Hello and welcome! You’ve had a Deaf client come to you and you need to provide access, or you would like to reach out and work with Deaf people, but you’re not sure where to begin. You’re in the right place! The very first thing you do is find out what the Deaf person’s preferences are. They can vary widely—anywhere from no accommodations at all to request the use of a chat-based service to hiring a sign language interpreter. In this, we’ll be focusing on the last one, a sign language interpreter, and what that might look like.
Here in the US, you might find sign language interpreters also being called ASL interpreters, ASL being short for American Sign Language. The job of these interpreters is to facilitate conversations that are held in ASL and English. A misconception that frequently comes up is that the interpreter is there for the Deaf person. The interpreters are actually there for *both* the Deaf person and the hearing person. Yes, the Deaf person might not understand you if you speak to them. But you also aren’t going to understand them if they sign to you. Interpreters are there to ensure everyone in the room can clearly understand everybody!
I know you probably have some questions such as: How many interpreters should you hire? How should they be set up in the room? Will they arrive with the Deaf person? Does the interpreter know the Deaf person? All these will be answered!
How many interpreters should you hire?
How should they be set up in the room?
Does the interpreter know the Deaf person, and will they arrive with the Deaf person?
I hope this basic introductory guide to interpreters has helped you understand what sign language interpreters are, and how to use them!
Transcript and video created by Rogan Shannon
Also check out So You Think You Need An Interpreter? Part 2