Services for Deaf People in a Rural Setting: Issues and Recommendations for Interpreters


What do you do?

Helpful Hints

Interpreters are not always well trained and educated professional people.
You could be a Sign Language interpreter
Many interpreters are unpaid volunteers

1. Who is an interpreter?


Some Characteristics

2. Foundations of interpreting

Interpreting is a matter of faith and trust
Interpreting is a relationship

3. Language of Interpreters

Interpreting does not need to be word for word. It is more important to get the meaning of the speaker/signer across.

Example: Some may say 'I have spent too much time (time-time-much) working on your problem', i.e. he is fed up. To the deaf person receiving the message through an interpreter this may sound enthusiastic: 'I have spent much, much time trying to solve your problem'. Misunderstanding can become a serious problem: Example: A judge may ask, 'Are you innocent?' and the answer is 'Yes'. In Sign Language the question might be 'Did you do it?' and the answer would be 'No'. The judge would note both the no (from the accused) and the yes (from the interpreter). He may decide that the client said he was not innocent.

4. Recognition of Interpreter

Example: The village chief or tribal sheikh may have an officially recognised function of 'justice of the peace' though he may not have studied law or have other formal qualifications. The government would recognise him in the same way as a professional judge.

5. Training

It is always good to get more training Interpreters

Professional Interpreters

Local Interpreters


5. Ethics of interpreting

It is important that Sign language be recognised as an official language. Efforts should be made to lobby the government for such recognition. This was done, for example, in Uganda where Sign Language is now officially recognised in the constitution.



Interpreters should be recognised by the clients and the community as able, honest, ethical and objective.

Example: A female deaf person may not be comfortable using a male interpreter when visiting a doctor or vice versa.

6. Conclusion

This short booklet is not designed to encompass all topics relating to Sign Language interpreting. The aim is to give you some helpful hints and to encourage you in your interpreting.

There is a need for local Sign Language interpreters, maybe you could help?

Initiative for Deaf Education in the Third World, Egypt, 1997

Issues and Recommendations for Parents
Issues and Recommendations for Sign Language
Issues and Recommendations for Teachers


Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function mysql_connect() in /home3/eenet/public_html/reference.php:6 Stack trace: #0 /home3/eenet/public_html/resources/docs/interps.php(168): require() #1 {main} thrown in /home3/eenet/public_html/reference.php on line 6