Working with Interpreters

Interpreters working with SLT’s

Using parents for a 1-3 word level

Skills & Guidance


• SLT are health professionals trained to assess, diagnose and treat a range of communication and eating/drinking difficulties. SLT provide a service to a range of clients across all ages from newly born babies to older people.

• As an qualified interpreter you are expected to behave professionally an follow the SLT directions, as closely as possible. You should keep all information confidential and seek clarification if you are unsure. You MUST tell the SLT exactly what the patient has said.

• An interpreter is expected to assist and facilitate communication.

• Please obtain the name of the SLT that you are interpreting for.

• Please ensure that you arrive at least 10 minutes before the appointment time, and you have all the appointment details with you. E.g. patients name, venue, etc.

• If requested please ring the client to confirm attendance, time and venue.

• For you to be aware of your role and direction, you must request to meet with the SLT prior to the session.

• The client’s confidentiality must be respected at all times. You will be provided with general information about the purpose of the appointment. Further details about the client may be revealed as the session progresses. You must disclose this information to anybody, unless otherwise directed by the SLT

• Ensure that you speak the same dialect as the client.

• If required please give the SLT information about culture, religious beliefs and customs, or language and dialects. You may want to discuss cultural implications of using particular play, or assessment material.

• During the session, all interactions have to be interpreted, including those between the parent and child or parent and other family member/friend, or additional comments addressed to the interpreter.

• The seating needs to be arranged for the most direct communication. The interpreter may be required to sit on the floor and play with the child. Discuss the cultural appropriateness of seating with the SLT

• The interpreter may be asked to play with the child, ensure you are comfortable with this.

• Ensure that you continue to interpret all interactions and conversations with yourself. If the client begins a lengthy conversation do not be afraid to ask for them to pause whilst you translate this information back to the SLT.

• If the client requests you not to tell the SLT what they have said. Please explain to the client this is not possible, because your role is to interpreter everything that is said, and then Inform the SLT what the client has said.

• As a qualified interpreter you will be aware that when the SLT speaks they will address the client and not you. Please ensure you follow this procedure during your interpretations.

• The SLT will use words, which are easily interpreted, avoiding ambiguous or complex language, and using short sentences. Request clarification if you do not follow the conversation or what requires interpretation.

• Moderate the speed or your speech and encourage the client to reduce his/her pace of speech. Ensure the pace of the session is appropriate for both parties to comprehend.

• Check assumptions and clarify language. Summarise and check what has been understood.

• The SLT needs to assess in detail the words and sentences the client understands without any other support. It is important that you do not to change, repeat, break down or add words. Remember you are facilitating an assessment procedure.

• Therefore during an assessment of language the interpreter should be advised to copy what the SLT says, but not use any other means to communicate.

• Check with the client that they have understood everything.

• Allow the client to ask supplementary questions or seek clarification.

• Any non-verbal/observations should be fedback.

• Make any necessary follow up sessions.

• If the session has been traumatic ensure you seek support from your co-ordinator.

• Complete and sign the relevant section of the Interpreter’s Assignment form.