Team of Interpreters
Translating in Real-Time
By: Andrea Davila, Supervisor, Language Services
When I received the referral from an attorney in California requesting an on-site American Sign Language interpreter for a deposition, we knew it would take more than one person to cover all communications. This 4-hour meeting required hiring two certified sign language interpreters and an on-site captioner.
Sign language interpreters use their bodies to show what is said. This can get exhausting, and sometimes the interpreter can miss information because of all the moving around while trying to catch everything necessary or letting loose with gestures. So it's best to only interpret for an hour before switching out interpreters. Team interpreters rely on each other for accuracy in missed information, technical vocabulary, voice interpretation assistance, and physical relief. A captioner is often used to ensure the deaf client can completely understand what is said. A captioner will use stenography to turn spoken words into print. The captions appear on a laptop, or a tablet, sometimes projected onto a screen.
On the day of the deposition, one of the ASL interpreters became ill and canceled their appointment, leaving the attorneys with only one interpreter. The attorneys were in a stressful situation because they had another attorney flying into town just for this deposition. Our team called certified ASL translators in the area and found one right away, but she would be 1 hour late because of traffic on the way over there. Finally, one ASL interpreter was available to relieve the first translator. This stressful situation was defused thanks to our quick-thinking team. We were able to find a certified interpreter on short notice and made sure the deposition could proceed as planned.
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