Working with an Interpreter

Last week I shared the way that I go about setting up parent teacher conferences. Now that ours are over, I have decided to make one change for next year. At the beginning of the year, I’m going to send home a note asking parents to select if they would like an earlier (1-4) or later (5-8) time for their conference. I’m hoping this will help me avoid the last minute changes that plagued conferences this year. 

Now, onto tips when working with interpreters. 

·         Make sure to introduce yourself to the interpreter, and the interpreter to the parent.

·         Make sure you’re making eye contact with the parent as you talk, not the interpreter.

·         Speak in shorter sentences, with frequent breaks.

·         If you are uncomfortable with an interpreter who interprets at the same time as you talk, ask them to wait until you’re finished speaking (this conversation should happen before the parents arrive).

·         If special education terms, psychological terms, or testing will be discussed, make sure to explain the terms so that the interpreter and the parent can be clear as to what you’re referring to.

·         Make sure to give the parents time to ask questions. Since this is often one of a few times a year there is an interpreter available, be sure that you’re prepared to answer general questions as well (or at least know where to find the information)

In order to make this easy to share with your teachers, I’m including a  handout that you can print and slip in mailboxes, or email as a PDF.  (Click on the picture to purchase for $1.00). 

interpreter handout

Tips for working with interpreters

Do you have any additional tips that may help? Please share!