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ASL-English Interpreter / Captionist / Transcriber Handbook

Team Interpreting

In accordance with the RID-NAD Code of Professional Conduct, both interpreters in an assignment (active and supportive roles) are responsible to work cooperatively through consultation with each other and monitor the accuracy of the message being interpreted.

Team interpreting or "support interpreting" is to be used when a class is more than an hour and half in length or very intense in nature. Teaming helps prevent overuse syndrome and provides back-up support. A good team member is professional, positive, supportive, and attentive. Please agree on teaming preferences on the first day of class when working together.

  • Arrive to class early and establish teaming preferences. It is recommended to have 20-30 minute intervals for "switching" to avoid fatigue, injury, or inaccuracy.
  • Team interpreters are expected and encouraged to feed the working interpreter any missed signs or content. This immediate feedback to missed information should be brief, professional, and constructive.
  • Be open to giving and receiving feedback. Other than teaming feedback during class, do not critique/evaluate another interpreter's performance unless your team has given permission to be evaluated.
  • Be on task! The support interpreter should not be engaged in personal tasks such as: reading books, knitting, text-messaging, or balancing checkbooks during the class assignment. All interpreters need to be ready to support and back-up each other at any time. The only time an interpreter might be involved in personal activities is when the student is working independently. Be cognizant of possible misperceptions of disrespect by faculty who see an interpreter texting in class. It is important to keep professional behaviors in the classroom.
  • Discuss and agree on how to "feed" each other signs. Please be brief and concise when feeding a sign to your team partner.
  • When you miss information, look at your team partner for input. The backup/support interpreter is not to take over and clarify directly to the student but is to feed the missing information to the active interpreter.
  • The backup/support interpreter should be glancing at what is being written on the board and any other visual clues behind the active interpreter to help feed this information. This goes for audible content spoken at the back of the room that may be unclear.
  • Both interpreters are required to stay in the classroom for the entire duration of the assignment unless other arrangements have been arranged with the Interpreter Coordinator. This excludes quick bathroom breaks.
  • Do not make special arrangements to arrive late or leave early with your team. Interpreters will be paid for the actual time in class only, unless released early by the instructor, the DHH student, or the Interpreter Coordinator.
  • Interpreters must be sensitive to disrupting the classroom. Please switch as silently and professionally as possible. Leaving the room should be done only when necessary. There are times when the interpreter must arrive late or leave early from class (e.g. floating interpreter, overlapping assignments). Please inform the instructor and the DHH student in advance of any potential interruptions in class.
  • The backup/support interpreter is the one who watches the clock and initiates the switch. Discuss with your team prior to class how they prefer to switch. Some suggestions are to give a slight wave or a friendly nod to signal a switch.
  • Wait for a pause in communication/or ending concept, then the support interpreter should switch with the active interpreter at the appropriate moment. Interpreting/communication should resume smoothly.
  • If you are working with another interpreter, please share any notes that you write during class about vocabulary and possible sign choices. Please leave these notes out where both interpreters can view.
  • Team Conflict: If a conflict should arise while you are working with another interpreter, please try to resolve the conflict with each other outside of class first before contacting the Interpreter Coordinator. Try to figure out what the problem is and a possible solution. Many times interpreters do not get along simply because of differences in teaming preferences. Everyone needs to do their best to be flexible and professional with one another. If no solution can be reached, please feel free to contact the Interpreter Coordinator.
Last Updated: 11/26/2014
  • GCCCD
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District