2000 Jordan Institute
4, No. 1
for Working with an Interpreter
Given the increase of the Latino population in North Carolina, you probably
work with individuals who do not speak English. If you bring in a translator,
the following guidelines are suggested:
- Introduce yourself and the interpreter to your client(s). Describe
the role each of you will serve.
- Learn basic words and phrases in the family's language.
- Avoid body language that could be misunderstood.
- Speak directly to the family and not the interpreter. Look at and
listen to family members as they speak.
- Use a positive tone of voice and facial expressions. Be sincere and
talk to them in a calm manner.
- Limit your remarks and questions to a few sentences between translations.
- Avoid using slang words or jargon.
- From time to time, check on the family's understanding of what you
have been talking about by asking them to repeat it back to you. Avoid
asking, "Do you understand?"
- Whenever possible, use materials printed in the family's language.
Lynch. E. (1992). From culture shock to cultural learning.
In E. W. Lynch and M. J. Hanson (Eds.), Developing Cross-Cultural Competence:
A Guide for Working with Young Children and Their Families. Baltimore,
MD: Paul H. Brooks Publishing Co., 35-62.
© 1999 Jordan
Institute for Families