Fingertips for Interpreters – Adjust Is a Must – Part 4

Interpreting situations can differ, even in the church setting.  Some interpreters interpret the same way all the time and never change.  However, the wise interpreter will notice when needs and situations change and will adjust his interpreting to match the need at the time.

Adjust to time when teaching a class – When other parts of the class time go too long, adjust your lesson to close at the right time. You may need to omit some parts of the lesson.  You may need to teach only part of the lesson and finish it later.

Adjust to situations around you – Be willing to make changes and adjustments so the message of the lesson becomes very strong. Rather than becoming strict and unbending, become flexible. Teach for understanding and to meet needs.  When the class understands you, you will be glad you made the change.

Adjust to the needs of the class – What happens if you prepared a lesson, but realize it is not appropriate for the class in front of you?  Adapt the lesson to the class.  You might even need to teach a different lesson.  Discern the needs of the class in front of you and adjust.  Make eye contact enough to see the needs of people.  Do not just teach a lesson, but teach to meet the needs of the class.

Adjust to a class which is not understanding your lesson – Determine when a class is not understanding your lesson.  Adjust to the student’s level.  If they are not understanding, you are not teaching.  Again, you may need to teach only a part of the lesson.  Change the lesson to make it more understandable.  Change your language level as necessary. Present the lesson differently than when teaching a hearing class.

  Adjust is a must for Interpreter

Return To Front Page

Fingertips for Interpreters – Adjust Is a Must – Part 3

Interpreter: Adjust is a Must

 

Interpreting situations can differ, even in the church setting.  Some interpreters interpret the same way all the time and never change.  However, the wise interpreter will notice when needs and situations change and will adjust their interpreting to match the need at the time

Adjust to technology or lack of technology – When you cannot hear the speaker because of poor microphone placement or broken equipment, you may need to move to a different location.  The same may be true when a video presentation begins, but you are seated or standing in the wrong place to interpret it well.   You must also decide how much of a video to interpret.  Sometimes it is good to interpret all background noises.  Other times it may be best to interpret only the main spoken story.  Many factors influence these decisions.  The overall situation or speaker’s apparent goal will affect your decisions.  Be willing to adjust to meet the needs of different interpreting situations.  Be flexible and you will become more effective.

Adjust to either party changing attitude  – When either the Deaf person or hearing person begins to become angry, you must adjust your facial expression and body language to match what is being said and the way it is being said.

Adjust to accept criticism  – Sometimes a hearing speaker, Deaf person, or another interpreter may criticize your interpreting.  Learn to accept constructive criticism and change to improve.  

Someone once said, “I would rather change and succeed, than have my way and fail.”  Being flexible and willing to make positive changes in interpreting can make the difference between success and failure, understanding and miscommunication.  Interpreter, adjust and improve!

Fingertips for Interpreters – Adjust Is a Must – Part 2

 Adjust is a Must
— Continued from Last Issue —
 
Adjust to situations that do not fit with what you learned  –  Ethical decisions can be difficult.  First, ask yourself if you always interpret with good ethics.  Some situations are not addressed directly by the Code of Professional Conduct or a Code of Ethics.  How much flexibility do you have to make the message as clear as possible?  Should you just interpret and leave the decision-making to others involved?  What do you do if you are put in a situation where there is no win-win solution?  It is wise to think through many different situations ahead of time so difficult decisions can be made quickly and correctly.  Adjust based upon what you do know.

Adjust and be willing to let a more skilled interpreter do it. – No interpreter wears a big “S” on their chest as does Superman.  There may be times when you are not qualified to interpret in a situation.  Be willing to humbly and gracefully step aside.  Also, there are times when you observe another interpreter who is not doing a good job with communication.  What do you do?  Should you interrupt?  Should you wait until it is your turn?  Should you assist?  These questions need to be thought through before the interpreting situation starts.  All interpreters should understand that the ministry leader, senior interpreter or interpreter leader should have the right to make changes or substitutions at any time.  Some interpreters are qualified in some situations, but unqualified in others.  For example, one time a church interpreter was called upon to interpret a lesson on health by a visiting health professional.  Some interpreters would have felt very awkward interpreting the details about bodily functions and internal medicine.  Handle all situations properly and in a Christian manner.

Be willing to adjust to meet the needs of different interpreting situations.  Be flexible and you will become more effective.

Fingertips for Interpreters – Adjust Is a Must – Part 1

Adjust Is A Must – Part 1
No two interpreting situations are exactly alike.  Often surprises, distractions, or changing conditions can irritate the interpreter.  Wisdom is needed to know how to deal with situations and conditions that are not perfect.  Here are a few conditions to consider to which interpreters need to make adjustments.
Adjust to the people in front of you. – Is the language level “high” or “low”?  Is the language type ASL, PSE, SEE or something else?  Be aware of whether people are understanding the message you are signing.  Example: How many ways can you sign John 3:16?  One?  Three?  Ten?  Always sign for clear understanding.
Adjust to the changing program. – Sometimes the program changes from what you prepared.  Be willing to adapt and change as needed.  What do you do when you cannot understand the speaker?  What do you do when something new is added to the program while you are interpreting?  How do you interpret when the speaker begins to lose his voice?
Adjust to  the change in physical conditions. – What do you do when the temperature starts to rise and you do not have a fan?  How do you adjust when some of the Deaf people cannot see the interpreter?  What do you do if the interpreter is required to stand for long periods of time?  What do you do when the lighting changes due to the sun?
Adjust to distractions or annoyances. – What happens when your physical condition changes?  What if you begin to feel ill?  How do you interpret when there is a crying baby or when there are outside noises such as heavy rain?  How do you interpret voices from the audience?  What do you do when everyone laughs, but the speaker and/or Deaf people do not know the reason why?
Interpreters who can adjust to changing situations can be more effective and successful than those who do not.  Interpreting is about communication.  Be willing to change and succeed rather than have your way and fail.  More later….

The Silent Word

Don’t want to miss an issue?
Subscribe to our online mailing list to get email
notifications
  when the next issue is available.

Subscribe

Advertise your Deaf ministry or Deaf church in the newspaper!

Learn more