Not all D/deaf people use British Sign Language (BSL) but if they do they have a right to use fully trained and qualified interpreter – especially when they are communicating with Health or Legal professionals.
Always ask to see the interpreters NRCPD badge or qualification.
The BSL user does not always have a right to use the interpreter that they want – their preferred interpreter - but they should always ask if they can have them. It will help the meeting if the BSL user is comfortable and trusts the interpreter.
The interpreter is for both people – both DEAF and HEARING people!
What is an interpreter?
Interpreters are communication professionals who have been trained to help people understand each other. They are there to make sure that all people understand what is being communicated, the emotions and cultural issues and to make sure there are no misunderstandings.
Lots of BSL interpreters are self-employed. They will work for different companies but they have to pay their own tax and national insurance – they run their own business.
The Hospitals, Doctors, Social Workers, Police or Courts have to provide interpreters and they have contracts with companies to book the interpreter. These companies are very hard to contact or complain to.
How do you book an interpreter
If you want to book interpreters or not sure how to use them there is very useful information here at the North East Interpreters Network website http://www.northeast-bslenglish-interpreters.co.uk/index.html.
Preparation before the booking
Check with deaf participants if they have preferred interpreters or other communication professionals.
Considerations when booking the Interpreter:
- Try to book at least a month to 6 weeks in advance.
- How many interpreters needed? (a meeting longer than 20 minutes can require 2 interpreters depending on session content) and are breaks built into the sessions?
- Appropriate qualifications recognised under the National Register for Communication Professionals with Deaf & Deafblind People (NRCPD).
- Give the interpreter information for preparation at least a week in advance. This includes any documents that will be referred to minutes of meetings, course material, letters etc.
- There may be a need to meet the interpreter beforehand to discuss terminology and any other queries that the interpreter may have. This could happen half an hour before the meeting/session.
- Take direction from the interpreter regarding verbal presentation speed. They should slow you down if you are going too fast.
- Always wait for the interpreter to finish lip speaking/signing before you move onto the next section.
- Any concern or complaint about the professional practise (poor attitude) of the interpreter by yourself or participants should be taken up privately with the interpreter concerned as soon as is possible after the session. If there are any unresolved issues these can be taken up formally with the Employing agency or NRCPD. (see www.nrcpd.org.uk )