Why is More Than One Interpreter Needed for an Assignment? ► Equal Dreams

Our service coordinator will always work closely with you to understand the nature of your event. This way, we can deploy the right number of interpreters to fit the needs of the service users, your event, and our access professionals. 

In some contexts, we will deploy more than one sign language or speech-to-text interpreter for an assignment. Assigning more than one interpreter, also known as team interpreting, is a professional and standard practice in access service provision. 

These are some reasons why we support team interpreting.

1. Accurate & sustainable interpretation

Interpreting can be mentally and physically taxing, and fatigue can set in especially during prolonged durations of non-stop cognitive processing.

When there are two interpreters, they can take turns to be the active interpreter.

The non-active interpreter is not “off-duty”, but constantly on stand-by to provide support and feedback. This close collaboration improves the overall quality of interpretation, while ensuring that the work can be sustainably done. 

This doesn’t only benefit Deaf clients. In the case of sign language interpreting, those who are hearing also benefit from maintained voice interpreting quality. For speech-to-text interpreting, everyone in the room gets to benefit from a fuller transcript.

2. Greater consistency during the assignment

If an event is 3 hours long, better quality of service can be provided if there are two interpreters who stay throughout — rather than one interpreter taking 1.5 hours, leaving, and the second interpreter coming in for the next 1.5 hours.

When both interpreters stay throughout the assignment:

  • Deaf and hearing clients can get used to both interpreting styles from the start, rather than having a jarring switch half-way through.
  • Both interpreters can work closely together to align their translation of specific vocabulary or jargon.
  • Both interpreters can get familiar with the context and speakers from the start of the event.

3. Supports the event organisers in having a seamless event

Depending on the set-up of the event, more than one interpreter might be needed to ensure that communication access is efficiently provided (rather than having one interpreter juggling multiple responsibilities on their own).

Some examples of such set-ups include (but are not limited to) events that have:

  • Interaction that is largely two-way
  • Multiple service users
  • Speakers at different locations (e.g. emcees on a stage, with participants seated at round tables for discussion)
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