How to work effectively with interpreters

We provide training for staff who work with public service interpreters. To find out about the webinar version of this training, click here. Larger organisations may prefer to buy our eLearning course  - click on the video for a preview of this course.

Who is the training for?

This course is for staff who have to rely on instinct to recognise the behavior of a skilled interpreter, and have not been trained in the conventions of working with an interpreter. It covers both face to face and telephone interpreting and will be useful for staff in the following settings-

  • Health care

  • Social work and advocacy

  • Immigration

  • Social care

  • Legal and judiciary

  • Policing

Mistakes are all too common.

The following video demonstrates just how easy it is to make mistakes when you have not been trained in the use of interpreters. 

Test yourself .

In the space of one minute this service provider makes 6 mistakes. Can you spot them all?

How NOT to speak to an interpreter-

How many mistakes did you spot? Scroll down to find out what they were.

Six common mistakes.

  1. She has left the interpreter and the client alone together. They should be kept apart, both before and after the appointment.

  2. She hasn't briefed the interpreter in advance so he doesn't know anything at all about Maria's situation. This will make it harder for him to do his job.

  3. Her eye contact is with the wrong person, she should be looking at the client.

  4. She assumes that the interpreter and the client can understand each other. She should check that they speak the same dialect/ language.

  5. She instructs the interpreter to ‘find out when her mum arrived in the UK.' Instead she should speak directly to Maria ('When did your mum arrive in the UK?')

  6. She says something disparaging about the client’s English level which presumably she doesn’t want to be interpreted. Never say anything unless you wish it to be interpreted.

Now available

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If you are considering purchasing this course, get in touch to book a free preview.

Other options

If your organisation does not have its own learning portal, you may prefer to book the webinar version of this training. Both courses cover the same learning objectives and last 2 hours.) If you are an individual, click here to buy a ticket for our next multi-agency webinar. If you work for an organisation why not book a call with our director? Click here to schedule a 30 minute call with Shelley Purchon.

More eLearning by English Unlocked

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This course gives healthcare workers better communication skills for moments when the interpreter is not there. It does not reduce or replace the need for interpreters but rather is a complement to that service. Click here to learn more.