Written by Linda Alexander
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Interpreters of American Sign Language into spoken English are also known as 'terps. If you are using an interpreter at an event for the first time, you might have some questions. The interpreter can help you and provide guidelines to help you use their service effectively.

Using the Services of Interpreters

Locating interpreters is not difficult. They can be found in your yellow pages or online by doing a search for "ASL interpreting." Private agencies, organizations providing services to the deaf, and state or local governments also provide such services. Deaf-resource organizations sometimes offer referrals to interpreters. If not, they will likely know where to direct you..

If you have never spoken to a deaf person through an interpreter, here are some guidelines: When speaking with deaf people, address them directly. When the translator says, "I," he is speaking for the deaf person. Even when you are on a telephone relay call, you aren't speaking to the operator--you're conversing with the deaf or hard of hearing person through an operator.

Remember that interpreters can only convey one message at a time. A conversation with a deaf person will likely be slower than with another hearing person. It takes time for the interpreter to sign your message, for the deaf person reply, and for the interpreter to speak back to you.

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