When you imagine using an interpreter, what comes to mind? Perhaps you see a grand theatrical play, a news station, or a college classroom, but another popular application is religious interpreting. Experienced and culturally sensitive interpreters are used to provide equal access to your Deaf and hard-of-hearing congregation members at services, celebrations, and rituals.
But Do You Cover My Religious Background?
Interpreting spoken language into sign language in real-time isn’t easy, but this is especially true of religious interpreting. This is why ICS has made sure to only bring on experienced interpreters that can cover a range of religious backgrounds, including the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths.
Which Kind of Religious Interpreting is Right for You?
Given the current coronavirus pandemic, the format of your event might be different than in the past. You might be providing services to your congregation virtually, live and/or recorded, outdoors, or in person through the use of masks and social distancing. In these times of stress, people seek out comfort, safety, and a warm welcome. As a result, you might experience larger turn outs to your events. A bigger audience, especially one participating virtually, often means a more ability-diverse one as well. To make sure that all of your congregation members are accommodated, ICS has made sure to have a variety of options that meet a variety of needs.
Sign Language Interpreting: With the goal of meeting all of your needs, the interpreters at ICS are well versed in a variety of sign language modalities and forms, including all of the body movements, facial expressions, and signs. Sign language interpreters are available to appear on-stage, on-screen, or even act as personal interpreters to individuals. Picture in Picture interpreting [PIP] is especially helpful during virtual events as it allows a small box to be added onto the screen within which the interpreter will appear. This box stays in the corner so that it doesn’t distract the general audience while also being conveniently placed for those who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Captioning: Often used alongside sign language interpreting, captioning can be provided as a general accommodation or individually. For open-captions, the transcribed audio will be displayed as text on the service’s main screen. For closed captioning, ICS can issue private links that open in discrete windows for those who are late-deafened or hard-of-hearing. Captions are available in a variety of languages too!
Media Accessibility Talent for the Visually Impaired: If there are members of your congregation in need of low-vision accommodations, voice artists are available to provide live/recorded audio descriptions.
6 Helpful Tips When it Comes to Using Religious Interpreting
- Request Early! When is the best time to request religious interpreting? Why, the minute you plan, schedule, or even start thinking about hosting an event! ICS requires a minimum of two hours notice for providing interpreting or captioning services remotely and a minimum of two days notice for in-person services.
- Be Detailed! When describing your interpreting needs to ICS, be sure to share your religious background, wardrobe preferences, as well as any customs to be observed while the interpreter is on-site.
- Care to Prepare! The very best way to ensure all of your event’s needs are met is to provide ICS with any and all schedules, sheet music, or formal readings. This is also a good time to be clear on the start/end times for your event.
- Location, Location, Location! During the event itself, it’s best that your interpreters either sit or stand towards the front of the space. They will need a clear line of sight on both the Deaf and hard-of-hearing attendees, as well as where the speakers will be stationed.
- Respect the Interpreter’s Bubble! In order for the person providing your religious interpreting to perform to the best of their ability, it is best to only speak to them before or after the event.
- Two is Better! It might sound unnecessary if your event is short and/or small, but it’s always best to ask for at least two interpreters. Sign language interpreting is an exhausting job and drains a provider’s energy quickly. When there’s a team present, the interpreters can take turns every 15-30 minutes. Preserving the provider’s energy this way also ensures both interpreter’s overall accuracy.
What Are You Waiting For?
You might be feeling a little overwhelmed by all of this information. You might have questions that haven’t been answered by this page. You might be thinking to yourself, “Am I sure I need religious interpreting?” ICS has coordinators standing by to calm your worry, answer your questions, and assure you that you do indeed need these services to accomplish equal-access. With more than 100 certified and experienced sign language interpreters and captioners, ICS invites you to give us a ring so we can help you take your ideal event and make it a reality!
Sources: Inclusive Communication Services. (2021) “Religious Interpreting”