General Communication Techniques
- It is important to get the person's attention before speaking. Since deaf people cannot hear usual calls for attention, they may need a tap on the shoulder or other visual signals to gain their attention (i.e. flicker lights on and off when entering a room, wave, etc.).
- Maintain eye contact with the deaf person and face them directly when speaking, not the interpreter or signer.
- Speak slow and clearly - avoid shouting, exaggeration and overemphasis of words.
- Be aware of bright spotlights or insufficient light.
- Don't be embarassed to communicate via pencil and paper.
"Signer" vs. "Interpreter"
A signer is someone who is acquiring or has acquired skills in American Sign Language to communicate with deaf people regardless of the course level s/he has taken, with no formal training in interpreting or ASL linguistics.
- Personal employment, family communication, partner, friend, etc.
A qualified & certified interpreter is someone trained in an interpreting program and/or is certified by the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).
- Utmost emphasis on interpreting education, training, certificate advancement and retaining integrity of the profession.