Collaborating with Interpreters and Translators (2017)

Collaborating with Interpreters and Translators (2017)

Collaborating with Interpreters and Translators (2017)

This is an excerpt from Collaborating with Interpreters and Translators, a CSHA position paper submitted September 2017.


California is the home of one third of the nation’s 5 million English-language learners (ELL). The position paper was written to offer practicing speech-language pathologists and audiologists guidelines when needing to collaborate with an interpreter/translator (I/T). This process is necessary when the clinician and client do not share the same language and is mandated by IDEA (2004) (20 U.S.C. §1412 (6)(B).

The paper includes sections on desired characteristics of the I/T, an outline of the process (briefing, interaction and debriefing or BID), a summary of previous research on the collaboration of an I/T with SLPs, as well as the results of a recent survey conducted with members of the California Speech-Language Hearing Association. Even though the outcomes of the study had limitations, the findings indicated that a majority of respondents were following recommended procedures but desired further training for themselves and the I/Ts they worked with. However, a good portion reported having difficulty finding trained I/Ts and often working with relatives or friends of the clients’ families, which is an undesirable practice to follow. Interestingly, comparatively, very few audiologists responded to the survey.

Suggestions for further training and certification as well as recognition for the work performed by I/Ts working with SLPs and audiologists are outlined. Furthermore, the writers of this paper suggest approaching the legislature to recognize the training and certification of I/Ts who work with these clinicians as official, like I/Ts working in international conferences as well as in judicial and medical settings.

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