Professional Hacks for ASL interpreters

by | Nov 4, 2022

American Sign Language is the official language of the deaf community in the United States of America and most of Anglophone Canada. Whether you are a seasoned interpreter or someone who is new to this career, our Day Interpreting team took the time to compile a great list of professional hacks for ASL interpreters that are bound to prove effective for you to use in your everyday professional life.

Keep reading to find out what they are! We hope they’ll be of use to you.


Roles of Sign Language Interpreters

Translating between the spoken word and sign language has the ability to bring together two or more people who might not otherwise be able to converse well. This very vital skill allows for a more comprehensive kind of communication because it eliminates the need for anyone on (either side) to struggle to express their needs, goals, wants, and thoughts.

It can also increase accessibility. There are many ways in which the ‘hearing world’ falls short, despite the fact that there are rules in place that are intended to facilitate accessibility.

Numerous challenges that hearing-impaired people confront on a daily basis can be irritating and even demoralizing. Having an interpreter provides much-needed support and helps improve people’s experiences.

Sign Language Interpreters can help raise awareness on behalf of the hearing-impaired and deaf community. Occasionally, there might be a particular type of unease when it comes to ‘hearing people who don’t have first-hand experience. This is evident with a friend or family member who has a hearing impairment. 

With an interpreter there, however, many hearing people can see that those who have hearing loss aren’t actually all that “different”; they only occasionally require a few little concessions.


Professional Hacks for ASL Interpreters

Many of us were introduced to a remote working lifestyle when COVID-19 unexpectedly hit. For interpreters who still work from home, having their space set up in a particular way is essential. Here are a few tips you can consider:

Create a Working Space

Set up a room in your house specifically for interpreting while taking privacy into account. Use a room with a door if possible. If not, look for a quiet, private area of your home where you can set up a solid-colored background. In the absence of blackout curtains, keep the number of windows surrounding you to a minimum. 

Gear Up with Professional Equipment

To improve the quality of your call, use a headset, even if it’s simply a pair of earphones. Get them a set of noise-canceling headphones if your roommates can hear your calls. Think about your lighting in terms of what a photographer may employ. You want to ensure that whoever is on the other end of the call can see you perfectly.

Ensure You’re Set Up for Eye Contact

Keep good eye contact when and if you are able to when dealing directly with a deaf or hard of Hearing person. This significantly enhances communication.

In Deaf societies, making eye contact is crucial because it gives context to your words. You should not turn your body or head away from the individual while maintaining eye contact. As a result, everyone can see your body language, face expressions, and lip movements.

Prep in Advance

Ensure you are provided with the necessary preparation material beforehand. The better prepared you are as an interpreter means you can provide the best work possible. The more background information and context they have before beginning a job. 

Information about speakers, possible talking points, any slides that are to be used, copies of speeches, background information on the material(s) being discussed, potential concerns that may be raised, and unusual/uncommon language or jargon are just a few examples of suitable preparation materials.

More than One Interpreter?

It’s critical to recognize when we might require assistance. A team of interpreters might be helpful if the event lasts more than 90 minutes or includes numerous speakers (like a panel). 

Since interpreting requires rigorous labor, going too long without a break may result in exhaustion and a decline in the quality of work. This can be avoided by working with a pair of interpreters who alternate. Both interpreters will always be attentive and available to help whenever necessary, whether they are actively interpreting or not.


Final Thoughts on Hacks for ASL Interpreters

Sign Language Interpreting is extremely important. Those who are hearing impaired deserve to experience life normally. Having an interpreter at events, gatherings, and various other social engagements helps improve the quality of communication for the hearing impaired.

At Day Interpreting, we are advocates for inclusivity and diversity. We provide professional interpreting services regardless of the industry you’re affiliated with. We want to help you globalize your efforts and share your brand with the rest of the world.

Ask about our professional team of interpreters today and see how our services can help you expand your business globally.

Kayan Milwood

Kayan Milwood

Kayan is a multi-talented writer based in the beautiful island of Jamaica. Her strong point is ideation and she loves to take on new challenges.

Kayan Milwood

Kayan is a multi-talented writer based in the beautiful island of Jamaica. Her strong point is ideation and she loves to take on new challenges.

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