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How to Work With a NABS Interpreter

Not everyone has worked with an interpreter. Please see below for some helpful tips when working with an interpreter.

  • Only qualified interpreters should be used. NABS only books qualified interpreters.
    Qualified interpreters are expected to adhere to a professional code of conduct and attend / access regular professional development. Qualified interpreters must remain impartial, confidential, professional and truthful.
  • You do not need to worry that information will be repeated.
    Information communicated during an appointment where a qualified interpreter is present will remain confidential.
  • Interpreters will not speak on behalf of the Deaf Client.
    This means they will not make follow up appointments for the Deaf client.
  • It is the responsibility of the interpreter to verbalise everything that is signed and sign everything that is spoken.
    Conversations will not be censored or edited.
  • Refrain from engaging in private discussions with an interpreter which you do not want interpreted.
    Private discussions can be offensive to the Deaf client and embarrassing for the interpreter.
  • It is the right of both the Deaf client and the professional to have a qualified interpreter present at the appointment for legal reasons and other reasons including informed consent.
  • Interpreters should be early for an appointment.
    This allows adequate time to inform the reception staff they have arrived and make their introduction to the Deaf client.
  • Positioning in the appointment or meeting room is important.
    The interpreter in consultation with the Deaf client and professional can assist with organising the best position so that the Deaf person can see facial expressions and maintain eye contact with both the professional and the interpreter.
  • When working with an interpreter, the professional should speak directly to the Deaf client.
    The interpreter will sign what is being said and then convey what is signed.
  • As the professional, you should speak clearly and at your regular pace.
    The interpreter will inform you if you need to change pace. The Deaf client may ask questions if they are unsure of the message that is being conveyed.
  • You may notice that there is a slight "lag time" in what is being spoken and what is signed.
    This ensures accuracy of information between both languages. The degree of delay will vary according to interpreters and the complexity of material.
  • Deaf clients and professionals should let agencies know if they are unhappy with the Interpreter who attended an appointment, so that the interpreter can be given assistance to improve.

If you have any questions about working with an interpreter, please do not hesitate to ask the interpreter or contact NABS.

Download How to Work With a NABS Interpreter fact sheet

Contact NABS


930 Gympie Road,
Chermside QLD 4032                 Australia


Phone: 1800 24 69 45
SMS: 0427 671 261



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