5 Tips for Communicating With a Deaf Person through an Interpreter

5 Tips for Communicating With a Deaf Person through an Interpreter
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


Introduce yourself
Most deaf people are able to read lips. Ensure that you face them; speak clearly and slowly so that they see the movement of your lips and read them. Keep in mind that throughout the communication process, interpreters don’t participate in the dialog. They only facilitate communication. Therefore, even during the introduction, look at the deaf person and not the interpreter.

Use your hands to communicate
Learn the relevant sign language depending on the locality. In the U.S, the American Sign Language (ASL) is used. In case you do not understand the appropriate sign language mime, some actions or things for example a sign of a vehicle, is imitating a driver driving. To avoid confusion let the interpreter use the sign language if you do not understand it.

Speak at an appropriate speed
When using an interpreter, he/she should only listen to the concepts and then interpret. Sometimes he/she may request that you restructure your sentence, repeat words or speak at a more appropriate speed that he/she can better understand.

Carry pictures, books and pens
Not all deaf people understand the relevant sign language. To effectively communicate, carry pictures that you can show them so that they visualize and understand what you’re communicating. If he or she is able to read, then consider writing some words on a sheet of paper for him/her to read.

Wear appropriate facial expression
Remember when talking to a deaf person, you are passing a message just like it can be passed to any other hearing person. Facial expressions add meaning to words. Put on the right one at the right time.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.