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Advice on using a Sign Language Interpreter
- Look at the person when signing/speaking to them through an interpreter.
- Look at the person who is signing/speaking to you. This may feel awkward at first since the message is coming through your interpreter.
- Address the person directly: Appropriate: “What is your date of birth?” Inappropriate: “Ask him his date of birth.”
- When possible, please share any notes, outlines, or handouts with the interpreter in advance.
- If, during the assignment, you plan to turn down the lights, remember to leave enough lighting on the interpreter.
- The interpreter may ask for specific seating/positioning to facilitate the best viewing angles.
- Speak in your normal tone and at your normal pace. The interpreter will tell you if you need to pause or slow down.
- People sometimes read aloud differently than they typically speak. When reading extensively from written materials, consider supplying a copy to the interpreter. Be aware of pace when reading aloud.
- Be aware that the interpreter’s role is to relay everything that they hear.
- Relax. If you are unsure of the appropriate way to proceed in a particular situation, just ask.