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Sign Language interpreting from a home environment; Keeping profession standards

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

The demand for video interpreting is on the up; the market is booming "thanks" to the current situation.

Here at Deaf Umbrella, like many other interpreting service companies, we have moved to online working and good practices must be adhered to in order to offer high quality support during a video interpreted call.

Video interpreting practice and standards must be protected and maintained while working from home, hence, we have put together a basic guideline to consider and to help you take appropriate steps before preparing a Zoom call:

1. Lighting

  • Can you be seen clearly?

  • Is there enough light on your face to allow a deaf person to read you?

  • Do your glasses reflect on the screen in front of you?

  • Is the light coloured or white, it could make a difference

Think about the room you are working in and if you can be seen clearly.

To avoid glare on glasses in video you can try to move your light so it's above head height and to the side, then don't look towards the light.

You can also increase the level of ambient room light or use window light at an angle. Have you tried anti glare coating? Some some it works too!

2. Background

  • Do you have lots of books that distracts the onlooker?

  • Posters of your favourite characters like Harry Potter or Super Car Blondie?

  • Personal photos of your wedding or family?

  • Candles burning or a bright lamp in the background?

  • A Glass door with family members passing by frequently?

If your answer is “yes” to any of these distracting things please think about removing them, moving them out of eyeshot or covering them up. Ironed sheets work well for covering things up!

Please do not use one of the distracting templates on your pc for backgrounds. They just don’t work!

3. Privacy, noise and interruption

  • Do your family or people in the house know you are working on a zoom call?

  • Have you notified you need privacy and for how long?

  • Have you thought about eventualities – the door bell, children needing you, the dog needing to go out or barking at the postman?

Think about a note on your room door to say you are working and during what times. Think about organising childcare and letting the dog into the garden so you are prepared.

4. Personal appearance

  • Do you look like you are going to work as normal?

  • Ask yourself honestly - have your standards as a communicator slipped because you are home?

  • Are your colours, patterns or materials suitable for the camera? Some things can look see-through or very busy on screen even though they look great in the mirror!

  • Are you groomed or just out of bed?

  • Do you have jewellery that dangles or jangles and therefore becomes distracting?

The deaf person might feel that you are not appropriately dressed and won't be comfortable asking you to change into more appropriate clothing or remove the distraction of those lovely Christmas earrings! Please feel free to ask them about this. Just because you are working from home does not mean your standards of practice should slip. Once a professional always a professional.

We hope you find this information of interest. Please feel free to share this blog post with those who might be interested!⁠

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Thank you!


Deaf Awareness Training for companies by Deaf Umbrella

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