Useful Information when booking an interpreter

Booking a Sign Language Interpreter can be a daunting process. We have put together some pointers to help you book an Interpreter and some of the questions you should be asking!

Before the Booking happens...

Preparation material

Interpreters work in variety of settings and may not necessarily have an in depth knowledge of everything they interpret. This is why preparation is important as it will give the interpreter some idea of what will be happening. This can take various forms, papers that are to be discussed, lecture notes, training packs or even meeting the interpreter for a few minutes before the job starts to give them a quick briefing.

Directions to the Venue

If you know that the venue is difficult to find or is tricky to get to, it is important to let us know so that we can pass on that information to the interpreter and they can then allow extra time for travelling if necessary. If there is a car park nearby, or a train station within walking distance please pass this information on as it all helps to reduce unnecessary stress on the interpreter. If you have car parking that can be reserved please let us know as the interpreter may request this.

How many people are expected

Some interpreters specialise in large meetings and conferences and others choose to avoid this type of booking. By giving us this information it allows us to give the interpreter a better picture of what the booking entails so they can make an informed choice when accepting or declining the booking. It will also ensure that we can approach the right interpreters for the job.

On the day...

Interpreters interpret every day of the week and can advise you of the best way to set up the seating on the day. If you wish to prepare before the interpreter arrives the most important thing to remember is the Deaf person and the Interpreter need to be located so that they have a clear, front on view of each other. However there are some things that you can prepare for to ensure all runs smoothly. These are….


It may seem insignificant and is something we take for granted but for people using a Sign Language Interpreter it is a vital element of communication. The area that the interpreter works in will need to be well lit from the front. The lighting should never be from behind the interpreter as this casts the front of the interpreter into shadows. Lighting needs to be considered when in a room with lots of natural light, bright sunshine is lovely but not when the Deaf person is straining to see the interpreter through it. If you are using PowerPoint or an OHP you will probably have the need to turn off lights to darken the room so people can see the display, but this may need some compromise as the Deaf person will not be able to see the interpreter clearly.


Again this is something that may sound simple but it has a huge impact on the communication outcome. If the interpreter is having difficulty hearing you, other people in the room probably are too.

Speed or Pace

Unlike most spoken language interpreters, Sign Language Interpreters work simultaneously. This means there is no need to have pauses when speaking as the interpretation is happening at the same time and speed as your speech. If the interpreter is having difficulty keeping up or if you are speaking too slowly the interpreter will let you know discreetly.

After the event...

We value feedback from all our customers. If you have anything that you would like us to know about either the interpreter that attended the booking or the whole booking process please contact us by phone, email or fax. All comments will be treated as confidential unless informed otherwise.

Questions you should be asking the LSP if you book them directly

Are you registered with the NRCPD and/or a member of ASLI? If so what is your status.  Please can I see your membership card/please bring your ID card with you.

What would you charge?

What are your travel expenses?

Do you need travel directions?

What preparation material do you require?

What facilities do you need on the day? E.g. Spot lighting if a large conference, small platform to stand on if a large room without a tilted floor, seats at a specific place in the room.