Classroom Interpreting

Classroom Interpreters - Interpreters and Children - Evaluating an Interpreted Education

A Student’s Needs May Vary With the Situation

Educational interpreters provide services in many different areas that range from highly academic lecture situations to social interactions to school-wide presentations to class discussions and debates. Interpreting in each of these situations can be quite different and different interpreters may do better in some situations than others. Some interpreters may handle social interaction better than others, or an interpreter may be particularly good at interpreting the sciences. The student’s interpreting needs may vary with the situation and the most appropriate interpreter may also differ.

Students in middle school and high school may prefer different interpreters in different settings. There is no evidence that allowing a student to pick an interpreter improves learning in the classroom, as long as the interpreter is highly qualified. Many schools allow students to help choose an interpreter for social situations because the student’s comfort level is important for successful social interaction. A student may feel that a specific interpreter makes social interaction easier, and that is a very important consideration.

Particularly for older students, it is important that the student be involved in discussions regarding the need for interpreting services. In reality, learning to predict interpreting needs is an important skill for adulthood and employment, and students should be encouraged to develop this understanding of how to manage their communication needs.