Speak Directly to your Client

Speak directly to the Deaf participant, not the interpreter

  • Avoid “tell them.”

  • The interpreter will speak in first person, but remember that they are voicing what the Deaf participant is signing.

Be Patient

Allow time for the interpretation process, there will be a delay between the beginning of an utterance and the beginning of the interpretation.

Different Languages

ASL and English are two unique languages. They often do not have direct word-sign translations, so a short statement in one language may require a lengthy interpretation into the other

Full Access

The interpreter is obliged to interpret every utterance spoken or signed by any of the participants. Anything said in front of the Deaf client will be interpreted.

Speak Clearly

Speak clearly and at a steady pace: not too fast, but you also do not need to slow down your speech.

Speak Directly

Avoid highly idiomatic speech such as metaphors, idioms, slangs, acronyms. Avoid stopping or changing the topic mid-sentence


The interpreter must be visible by the Deaf participants. They will position themselves where it is possible for Deaf participants to see the interpreter and the speaker simultaneously and will occasionally approach to reference any visual media being shown.

Moderate Conversation

If there are multiple participants, avoid overlapping dialogue because this will inhibit the interpretation. If there is audience participation allow time for the interpretation to complete before calling on participants