How do I book a NZSL interpreter?
Check the Deaf person’s requirements before you book
The Deaf person may have particular requirements about the interpreter or type of interpreter they prefer to work with. Reasons for preferring a particular interpreter include:
- gender of the interpreter (such as in health-related bookings, like visiting a GP, a client may prefer an interpreter of the same gender)
- experience and knowledge of the NZSL interpreter in a particular setting (such as medical or legal)
- previous bookings (for consistency, it is often recommended that the same NZSL interpreter does related assignments so that they share the background knowledge and terminology. This would be particularly useful for counselling sessions, for instance)
- language repertoire (for example, a client may ask for an interpreter who uses clear English lip patterns in combination with NZSL, or is familiar with older or younger people's signing style).
- If a preferred NZSL interpreter is not available, you should inform the Deaf person of this and discuss appropriate alternatives.
Find NZSL interpreters
There are two ways to find qualified NZSL interpreters. You either contact a booking agency or contact freelance NZSL interpreters directly. There are advantages and disadvantages to each booking method. You should take into consideration the amount of administration required, terms and conditions of the booking agency/freelance interpreter, and any particular requirements for the meeting/event.
Using a booking agency
A booking agency contacts NZSL interpreters on your behalf and handles other aspects of the booking, such as invoicing and helping the NZSL interpreter to get preparation materials or further details of the meeting/event.
Booking agencies either employ NZSL interpreters on a casual or permanent contract, or act as 'brokers' between freelance NZSL interpreters and the agency requesting the NZSL interpreting service.
Booking agencies have checked the qualifications and competence of the NZSL interpreters on their books. Terms and conditions may vary depending on the agency, but they usually charge a booking fee in addition to the NZSL interpreter's fee.
Using freelance NZSL interpreters
Freelance NZSL interpreters manage their own bookings. You contact them directly to make a booking, payment and other matters to do with the interpreting job.
Make contact and check availability
Provide full details of booking. Use the departmental booking procedure for interpreters if available.
Check terms and conditions
Make sure you understand what you are responsible for doing as a result of booking a NZSL interpreter.
Follow up to confirm booking in writing or email, even if the initial booking enquiry was confirmed. This makes sure everyone involved has the right details of the booking.
Inform the Deaf person that an interpreter has been booked
This will help the Deaf person feel confident that they will be able to communicate effectively with you in a meeting and/or access an event.
Make payment after the interpreting services have been provided
Payment for interpreting services will be advised during the booking process.
Provide feedback on how the service was provided
Let the booking agency or the NZSL interpreter know how well you felt the interpreting job went. Give your Deaf client(s) the opportunity to provide feedback as well. Deal with complaints about the NZSL interpreter if required. Read more about the SLIANZ complaints procedure: http://www.slianz.org.nz/resources/working-with-an-interpreter/complaints-procedure
A guide to working with NZSL interpreters
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