Good practice when working with interpreters

Guidance on how to work with interpreters effectively.

For guidance on the key concerns when working with interpreters read this document. It is designed to help you understand the role of interpreters, and to be able to explain this to them, and the refugees you are supporting.

It explains what an interpreter should, and should not do, and some of the challenges that you and they will face when working with newly arrived refugees, such as maintaining boundaries.

The content of this document applies equally to both professional and volunteer interpreters, and any bilingual volunteer should be aware of these principles as they may be required to act as an interpreter at times. If you using professional interpreters, they should be aware of the standards they need to maintain, but we would still recommend you read this document and confirm their understanding of these principles. As with any profession, standards can vary from one individual to another, and you should set our your expectations to each interpreter that you work with.

To access this document, please register for an account. It will then be available in the 'Downloads' section on this page.

Last modified
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - 10:56
Key things to do
  • Understand the requirements of the role and explain this to all interpreters that you use.
  • Maintain clear boundaries. Make sure that the refugees you are supporting know that the interpreter is there to enable communication, not to answer their questions, or provide additional support.
  • Use short sentences, and remember to pause regularly. Ask refugees to do the same.
  • Good practice when working with interpreters