Interpreter question (position relative to speaker)?

ecp

Member
I have a question for the interpreters out there.
How do you decide where to stand when interpreting?
I recently went to an event with a very animated speaker who was in the middle of the stage but the interpreters were on the very edge of the stage. I felt like I was going to break my neck trying to watch the performance of the speaker and trying to see what he was saying.
At a break I asked the interpreters if they would move closer to the speaker and they just ignored my request. I backed up my request with the fact that I was in the front row and looking between the speaker and the interpreter involved over 80 degrees of head movement (that doesn’t seem much until you do it for 2 hours).

So, interpreters, how do you decide where to stand? In school the terps were next to the teachers so we could focus on the subject at hand. Why choose to sit on the edge of the stage when the teo Deaf people ask you to move closer to the speaker.
 

Krisibnida

New Member
In our class, since we started translating our teacher trained us to be able to translate without looking at the person talking, since most of the time the interpreter stands with his/her back to the speaker... It usually is difficult to hear the person, so you have to practice and learn to translate by their intonation (I'm from Spain so idk if it changes in other countries).
 

ecp

Member
In our class, since we started translating our teacher trained us to be able to translate without looking at the person talking, since most of the time the interpreter stands with his/her back to the speaker... It usually is difficult to hear the person, so you have to practice and learn to translate by their intonation (I'm from Spain so idk if it changes in other countries).
I’m not the interpreter. I’m the Deaf person.
 

Lysander

Well-Known Member
That might have been the preference of the venue or the speaker. Sorry to say it, but some hearing people are distracted by the interpreter and will be dicks about it.

I work at a hospital where we often will use interpreters. My personal preference as the hearing person is for the interpreter to be slightly behind me off to one side. I really don't like it when the interpreter is right next to the Deaf person for exactly the reason that you're describing. The conversation is between me and the consumer. It gets annoying when everyone is breaking eye contact to switch back and forth between us.
 

ecp

Member
That might have been the preference of the venue or the speaker. Sorry to say it, but some hearing people are distracted by the interpreter and will be dicks about it.

I work at a hospital where we often will use interpreters. My personal preference as the hearing person is for the interpreter to be slightly behind me off to one side. I really don't like it when the interpreter is right next to the Deaf person for exactly the reason that you're describing. The conversation is between me and the consumer. It gets annoying when everyone is breaking eye contact to switch back and forth between us.
That is a good point. People can be dicks.
For theater/performance interpreting I like what these people say (https://www.accessibletheatre.org.uk/access-co-ordinators/british-sign-language/233-2/) in the case I describe above, the interpreters and Deaf audience were all on the same side and completely separated from the performer.

In medical interpreting, I prefer that I, the provider, am closer to the patient than the interpreter so tag it doesn’t seem like the patient is being ganged up against.
 

Lysander

Well-Known Member
That is a good point. People can be dicks.
For theater/performance interpreting I like what these people say (https://www.accessibletheatre.org.uk/access-co-ordinators/british-sign-language/233-2/) in the case I describe above, the interpreters and Deaf audience were all on the same side and completely separated from the performer.

In medical interpreting, I prefer that I, the provider, am closer to the patient than the interpreter so tag it doesn’t seem like the patient is being ganged up against.
Oh yeah. Never thought of it that way, but I can totally see that.
 

Beowulf

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
That is a good point. People can be dicks.
For theater/performance interpreting I like what these people say (https://www.accessibletheatre.org.uk/access-co-ordinators/british-sign-language/233-2/) in the case I describe above, the interpreters and Deaf audience were all on the same side and completely separated from the performer.

In medical interpreting, I prefer that I, the provider, am closer to the patient than the interpreter so tag it doesn’t seem like the patient is being ganged up against.
Never thought of it that way, but it has the ring of truth. We need more people like you. :)
 
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DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
TL;DR--> really depends on environment AND the deaf person's needs/preferences as some may also be low vision or have problems seeing at a distance.

It really depends on the situation. For something as public as a speaker or theater- that is probably set by the venue. For medical situation, I would think the preferences should lie with the deaf patients as some may be low vision/blind as well. I've never really fully understood why the interpreter in presentations as mentioned by ecp's example are always on the opposite end of the stage. The interpreter also needs to hear well what they're saying (My experiences here has been interesting and bears that out-- even in a classroom lol)

Same thing with school etc. For me the interpreter could conceivably have just stood next to the teacher or across from him on the other side of the room (depending on where I sat) BUT because my far vision sucks and I cannot see fine details even three feet (like fingerspelling), the way we did it was to have me in the front next to the wall with the 2 interpreters sitting in front of me (other side of table ) to try to reduce the whole 'distraction' thing. As far as I know none of the other students have really said anything negative but I do know some have actually watched a few of my interpreters lol as they were curious/fascinated etc. (plus point is some have learned a few signs- one guy actually went and looked up the sign for Good Luck to sign it to me later lol).
 
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