8 Tips When Using an Interpreter

  1. When possible, please provide the agency with agendas, presentations and any other materials prior to the appointment.
  2. Try to maintain good eye contact with the Deaf consumer as Deaf culture relies heavily on facial expressions and body language to support full communication.
  3. Usually it is best if you and the interpreter are within the sightline of the Deaf consumer. Work with the Deaf consumer and interpreter to determine the best placement.
  4. Speak directly to the Deaf consumer in the first person just as you would in a typical direct conversation. Avoid phrases such as “Ask him” or “Tell her”.
  5. Remember that the interpreter will interpret any and everything that is said. Do not ask them to omit or refrain from interpreting anything.
  6. Avoid engaging in personal conversations with the interpreter or asking for their personal opinions as they are working to support communication and are not a participant.
  7. Speak at a regular pace and normal speaking voice. The interpreter will let you know if they need clarification or to ask you to slow down.
  8. Remember that you are a consumer too! The interpreter is there to facilitate communication between both you and the Deaf consumer.

For more information on using a sign language interpreter, check out our Customer Frequently Asked Questions.