How can we determine which interpreter can most effectively meet a student’s needs?

The Department of Justice’s Effective Communication guide defines a qualified interpreter as someone who is able to “interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.” The most critical strategy when pairing interpreters with deaf students is to plan ahead and identify interpreters that are a good fit for the student’s communication access needs.

Examples of strategies:

Utilize the Interactive Process Tools: Checklist and Sample Questions for Deaf Students during the initial meeting with the student. 

Learn about the student’s subjective experience, such as past experiences, along with communication style and preferences.

Ask if there are any interpreters the student has effectively worked with before.

Each semester, ask about course loads and possible use of technical terminology.

Confirm that the interpreter has the knowledge and skills to be a good fit for the student. 

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Updated on July 29, 2022

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