Aspire for the Deaf Adult Learner

One Teachers Experiences
Classroom Strategies I
Classroom Strategies II
Curriculum Resources
Technological Devices
Working With Interpreters
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ABLE for the Deaf Adult Learner

Working with Interpreters

Interpreters are qualified individuals who were trained at community colleges and universities. They are usually trained to do the following: American Sign Language (ASL), Pidgin (mixture of ASL and Signed English), Signed English and oral (whispered presentation to the deaf person who does not use sign language). Many of them are board-certified by their own professional organization, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), and they are obliged to follow the RID's code of ethics. There are also many types of interpreters that specialize in certain fields, such as legal, medical and educational.

Tips for Working with Sign Language Interpreters
1. Everyone should speak directly to and maintain eye contact with the deaf person when using an interpreter.

2. Be aware that the interpreter interprets everything that is said, which may include irrelevant or inappropriate comments. (Unless it is determined that a behavior problem exists.) It is helpful if those talking speak one at a time, loudly and clearly. If the interpreter cannot hear what is said, she/he may verbally ask the speaker to repeat.

3. You should expect a time lag when communicating through an interpreter. This does put the student at a disadvantage during discussions and joke telling.

4. Should you plan to use audio-visual equipment, please notify the interpreter. An accompanying script would be useful. Avoid complete darkness when possible.

5. The interpreter should not be considered a participant in the class. Questions for the interpreter should be addressed when he/she is not interpreting.

6. The interpreter should not be asked to function as a teacher or an aide - being asked to proctor tests, monitor the class, collect homework, or act as a substitute.

7. The preferred seating arrangement would be one in which the deaf student could easily see the interpreter and the teacher in the same line of vision. This may not always be possible.

8. Because American Sign Language is a visual language, persons walking between the interpreter and the deaf person may cause a break in communication.

9. Interpreters are bound to a Code of Ethics and because of this, the interpreter is expected to maintain confidentiality with regard to sensitive information about the deaf student.

10. The deaf student is the best resource on how communication with her/him may be achieved more efficiently.

11. Interpreters do not counsel, advise, or interject personal opinions.

Reference: Interpreting: An Introduction by Nancy Frishberg & L.A. Siple, "Working with the sign language interpreter in your classroom," College Teaching, 41, 139-142, 1993.

RID - Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

This Code of Ethics for educational interpreters is independent of RID, and some of the interpreters may use these in addition to RID's.

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