Deaf Interpreter

Sometimes a deaf person is unable to rely solely on a hearing interpreter. For example, a deaf person may not have an adequate understanding of regular sign language, may not use a "standard" version of American Sign Language, or may have vision problems. Also, sometimes hearing interpreters are not familiar with more subtle non-verbal communication styles that another deaf person from the same "culture" would share. In these types of situations, a "deaf interpreter" may be needed.

In addition to excellent communication skills, deaf interpreters may have specialized training and/or experience in the use of gesture, mime, props, drawings and other tools to enchance communication. The deaf interpreter has an extensive knowledge and understanding of deafness, the deaf communication process, and/or Deaf culture. This knowledge combined with excellent communication skills, can bring added expertise to interpreting situations.

Deaf interpreters assist the "hearing" sign language interpreters and facilitate the communication process. The deaf interpreter does not translate English to American Sign Language or via versa. The deaf interpreter translates from Standardized ASL to another nonstandard form of sign language. It's sort of like a dialect translation; the deaf person get the English from the interpreter, and then communications to the deaf person in his or her native style of speaking.

In a typical setting, the deaf interpreter stands next to the hearing person, facing the deaf client. The sign language interpreter sits next to the deaf client. The sign language interpreter will sign everything that is voiced by the hearing person and say everything that is signed by the deaf interpreter. The deaf interpreter will translate what the sign language interpreter signed into a more specialized sign language. This way, the two interpreters can work together to make sure that the real message is not lost in translation.

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