Working with a Sign Language Interpreter
Ethics of Interpreting
- Professional interpreters have a strict Code of Professional Conduct.
- All interpreted information is confidential
- The interpreter cannot interject or advise their personal opinion
- Speak in the first person. Avoid such phrases as “Tell her” and “Explain to him.”
- Look at the person when signing/speaking to them through an interpreter.
- Be aware that the interpreter must interpret everything said. Avoid discussing subjects you do not wish the Deaf client to know.
- Speak in your normal tone, at your normal pace. The interpreter will tell you if you need to pause or slow down.
- When possible, please share any notes, outlines, or handouts with the interpreter in advance.
- Be aware that the interpreter will try to position her/himself next to you, so that the Deaf client may benefit from eye contact from you and the Interpreter.
- Over the years, the hearing majority has attached many labels to the deaf and hard-of-hearing: deaf and dumb, deaf-mute, hearing-impaired, hearing-disabled, and many others. These labels are sometimes inaccurate and often demeaning, and are largely rejected by the very communities whom they supposedly describe.
The terms “Deaf” and “Hard-of-hearing” were chosen by the members of those communities, and should be used in preference to other labels created by hearing culture.