Recommendations for working with interpreters.
- Being bilingual is not enough to ensure the quality of an interpreter.
Interpreting is a skill and able to speak two languages fluently can guarantee that professional interpreting is taking place.
- Don’t ask interpreters to provide word-for-word interpreting.
Interpreters relay the meaning of the words. A word-for-word interpretation will often lose any meaning whatsoever.
- Expect interpreters to abide by a Code of Ethics.
A trained interpreter will adhere to confidentiality, accuracy and impartiality.
- Don’t expect interpreters to be expert in your field.
We hope to make your job easier, but we act only as the bridge to communication. We will interpret any message you wish to relay, but we can’t be the messenger.
- Clarify abbreviations and minimize your field's jargon.
Acronyms, etc will make no sense to the limited-English speaker.
- Don’t ask interpreters NOT to interpret something.
Part of our Code of Ethics says that we interpret everything that is said, as it is said. If you don’t want it repeated, it is best not to say it in front of an interpreter.
- Address the person, not the interpreter, and maintain primary eye contact with your subject.
The role of the interpreter is essential, but is secondary to your relationship with the subject. Let us help you develop this trust by allowing the interpreter to not
take center stage.
- Speak at a comfortable pace and pause frequently to allow for the interpretation.
In order to render a complete interpretation, one or two sentences are the most
an interpreter can handle. The interpreter will let you know if you are speaking
too fast or too much at once.
- Don’t ask the subject to bring their own interpreter.
Don’t ask another person to interpret for you, don’t use a child as interpreter, and don’t use friends, family or non-qualified staff as your first line of defense during a session unless it is an emergency.
Our legal obligations make it imperative that qualified language services are utilized in each encounter where the subject cannot communicate at the same level that two English-speakers would
be able to.
- Document the use of an interpreter.
Document when it is not possible to use a qualified/certified interpreter. Be sure to document your attempts and the reason(s) why such an interpreter was not utilized.
Circumstances may make it impossible to utilize qualified language services in a timely manner. The record should reflect when an interpreter was used,
who that interpreter was and any obstacles in using an interpreter. Know how to
locate an interpreter, either over the phone or in person, and return to using
qualified language services as soon as possible.