—> DO Scene 1 Exercise 2: Points to Consider – How to Offer Help

Once you determine that an interpreter working from ASL to English has made an error that needs to be corrected, the next question to consider is: What is the best way to achieve this correction?

75% of the survey respondents preferred that the Deaf presenter should be informed, if possible. If this is not possible, another way to put power in the hands of the Deaf presenter is by asking a pointed question of clarification. In the library scenario with Amy, she could have raised her hand and asked Carol, “Excuse me did you say, ‘poetry and mysteries’ or ‘expressions of misery?’” That could have clued Carol into the fact that the interpreter was making errors. In clip 5 in the previous exercise, the pointed question could be, “Excuse me, did you say our next meeting will be on Wednesday or Friday?”

Finally as a last resort, communicate with the interpreter directly. Yelling out is probably the least effective way to do this. Here are some other points to consider:

1) Does the ASL to English interpreter have a team interpreter who may be the best person to supply the correct information?

2) Can you supply the needed information in a way that is not distracting to the entire group? (E.g., can you make a written list of the acronyms that are being used and discreetly supply it to the working interpreter(s)?)

3) Is there some specific knowledge pertaining to this situation that the working interpreter may not have, but you do? (E.g., suppose this situation is at the local Deaf school or club where you volunteer and many names are quickly spelled in introductions or name signs are used). If so, then supplying the names to the interpreter could be a welcome form of support.

The point in any of these considerations, however, is to worry less about offending the interpreter and more about how these inaccurate representations may affect the Deaf person.

If you do decide the only option is to yell out a correction, consider your tone of voice. Instead of spitting out a fingerspelled name with a sneer of contempt, you can offer it in a tone of helpful support.

Or if you approach the interpreter, ask: “ Can I offer you some back up?” rather than, announcing, “You are making too many mistakes!”

Think about this, then select the link below to complete an exercise.