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INTERPRETER WORKSHOP. WELCOME!. Revision. So this is a revision of a workshop I did a few years ago for beginning interpreters. It will have most of the info from class, so you can just read through this and get the same info!. Workshop overview and Schedule. Code of ethics

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  • So this is a revision of a workshop I did a few years ago for beginning interpreters. It will have most of the info from class, so you can just read through this and get the same info!
workshop overview and schedule
Workshop overview and Schedule
  • Code of ethics
  • Professional conduct and culture
  • The interpreting process
  • Professional memberships
  • Networking
history of interpreting
History of Interpreting
  • Since the tower of Babel there have been interpreters.
  • Interpreters for the Deaf: no distinction between “helper” and interpreter until the 1960s.
  • Ball State University, Muncie Indiana 1964 the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf was organized.
helpers vs interpreters
Helpers vs Interpreters
  • In the beginning, “interpreters” were parents, siblings, friends and pastors.
  • Confidentiality and autonomy were issues.
  • No professional Interps until Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.
note not asl interpreters not sign language but for the deaf
NOTE: not ASL interpreters, not “sign language” but “for the Deaf”.
  • These “helpers” were moms and dads and brothers and sisters and kids and pastors
  • Evolved into Interpreters
  • Originally, idea of “Interp as a machine” to avoid the paternalism of the past
  • Later, interps were seen as “Language facilitators”
  • Currently, bi-lingual/bi-cultural model is prefered


ASL to English

English to ASL

t ransliterator

Visual English to Signed English


Cued Speech PSE MCE

other terps
Other Terps
  • Oral Interpreters- for oral deaf
  • Tactile Interpreters (Deaf blind)
  • Foreign Sign Language Interpreters (Russian, German,etc)
  • GESTUNO Interpreters (created international sign)
  • MLS (Minimum Language Skills) Interpreters
  • Team Interpreters (switch back and forth)
  • 3 way interpreters (multi-language or system)
  • Backup interpreters (help catch signs, supply words, etc)
  • Turn taking relays (fatigue factors)
  • Mentoring (brings coach)
types of interpreting
Types of Interpreting

Simultaneous- signing or voicing at the same time someone is voicing or signing- most common method in ASL

Consecutive- each language stops as other is used. Often used in two vocal languages.

rid code of ethics

1. Interpreters/transliterators shall keep all assignment-related information strictly


answering any of these questions would violate confidentiality even if asked by the parent
Answering any of these questions would violate confidentiality- even if asked by the parent…
  • How many Deaf were at the public meeting?
  • Was Johnny in school today?
  • Were there any problems in class?
  • What doctor’s office did you visit?
  • Does Suzy have that class?
number two
Number Two

Interpreters/transliterators shall render the message faithfully, always conveying the content and spirit of the speaker using language most readily understood by the person(s) whom they serve.

what do you think
What do you think?
  • Speaker is giving wrong information
  • Deaf person is lying and you know it
  • You are totally opposed to the views of the speaker.

The interpreter cannot interject or modify, but must still do the job.

number three
Number Three

Interpreters/transliteratorshall not counsel, advise or interject personal opinions.

what do you think1
What do you think?
  • The speaker is talking about abortion in a very militant, one sided fashion. You are totally in disagreement, and can see the client being swayed toward the speaker’s POV
  • The Deaf client asks you “what do you think?” on a break.
number four
Number Four

Interpreters/transliterators shall accept assignments using discretion with regard to skill, setting, and the consumers involved.

what do you think2
What do you think?
  • You are asked to interpret a play that you love, but you are given one day to prepare.
  • You are asked to interpret in court “just to fill in”.
number five
Number Five

Interpreters/transliterators shall request compensation for services in a professional and judicious manner.

what do you think3
What do you think?
  • “I am just a beginning interpreter, maybe I shouldn’t get paid”.
  • By asking for compensation, we help establish the value of our service, and thus the profession as a whole.
number six
Number Six

Interpreters/transliterators shall function in a manner appropriate to the situation.

what do you think4
What do you think?
  • Professional working attire, what is it?
  • Professional manner?
  • What is a low profile?

Interps must conduct themselves appropriate to the situation.

number seven
Number Seven

Interpreters/transliterators shall strive to further their knowledge and skills through participation in work-shops, professional meetings, interaction with professional colleagues, and reading of current literature in the field.

what do you think5
What do you think?
  • What does this mean?
  • Do I have to join RID and NAD? (see number eight)
number eight
Number Eight

Interpreters/transliterators, by virtue of membership or certification by the RID, Inc., shall strive to maintain high professional standards in compliance with the Code of Ethics.

what does this one mean


Nearly every profession required association memberships, skills assessment and continuing education. Membership dues are just a fact of professional life. 

you might give this some thought
You might give this some thought:

Think of a Standard

Determine a scenario in which this might be applied.

What are some challenges to it for you personally?

