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Athlete Blog

New interpreter?

September 30, 2016

The 2:00pm practice is about to begin. Your muscles are all warmed up and ready to rock. You’re mentally prepared. You start to wonder where your interpreter is. At 2:05, a meek lady walks onto the field and tells you that the other interpreter is sick and she has no idea what she’s supposed to do.

This kind of situation will happen every once in a while in every deaf athlete’s career. This installment will help you prepare your new interpreter as quickly as possible.

You have to tell your interpreter your communication preference.

Not everyone has the same communication preference. There are athletes who rely completely on American Sign Language. Some will prefer to watch the interpreter then use his/her own voice to speak. There are athletes who prefer not to utilize the interpreter until the information becomes unclear. You will have to tell your interpreter what you like, and what you usually do. This also means the interpreter will know how you interact with the coaches, and the teammates as well. This will give the interpreter a better idea of when to back off, or when to come in when you are socializing.

The interpreter will need to know what some of the terms mean.

Every sport has its own language, and for someone who might be not as well-versed as you are, it will be tough to interpret. It will be beneficial to the interpreter if you provide signs for certain positions, drills, or sign-names. When I was working with a new interpreter, I would rattle off specific signs for positions, and some drills such as “ground balls” or “batting practice.” I would anticipate what the coach would typically say, then give the interpreter a heads-up that he’ll say something about hitting or a certain drill.

The interpreter should know what the practice format is, and where to stand.

Some practices can get quite crazy with all different players running around doing different things- but for a new interpreter, it can be considered catastrophic. They will want to know what’s happening ahead of time, and where to go instead of looking around with no clue about what’s going on. Not only that, the madness can include flying balls, pucks or bodies. You want your interpreter to be safe! So you’ll have to let the interpreter know where he/she should be standing—and whether or not the coach minds if the interpreter is tagging along wherever he/she goes.

I have a few more tips on how to work with a new interpreter, but that’s for a different installment. Hope this helped! Have a terrific day.