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DO strategies to assist you in working effectively with spoken language interpreters

DO'S: Prepare for a lengthier session when working with an interpreter, allocate sufficient time.

If possible, provide the interpreter with handouts, resource material that will be used and if necessary, an opportunity for the interpreter to preview audio visual aids (Videos, DVD's).

Clarify the objectives of the encounter-who will be present, purpose of session and topics to be covered.

Determine type of interpreting: consecutive, whispered simultaneous, telephone.

Ask if the interpreter has any questions or concerns.

Allow the interpreter to perform an introduction to you and your client/patient to clarify their role and how the interpretation will be performed. 

Speak directly to client/patient not to the interpreter.

Position yourself in a way which promotes direct communication between the two of you.

Speak in short sentences

Speak clearly, audibly and naturally. Watch pacing.

Allow the interpreter to finish before speaking again

Interpreter may need to interrupt to ask for clarification or if something is unclear or if their focus and concentration have been compromised

Interpreters should be given a short break every 60 minutes for consecutive interpretation and every 20 minutes for simultaneous interpretation. Enable the interpreter to debrief, particularly if it was an emotionally charged situation.

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