• How to Use an Interpreter Effectively

    Before Meeting Recommendations

    • Establish the interpreting technique that is most appropriate for the situation: simultaneous, consecutive or a combination of both.
    • If there is information regarding the proceedings which could affect interpreters’ ability to effectively provide service, make them aware of it prior to the start of the meeting.
    • If available, provide the interpreter with a draft of any documents to be discussed. This will allow the interpreter to view the information before the meeting and identify any unfamiliar terms.

     During Meeting Recommendations

    • Speak in first person and address comments to the parents, not to the interpreter.
    • Pause after expressing each complete thought and allow the interpreter to translate.
    • Monitor interpreters’ body language. They will signal if you need to pause.
    • Paraphrase document contents for the interpreter. The interpreter’s function is to relay information provided by team members, not to sight translate what has been written.
    • Maintain eye contact with the person being addressed.
    • Monitor the listener’s facial expressions and reactions for signs of confusion.
    • Pause when school bells, sirens, announcements or other distracting noises sound.
    • Avoid the use of slang, jargon, idiomatic or colloquial expressions.
    • Do not use jokes or other attempts at humor. They rarely translate well.
    • Have only one person speak at a time.
    • Do not engage in “sidebar” conversations unless you intend for them to be translated.

     Best Practices - Working with an Interpreter