Booking a BSL/English interpreter can be a daunting process. Therefore, we’ve put together some brief pointers to let you know how to get the best out of your booking.
BEFORE THE BOOKING TAKES PLACE:
Interpreters work in a wide variety of settings, and may not necessarily have an in-depth knowledge of everything they interpret. Prior preparation is important as it will give the interpreter some idea of what will be taking place. This can take various different forms – for example, papers that are going to be discussed, lecture notes, training packs, or even a brief chat before the job starts to give them a quick briefing.
For events of two hours duration or more, it may be necessary to book two interpreters to work in rotation. This is due to the linguistic processes and concentration involved in working between two languages – an interpreter may be processing up to 20,000 words per hour!
Directions to the Venue
Please give us clear and concise directions of how to reach the venue, stating clearly whether it may be difficult to find or tricky to get to. We will also need to know if you have car parking spaces that can be reserved, or if there is easily accessible public transport within walking distance of the venue.
How many people are expected
Some interpreters specialise in large meetings and conferences, whilst others choose to avoid this type of booking. Giving us this information allows us to approach the right level of interpreter for the job. It will also give them a better picture of what the job entails so that they can make an informed choice as to accept or decline the booking.
ON THE DAY:
Most interpreters interpret every day of the week and can advise you of the best way to set up the seating on the day. If you wish to prepare before they arrive, the most important thing to remember is that the Deaf person and the interpreter need to be located so that they have a clear, face on view of each other.
The area that the interpreter works in will need to be well lit from the front, and they will need to be positioned in such a way as to clearly see each person in the room.
The acoustics of a venue can have a huge impact on the communication outcome. If the interpreter is having difficulty hearing you, other people in the room probably are too.
Speed or Pace
Unlike most spoken language interpreters, Sign Language interpreters work simultaneously. This means there is no need to insert pauses when speaking as the interpretation is happening at the same time and speed as your speech. If the interpreter is having difficulty keeping up or if you are speaking too slowly the interpreter will let you know discreetly.
Please also ensure that one person speaks at a time, as it is impossible for an interpreter to interpret two people simultaneously. If you have booked a BSL/English interpreter, there will be a short time delay when a BSL/English Interpreter is working from BSL to English because the interpreter needs time to comprehend and reproduce in spoken English what is signed in British Sign Language and vice versa. This is especially important during questions or discussions to ensure that nobody is excluded.
The interpretation process is taxing, so it is important to ensure that regular breaks are scheduled. This is especially important if an interpreter is working solo for extended periods. These breaks will benefit the other (non deaf) participants and the Deaf person(s)
AFTER THE EVENT
We value feedback from all our clients. If you have anything that you would like us to know about either the interpreter that attended the booking or the whole booking process please contact us by phone, email or fax. All comments will be treated as confidential unless we are instructed otherwise.