Pearls of Wisdom ~ Tips for New Sign Language Interpreters

The Sign Language Company asked a group of interpreters to share their thoughts regarding this question.

What advice would you offer to new interpreters?  What do you know NOW that you wish you had known THEN?  We received an amazing response to this question and also feedback from new interpreters who welcomed this insight from those more experienced.   We’ll be sharing these pearls of wisdom in several blog posts. As I look at the responses, I’ve gathered more than 50 pages of feedback.

Here is where we begin:

1. Be very aware of the assignments you accept. Never let anyone or any agency push you into taking something you don’t feel qualified for.

Never stop growing and learning. Be willing to go observe other people interpreting even after 20 years.

Don’t listen to negative talk. Others or your own. Some people just aren’t happy. You go and  have your own experiences. I would never have done half the things I have done if I had listened to negative comments.



2.  After 30 plus years, looking back, I would advise new interpreters to follow a 3 question  self-assessment:

1. Protect your reputation as a working interpreter.

2. Get as much detailed information on an assignment as possible. Let me expand on this subject. When self-employed or as a staffer there is a certain complacency when sending interpreters to assignments. Ask questions!!!   Sometimes appointments become mundane and individuals don’t ask because they assume it’s the same old thing. This leads me to number three.

3. Be helpful and knowledgeable. Sometimes the only person in the room with a resource is the interpreter. How you relay that information should be considered. There’s much more as previously stated but I think these are handy as well.

If you’re a new sign language interpreter or new to the business or just thinking about the opportunity to interpret for the deaf, please contact The Sign Language Company for additional information and tips to help guide you on your way.




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.

View all posts by Evelyn

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