8 Tips When Using an Interpreter
- When possible, please provide the agency with agendas, presentations and any other materials prior to the appointment.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
- Remember that the interpreter will interpret any and everything that is said. Do not ask them to omit or refrain from interpreting anything.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.