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Varieties of interpreting settings

Sign language interpreting isn’t experienced in a vacuum; it’s a social event that always takes place in a social — sometimes intimate — setting. Let’s have a look what idiosyncrasies exist in legal, medical, mental health, entertainment, and religious settings. (We’ll save educational/K–12 interpreting for another unit discussion.)

Here are some learning outcomes of which we might want to be aware:


Chapter 6 (pp. 81–103) Required

Certified Deaf Interpreting

Handout (RID; certified Deaf interpreter)

Working with Deaf-Blind Participants

Deaf Blind Interpreting National Training and Resource Center (SSP)

Particularly of note, this 2017 report on effective practice with Deaf-Blind consumers is helpful in understanding a wide variety of scenarios, users, and approaches to working with deaf-blind people.

Providing and Receiving Support Services: Comphrensive Training for Deaf-Blind Persons and their Support Service Providers (SSP)

Understanding Pro-Tactile Communication

aj granda and Jelica Nuccio are the creators of Pro-Tactile, an expanded communication method for working and communicating with Deaf-Blind participants. It incorporates words/content with non-manual and environmental information to create a rich layer of backchanneling. Demonstrated use and explanation of the method is found in their vlogs here.

Quartz article on use of Pro-Tactile with Deaf-Blind people.


Best Practices: ASL and English Interpretation Within Legal setttings

This is a best practices document sponsored by the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC) outlining best acceptable field practices for interpreting in legal settings. (2009)

Handout (RID; legal1)
Handouts (RID; legal2)

RID Position Paper: Legal Interpreting (3 pages) and Interpreting in Legal Settings. Additional resources for legal interpreting situations, including appropriateness of interpreters testifying in court, confidentiality, Frishberg (1994) on interpreting in legal settings, codes of ethics for legal interpreters, client/attorney and interpreter privileged communications. (Note: legibility is sketchy in a few places. 13 pages.)

Handout (Mather, 2002; RID Views)
Handout (Mather, 2004)
Handout (Mather, 2006; RID Views)

Recent articles/position papers by Mathers regarding when and how interpreters should respond to subpeonas.

American Sign Language Interpreters in Utah State Courts

As of 2011, requirements to interpret in Utah courtrooms.

Language and Domain: Applications for the Courtroom Interpreter

An introduction to linguistic challenges present in the legal/courtroom setting. (Or download the PDF version of this article.)


NCEIC Annotated Bibliography for Interpreting in Healthcare Settings

Handout (RID; medical)
Handout (RID; medical)

Mental Health

Handout (RID; mental health)
Handout (RID; mental health)
Handout (RID; mental health)

RID Position Paper: Mental Health Interpreting (3 pages, 20KB) and Intepreting in Mental Health Settings. Additional resources from the RID for both interpreters and professionals working with Deaf clients in mental health situations. They discuss concepts of privacy, confidentiality, and the variety of issues that arise in these situations. (Note: legibility is sketchy in a few places. 4 pages.)


Feel the Music: LotuSIGN (documentary)

Six-minute documentary on LotuSIGN, a performing arts/concert interpreting agency based in Austin, Texas.

Concert interpreter Amber Gallego advocates for a better SL experience at concert venues

“Music is more than words,” she said. “And the problem is that the interpreters, for a long time, have just focused on the words — and not a thought about all the other layers that come with it to actually make it equivalent. I show all the instruments, because they need to be able to see the riffs. So, it’s kind of like using onomatopoeia in sign language. It’s not only words — it’s also all the different layers.”

MTV.com spotlights concert interpreter extraordinaire Amber Gallego


Handout (RID; religion)