Working with Interpreters

Interpreters working with SLT’s

Using parents for a 1-3 word level

Skills & Guidance


Important Note:
• Parent/Carers may only be used as interpreters when they are fluent in English and their additional language.
• If the child is functioning between a 1-3 word level comprehensively and expressively this method may be used. If the child is functioning at a higher language level, they will require an interpreter for a reliable assessment.
• The therapist should be clear and concise, and model the instructions below. If you have any doubts on the interpreting process using a parent, please re-book the session with an interpreter.
• Be aware of maintaining appropriate standards and professionalism with this method of assessment. Document what is said fully in the clinical notes.

• Try to use words which are easily translated. Avoid ambiguous or complex language.
• Moderate the speed or your speech and encourage the parent/carer to reduce his/her pace of speech. Ensure the pace of the session is appropriate for both parties to comprehend.
• It is important that the parent/carer is told not to change, repeat, break down or add words.
• The SLT needs to assess in detail the words and sentences the client understands without any other support. Therefore during an assessment of language the parent/carer should be advised to imitate what the SLT says, without using any other means to communicate. Explain that the parent/carer should resist the intuitive temptation to help the client express him/herself. Explain this first step is important to see what the client can do without help.
• The parent/carer should be asked not to look at or point to the object when giving an instruction.
• The parent/carer should be asked not to break down instructions into parts. This can be practised before the assessment, to ensure appropriate exchange of information.
• If the parent/carer is asked to imitate what a client says, they should imitate exactly what is heard - even if it does not make sense, and if the grammar is incorrect, or the speech is not clear.
• If the child comprehends English (at any level), and you are assessing the client’s other language, it is important to prepare written instructions to be interpreted, so that the client does not have a cue from the English model previously heard. This would compromise assessment validity.