In order for all the participants to understand why the interpreters are there and the importance of interpretation, we encourage doing a quick orientation to interpreting right at the beginning of a gathering. Here are some things you may want to include in your introduction. Feel free to add and change to meet the needs of the group.
“Hi! The organizers of today’s event have made a commitment to create a multilingual space. To help create that space, we have interpretation equipment and interpreters that will be interpreting from X to Y, and Y to X. It takes the whole group to really make this work, so we’re going to ask for your help with a couple of things:
- If folks start speaking too fast, and the interpreters need them to slow down, we’ll do this hand signal — demonstrate hand signal.
- If folks are speaking too softly, and the interpreters can’t hear them, we’ll do this hand signal — demonstrate hand signal.
- Speak one person at a time, so that the interpreters don’t have to choose who to interpret for.
- For bilingual folks, please feel free to switch languages (and we actually encourage you to speak in the non-dominant language), but please don’t switch languages in the same sentence.
- When you’re talking, it may be helpful to pull off your earphones or turn down the volume so you’re not distracted by the interpretation.
- The language the conversation is happening in can switch at any moment, so please keep the earphones close by and ready to use should the language change.
- If there is any trouble with the equipment, please don’t suffer in silence. Come over to the interpreter table and we can help you.
We believe that language is intimately connected to who we are – our thoughts, the way we see the world, our emotions, cultures, passions, and politics and we want to create spaces where we can share all of that and relate to each other in deeper ways to to transform our communities. Thank you!”