What is its purpose?

your expectations
Your Expectations

The next side was really for the workshop, but you can think about it too…

homework reflections
Homework: Reflections
  • The purpose of this assignment is to allow you the opportunity to reflect upon yourself as a professional interpreter. Please discuss the following ideas.
  • Begin by describing your current work situation, your educational level and try to give an objective description of your interpreting skills. What kinds of jobs are you qualified for, what kind should you decline?
  • What are your professional goals and how do you see yourself accomplishing them?
  • Which of the code of ethics do you feel will be the most challenging in your daily work?
  • What are your plans to continue your professional growth?
  • How can you see yourself establishing professional relationships with other local interpreters?
good morning
    • Code of Ethics- continued: questions and discussion
    • The interpreting process
    • Professional conduct and standard procedures
    • Networking strategies
  • The next section is about the interpreting process itself. Let me know if you have any questions.
the process
The Process
  • “The committee”-those internal voices we all have….
internal noises
Internal Noises
  • Internal noises
  • Situations/ interests/ likes and dislikes
  • Fatigue
  • Comfortableness
  • Physical needs: pain
  • Day care
  • Hunger
  • Thirst
  • Home stress
  • Personal issues
  • Grocery list
  • Fear
  • Self doubt
  • Can’t see
  • Can’t hear
language considerations
Language considerations
  • Thinking in concepts not words
  • ASL/ PSE/ MCE/ SEE etc
  • Region signs
  • Technical signs
  • Industry specific signs
  • Home signs- Minimal Language Skills (MLS)
linguistic considerations
Linguistic considerations
  • Grammar and syntax
  • Facial expression
  • Body language
  • Palm orientation
  • Hand shapes
  • Classifiers
  • Placement
  • Sequencing
  • Mouth movements
  • Finger spelling
  • Directional/ non directional verbs
  • Mouthing English
client considerations
Client considerations
  • Skilled user
  • Language level
  • Trust
  • D/deaf
cultural considerations
Cultural considerations
  • Punchline delivery
  • Bi/bi
  • Idioms
  • Interruptions
  • Power/ oppression
process considerations
Process considerations
  • Timing
  • Holding info
  • Speed
  • Concurrent/ simultaneous
  • Male/ female voicing
  • Appropriate language level voicing
  • Self correction
  • Lag time
external considerations
External considerations
  • Others talking/ signing
  • Physical environment
  • Obstructions
  • Lights
  • People in the way
the technical part of it
The Technical Part of it:
  • Understanding
  • Conversion from one language to another
  • Delivery
  • Ability to perceive the original message
  • Interps intimate knowledge of the language used
  • Culture of the speaker
  • Specific usage within that country
  • Interps background, both general education and specifics of the topic
  • Using speech patterns that are appropriate
  • Handling problems areas

