It is possible to book interpreters at short notice, however it is recommended that you try and give an interpreter at least three to four weeks' notice before the date of the assignment. This way, you are more likely to get your preferred interpreter.

Once your interpreter has been confirmed, there are a few things you can do to make working with an interpreter a smooth process.

  1. Email any written materials to the interpreter as soon as possible so they have time to prepare for the assignment and check any gaps in their knowledge. They may also require hard copies on the day.

  2. On the day, make sure there is appropriate seating for the interpreter so that they are near the person speaking, or central enough to be able to hear all of the speakers. The interpreter will need to sit opposite the Deaf person or within their eye line. Try not to sit the interpreter in front of a window, as the glare can often make it difficult for the Deaf person to see their face.

  3. Sign language interpreters often interpret simultaneously, so there is no need for you to slow down your speech or pause for the interpreter to catch up. If the booking is for a Deaf person who has complex language needs, then the interpreter will suggest an alternate way of working.

  4. Talk to the deaf person directly; there is no need to say "ask her..." or "tell him...". The interpreter will usually voice over for the Deaf person in first person. If the interpreter needs to ask for clarification or bring up an issue they will make it clear to you.

  5. You should not expect the interpreter to be involved with the discussion. They are there as an impartial member of the communication process. The interpreter may comment if they feel that there is a problem that is hampering the communication.

  6. There is often a time delay when interpreting so you may find that an interpreters hands are moving even though you have stopped talking, or that the deaf person has stopped signing but the interpreter is still talking. This is quite normal.

  7. Interpreters will often work between 15-30 minutes before a break is necessary. If you have booked two interpreters they will arrange times themselves, but if only one is booked please discuss breaks with them.

  8. Interpreters will try and interpret everything that is happening as faithfully as possible. Please do not ask the interpreter not to interpret something,