speaking again.
  8. Remember…the interpreter will communicate everything in the room (i.e. phone calls, private conversations, environmental sounds…etc.) and it will all be kept confidential.

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