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E-Michigan Deaf and Hard of Hearing People.

Description of Interpreters

Sign Language Interpreters

Sign language interpreters are fluent in two or more languages. American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language with its own structure, grammar and syntax which is very different than English. Interpreters develop their skills thru extensive training and practice so they can adjust to and match the needs of the consumers.

Deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind people may require the use of an interpreter fluent in ASL if ASL is their first language or is the preferred language. Other deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind people may require an interpreter who uses ASL signs that follow English structure and grammar.

Oral Interpreters

Deaf, hard of hearing deafblind people who do not sign may request an oral interpreter for effective communication.

Oral interpreters have had extensive training and are fluent in translating the meaning of spoken words by quietly mouthing a speaker’s words for a deaf or hard of hearing person. Oral interpreters are skilled at substituting words for those that are difficult to speechread while maintaining the intent of the speaker. Sign language is not used by oral interpreters for effective communication.

DeafBlind Interpreters

DeafBlind Interpreters are sign language interpreters who have had advanced training in working with deafblind people. Communication will take place by signing in close proximity to the client, palm writing, fingerspelling in the person's hand, or signing while the deafblind person feels the signs with their hands. Click here for more information about DeafBlind interpreting.

Deaf Interpreters

Deaf interpreters are persons with excellent communication skills, knowledge of deaf culture, and have specialized training and/or experiences in the use of gestures, mime, drawings and other tools to enhance communication. A deaf interpreter will usually team with a sign language interpreter to provide effective communication for the deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind person and the hearing person involved.

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