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How to work with an On-site or Video Interpreter


  • Book the Interpreter as early as possible once you identify a need. Allow extra time for the session, as sessions take up to double the time of a standard session.
  • Provide the client’s name, the session’s expected duration and any other relevant information so the interpreter will be familiar with the topic.
  • Organise a quiet area where you can talk to the client uninterrupted.

Before the session

  • We recommend that the client and Interpreter sit separately to avoid the risk of the client asking the Interpreter questions before or after the session. If possible, have a designated waiting area for Interpreters to ensure prompt commencement of sessions.
  • If the session is via video conference, please provide a link to the virtual meeting as soon as possible.

During the session

  • When the interpreter arrives, allow them to introduce themselves to you and the client.
  • Explain your role and the interpreter’s role to the client and assure the client that what is discussed in the session will remain confidential.
  • You are always in control of the session. Interpreters should not direct the discussion.
  • Speak directly to the client in the first person and not the interpreter, e.g. “How can I help you?” instead of “Ask them how can I help him/her?”
  • Maintain eye contact with the client throughout the session, speak clearly and avoid using complex language.
  • Interpreters are for the spoken word or visual language. They do not translate lengthy documents or provide written services, e.g., filling in forms or taking statements. We have an excellent translation team who can translate documents.
  • Speak in short intervals allowing time for the Interpreter to relay the information. Let the Interpreter control the length of each segment by signalling to you/the client when to stop.
  • Provide a clear explanation when the interpreter seeks clarification. Do not add additional information that will exclude the client, as everything said during the session must be interpreted.
  • Check whether the client has understood the discussion and is ready to end the session. Always allow the client to ask any questions.

After the session

  • If the client requires another appointment, please make these arrangements with the client while the Interpreter is present.
  • According to professional standards, it is recommended that the client and Interpreter do not leave at the same time to avoid a conflict of interest.
  • If you suspect the interpreter may have been affected by a particularly stressful situation, offer a debriefing and/or clarify any questions you both might have from the session.
  • If required, provide feedback to LanguageLoop, which will help us improve service quality. Also, ensure that you provide positive feedback when the Interpreter’s service meets or exceeds your requirements

LanguageLoop acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea, and community.  We pay our respect to their Elders, past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

We work on the lands of the Kulin Nation in Naarm.