Two interpreters for bookings? Read why.

Why would you need two interpreters for a booking? Ever been told you need more than one interpreter for your booking? You are not alone and here is why. Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing people use Auslan and Deaf interpreters in many different contexts...
Auslan interpreters at a First Aid Course, Why Do I Need Two Interpreters?

Scroll to the bottom of the page for Auslan translation.

 Why would you need two interpreters for a booking? 

Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing people use Auslan and Deaf interpreters in many different contexts, covering the entire range of appointments, from social interaction to legal and medical circumstances.
No two Deaf people experience language or use Auslan the same way. Like an accent, where no two people sound the same when talking. Auslan and Deaf interpreters work to bridge communication for all involved parties in all directions. They are professionals who have undertaken formal study of Auslan and sign language interpreting practices.   
Auslan and Deaf interpreters have a governing body and Occupational Health and Safety guidelines to follow. Given the tremendous lack of Auslan and Deaf interpreters nationally, it is of the greatest importance that we take care of the 681 accredited interpreters we have in Australia.   

Who sets the standards?   

The Australian Sign Language Interpreters’ Association (ASLIA) is a national organization standing for the interests of Auslan and Deaf interpreters across Australia. ASLIA works with governing peak bodies and interpreters to help solve issues within the industry, ensuring best practice protocols and upholding working conditions for interpreters.   
ASLIA handles the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S (Occupational Health and Safety)) guidelines for Auslan and Deaf interpreters, ensuring development and promotion of safe working practices. This guarantees that employers and participants are aware of what a safe working environment looks like for Auslan and Deaf interpreters.  


What are the risks to interpreters?   

For Auslan and Deaf interpreters the main OH&S risks associated with their jobs are Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) and ‘interpersonal and intrapersonal hazards’.   
OOS, previously known as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), is the largest concern for Auslan and Deaf interpreters. OOS is common in the fingers, hands, wrist and elbows and is caused by repetitive movement or awkward posture in the work environment.  
Auslan and Deaf interpreters are also at high risk of interpersonal and intrapersonal hazards. This includes violence, verbal abuse, crime as well as vicarious trauma. Defined as the emotional toll of seeing or hearing about other people’s suffering and trauma, vicarious trauma affects interpreters who may have to work in confronting and emotionally tricky situations.   
Interpreters also have environmental risks in some instances, such as biohazards and radiation. This can occur in many medical interpreting environments and should be managed to ensure safety to all.  


How do I know if I need one or two interpreters?   

It is the recommendation of ASLIA that interpreters work for no longer than five hours of actual interpreting per day and where the duration of interpreting is greater than one hour, two interpreters should work in tandem.   
These recommendations help to increase both accuracy and the well-being of the interpreters.  
Highly technical or language specific situations, such as a legal setting, TAFE courses, University, or specialized training, will require two interpreters. Quite often when the spoken language is very technical or complicated, or there are no direct translations for some terms, so the interpreter must fingerspell and describe to the best of their ability. Having a second interpreter can help by keeping the quality and accuracy of the interpreting service and ensure adequate breaks are supported by swapping every 15 or 20 minutes. 
Two interpreters or more may also be needed where there are several Deaf participants.   
If you have booked an interpreter for media; somewhere that will have filming or stage performances, two interpreters should be booked. This is to ensure accuracy and professionalism but also to allow support from the other interpreter especially when it is a live media booking 


What is a Deaf Interpreter? 

Deaf interpreters play an essential role, working in tandem with Auslan interpreters to provide specialist language skills. Deaf interpreters also help bridge the gap between cross-cultural differences in the Deaf and hearing communities.  
A Deaf interpreter is essential in situations where a participant is using an international sign language, has a mental health condition or is difficult to understand. Deaf interpreters are also vital in interpreting and supporting Auslan interpreters with younger children whose Auslan skills are still developing, and their signs may not be fully formed yet.   
There are circumstances where specific requirements need more than one type of interpreter, including a Deaf interpreter. This may be for interpreting for Deafblind participants, where the Deaf participant is using an international sign language or when a Deaf participant is not easily understood by a NAATI accredited Auslan Interpreter. Deaf person with any Neurodiversity may also require a second interpreter or Deaf interpreter.  



Auslan and Deaf interpreters are an unequivocally valuable resource to the Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing community as they work to bridge the gap between the hearing and Deaf communities. With so few Auslan and Deaf interpreters in Australia it is paramount that we ensure OH&S policies are followed to promote safe working environments. Using two interpreters protects the participant and the interpreters as it allows accuracy, fairness, and well-being for everyone involved.
Making sure we can take care of our interpreters by making sure two interpreters are booked when there is highly technical or language specific, Deafblind participants, filming or stage performance, Deaf person with any Neurodiversity, but always check with the person you are booking on behalf of, what their communication preferences are.


Contact us

If you are unsure if you need one or two interpreters for a booking, or a Deaf interpreter, feel free to Contact us for an obligation free quote. 

Melinda Interpreting Tiny Hearts First Aid

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