Metaphors and proverbs

Allusions to literature

Jokes or stories

Speaker errors

Obscure or ambiguous material

Inserting reading from documents that the interp doesn’t have

  • Good control of delivery
  • Good understanding of facial expression
  • Changes in tone, inflection and intensity
  • Divide into groups of three
  • One is the interp, one is the hearing client, and one is the Deaf client
  • The Deaf client has an all expense paid trip to Disney World and wants a companion. Try to find out enough about each other to see if you want to go together.
  • Dress and Conduct
  • Time management
  • Unspoken Rules
  • Interpreters Bag
  • Freelance vs. educational
  • Paid or volunteer
dress and conduct
Dress and Conduct
  • Cocktail waitress in a Dolly Parton Wig!
  • Smocks?? Many interps just wear them to save wardrobe and look professional
  • To Paint or not to paint- nails are need to be well groomed and UN-painted
  • Deaf time for interps doesn’t apply! Professionals are ON TIME!
educating the hearing client
Educating the Hearing Client
  • Address the Deaf person directly
  • Do not direct questions or comments to the interpreter even in an effort to be friendly. The interpreter is there as a function, not as another person involved in conversation
  • The Deaf know normal greetings between themselves and interpreters are acceptable
  • Acknowledge interpreter and maintain professional demeanor throughout assignment
  • Interpreter is not a family member or close personal friend.
  • The Code of Ethics protects the Hearing client as well.
  • Give the interpreter a copy of the speech (lists of names, technical terms, etc) ahead of time in order to insure accurate interpretation for the Deaf audience
time management
Time Management
  • Date
  • Time
  • Duration of assignment  (4+ hours, requires 2 interpreters)
  • Number of hearing impaired participants and hearing participants (are speakers Deaf or Hearing?)
  • Contact person's name and phone
  • Nature of the assignment: voice or sign?, type of meeting? topics? setting?
  • Languages/modalities preferred by hearing impaired
  • Procedures for payment
the interpreter bag
The Interpreter Bag
  • Survival gear
  • Better than a purse
  • Grab and run
the interpreter s bag
The Interpreter's Bag
  • Interpreters, whether working in the community or in educational settings, must be prepared for a multitude of situations and most keep a carry-all bag in order to meet those challenges. Here are some suggestions:
    • black nylon
    • it can be set on the floor and cleaned off easily
    • professional and functional appearance
    • over-the-shoulder to leave hands free for signing
    • Try to carry it on the left side to keep pressure off your dominant shoulder
organization of bag
Organization of Bag
  • Four main compartments:
    • Three-ring binder that holds paperwork, maps, etc.
    • Food (snacks or a microwave meal, depending on the assignment)
    • Professional items:
      • cell phone/pager
      • personal business cards
      • agency business cards
      • agency nametags
      • PDA
      • pens
      • notepad
      • interpreting credentials
      • small flashlight
      • extra batteries for flashlight and PDA
      • extra watch or small clock (just in case)
personal items in bag
Personal Items in Bag
  • keys
  • driver's license
  • extra cash for food or parking
  • lipstick (for transliterating assignments)
  • water bottle
  • book
  • nail clippers/scissors/tweezers set
  • cough drops
  • brush
  • lotion
  • contacts case and rewetting drops
  • spare glasses
  • tissues
  • antibacterial gel
  • chewable Pepto-Bismol
  • Sudafed
  • Ibuprofen
  • A smock
  • An extra pair of panty hose
more bag tips
More Bag tips:
  • A medium-sized bag can be bought for $25 or less. Fashion and cost are not as important as functionality!
  • I always use travel-size items to save space.
  • Sometimes I have switched over to a backpack for school field trips - parks, zoos, museums, etc. It is much easier to wear it on my back than keeping up with a regular bag while interpreting on the go.
  • An interpreting bag is more than a purse and better than a briefcase. It is better to feel more prepared - you never know what will come up!
  • Most interpreters always try to keep a comfortable pair of shoes in the car, as well as a change of clothing for emergency situations.
freelance vs educational
Freelance vs. Educational
  • What’s the difference?
    • In time?
    • In pay?
    • In prestige?
    • In experience?
  • Most interps start out here
  • Unfortunately, has less prestige, since most of us started out here. I think this is unwarranted, as educational settings are diverse and challenging.
  • Pay is less (starts about $9/hr in Spokane)
  • Hours are more regular- 30 a week.
  • Works in the community
  • Pays better (starts about $25/hr for non-certified, $35+ for certs. Much more in larger urban areas: Seattle, LA)
  • Work less stable, “on call”. But reputation is everything and well known interps will work a lot!
rid membership www rid org
RID Membership
  • General member
  • Certification

Types of Certification:

ci certificate of interpretation
CI (Certificate of Interpretation)

Holders of this certificate are recognized as fully certified in Interpretation and have demonstrated the ability to interpret between American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English in both sign-to-voice and voice-to-sign. The interpreter's ability to transliterate is not considered in this certification. Holders of the CI are recommended for a broad range of interpretation assignments. This test is currently available.

ct certificate of transliteration
CT (Certificate of Transliteration)

Holders of this certificate are recognized as fully certified in Transliteration and have demonstrated the ability to transliterate between English-based sign language and spoken English in both sign-to-voice and voice-to-sign. The transliterator's ability to interpret is not considered in this certification. Holders of the CT are recommended for a broad range of transliteration assignments. This test is currently available.

sc l specialist certificate legal
SC:L (Specialist Certificate: Legal)

Holders of this specialist certificate have demonstrated specialized knowledge of legal settings and greater familiarity with language used in the legal system. Generalist certification and documented training and experience is required prior to sitting for this exam. Holders of the SC:L are recommended for a broad range of assignments in the legal setting. This test is currently available.

otc oral transliteration certificate
OTC (Oral Transliteration certificate)

Holders of this generalist certificate have demonstrated, using silent oral techniques and natural gestures, the ability to transliterate a spoken message from a person who hears to a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing and the ability to understand and repeat the message and intent of the speech and mouth movements of the person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing. This test is currently available.

certs for deaf interpreters
Certs for Deaf Interpreters
  • Certified Deaf Interpreter
  • Conditional Legal Interpreting Permit-Relay
why join rid or nad
Why join RID or NAD?
  • Newsletters
  • Strength in numbers
  • RID insurance programs
  • Looks good on a resume!

local networking
Local Networking
  • Hearing and Speech Center
  • South Eastern Washington Service Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

124 N. 5th AvenuePasco Washington 99301(509) 543-9644 or (888) 543-6598 Voice

vancouver school immersion
Vancouver School Immersion!

Register by June 10

July 13-18

$395 includes everything! (and the tee shirt!)

  • What can I do to create a community of interpreters/ signers?
  • How do I see myself involved in networking?
  • How important is it to my language/ career goals?
that s all folks
  • You have my website with links

  • You have the resources
  • Spread the word
  • See most of you on Monday!