Interpreting: Coordinating Interpreting Services

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Interpreting for Effective Communication


Strategies for Coordinating Services


Avril discusses her experience with interpreters. Read full video description

Interpreter Consistency

Consistent interpreting for ongoing needs is vital to effective communication.

A designated interpreter can ensure interpreting remains consistent throughout an interpreting assignment. They are assigned to a specific job, setting, or client on an ongoing basis. Most often used in healthcare, designated interpreters are useful in a variety of settings.

Team Interpreting

Standard practice is to have a team of interpreters for a long or complex assignment. Working in a team helps interpreters protect the integrity of the message and helps prevent repetitive motion injury and other issues common in the industry.

General Audiences

When providing access to a general audience without a specific request from a deaf person, best practices encourage planning ahead and providing interpreters.

Additionally, emerging practices in these situations include the use of Deaf Interpreters (DI) and dual accommodations to meet the communication access needs of a wide-range of people.

Dr. Naomi Sheneman explains the advantages of using a deaf interpreter. Read full video description

In addition to having specialized skills, an interpreter should have a cultural fit with the deaf person. Read full video description

Specialized Settings

Interpreters assigned to technical or specialized assignments should possess an understanding of the terms, concepts and context through prior experience, training, and/or specific credentials.

Examples of specialized content could include, but is not limited to: foreign language courses, law school, medical programs, performing arts, STEM coursework, mental health/counseling.

Internships & Field Work

Coordinating interpreters for internship sites requires advance planning and attention to details beyond regularly scheduled assignments, such as courses. Discuss with the deaf student, internship host, and the school about how often interpreters will be needed as well as any site requirements or policies. For example the site may require interpreters:

  • Work flexible hours.
  • Complete a health background including required vaccinations or tests.
  • Meet particular health safety requirements, such as standing for long periods, walking, hiking, traveling in boats/airplanes/buses, and camping outdoors.
  • Travel to different locations.
  • Work near dangerous chemicals, food items, or hazardous materials.
  • Adhere to a specific dress code (e.g., steel-toe shoes, personal protective equipment).
  • Work in various weather conditions.

Study Abroad

Similar to internships, coordinating interpreting services for study abroad activities requires creative strategies, individualized planning, and ongoing communication with the deaf student and study abroad program coordinators. See NDC’s Study Abroad Planning Guide for strategies when working with interpreters along with scheduling considerations.

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