How to coordinate effective communication with an interpreter?

Working effectively

Things to consider when engaging translating and interpreting services in early childhood services:

  • It is important not to make assumptions about a person’s capacity to understand and communicate in English
  • Slow down and simplify your use of language rather than raising your voice with people whose first language is not English.  Speaking louder will not improve your communication with them
  • If a person is experiencing difficulty communicating in English it is strongly recommended that an interpreter be engaged

Can older children be used as interpreters?

Children of any age should never be used as an interpreter for their parents or family members because:

  • They have limited language skills in both languages which are in line with their age, and may even be more limited if there is trauma involved
  • The content of any discussion may not be age appropriate
  • Children should not be given the burden of interpreting
  • Interpreting is a professional skill which can require up to 4 years of university training which children do not have
  • The burden of interpreting may affect parent/child power dynamics leading to inter-generational conflict within families

Working effectively with interpreters

When engaging an interpreter, it is important to adopt some specific behaviours and styles of communication. This video provides information on some effective ways to bridge the communication gap between English speakers and non-English speakers through the use of credentialed interpreters.

Watch the following video clip from TIS:


For more information, visit TIS or call the Client Liaison and Promotions section on 1300 655 820.

Last modified: Tuesday, 21 June 2016, 8:59 AM