Classroom Interpreting

Deaf Education Teachers - Help the interpreter understand the student’s IEP goals and current level of functioning

Educational interpreters rarely receive comprehensive training in understanding IEP goals or the child’s current skills. Often the terminology we use to describe language skills is new to the interpreter. An IEP may have a single goal that involves many sub-components. An educator can see the many small goals that a larger stated goal may involve, but interpreters typically do not have that type of training.

However, the interpreter can do a better job if he/she understands the student’s skill level and the types of progress that the team expects for that year. The deaf educator can help the educational interpreter transfer this knowledge about the child into interpreting practices. For example, what does it mean to say that the student is slightly delayed in vocabulary? Some interpreters may think this means that the interpreter should use easier vocabulary when really it might mean extra emphasis and fingerspelling of key terms. It is important to discuss the IEP and to treat it as the living document it is intended to be.