Award-Winning Sign Language Interpreter Recipe

There are thousands of recipes for homemade chili and stews, but every now and then you come across one that is just exactly right! All the usual basic ingredients are there, but special ingredients have been added to enhance everything else and it just makes you go “Wow”!

Sign Language Interpreters are kind of like that. Many have similar basic ‘ingredients’ , but what are the qualities that give an Interpreter The X-Factor? What is the blue ribbon recipe?

The European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters came up with a Code of Ethics for Interpreters to consider as they evaluate the total package they bring to a job. These may seem like ‘no-brainers’ to most interpreters. But every Sign Language Interpreter knows someone in their field who needs a refresher on the basics. Some of these include:

  • Emotionally mature –  a moral base including honesty, conscientiousness, objectivity and the ability to be self-critical.
  • People skills – the ability to follow common social norms and principles. The ability to smile and make eye contact is such a plus!
  • Confidentiality – remembering to regard and respect individual privacy regarding an assignment.
  • Self Awareness– the ability to accurately judge their own skills with regard to a particular assignment and gauge the possible need for additional or alternate interpreters.
  • Ensuring Clarity – facilitating the communication between the deaf and other participants. The expectations, the situation and physical arrangements must be clear and agreeable to all involved.
  • Neutral Mediator – establishing dialogue between / among participants. The Interpreter is to facilitate correct translation or communication making every effort to NOT think of content and NOT add or eliminate words.  The challenge for the professional interpreter is to abstract their own feelings, thoughts, solutions, viewpoints and opinions and interpret exactly what is spoken.
  • Reputation – The world of sign language interpreting is a small one.  Talk of professionalism, ability, dress, attitude, reliability and team work skills travels quickly. Each Interpreter is responsible for establishing their personal reputation.
  • Remaining Current – Like all languages, sign language evolves and can vary regionally. The interpreter must know if they are capable of providing the requested sign language style preferred by the deaf client.
  • Dress – making it a priority to dress in such a way that demonstrates professionalism and awareness. Avoiding inappropriate clothing, nail polish, jewelry or anything that can be a distraction for the deaf client.
  • Punctuality – arriving in time to park, find the people involved and ascertain the expectations and preferences. The ability to be flexible is priceless in this profession.

As an agency, we hold these Interpreters in high regard. It’s not easy finding oneself in a new environment from day to day….meeting and trying to accommodate every personality out there. Interpreters have good days and bad days like everyone else. Unexpected traffic delays, migraine headaches, sick kids at home…..these can all interfere with a perfectly scheduled day.  Working with team members who wrestle with qualities listed above can make a day seem endless.

We are so grateful for the Interpreters who have worked with us for so many years.  Their longevity in this business has much to do with their X-Factor skills we’ve highlighted. These Sign Language Interpreters have raised the bar by including special ingredients in their recipe. The perfect mix that keeps them respected and in-demand.

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About Evelyn

Evelyn Hunter is a SODA with years of experiential study in Deaf Culture. She attended Gallaudet University to immerse herself in this unique deaf world while working for the University and studying sign language to hone her skills. Evelyn has served in training, relationship sales, and marketing -- always seeking to expand awareness of Deaf Culture and the unique challenges the deaf face on a daily basis. The Sign Language Company has recently established a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and a website with a blog, as Evelyn coordinates the marketing and outreach efforts for the agency. Her goal is to attract new clients seeking exceptional service, while maintaining optimal relationships with clients who have selected The Sign Language Company for over 20 years.

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