If an assignment lasts more than 2 hours long (or close to it) or is complicated and dense. With the industry standard in place, it requires another service provide to rotate with, to maintain the quality of service. This team approach to interpreting prevents the decline in the quality of interpretation as well as mental fatigue and health hazards such as Carpel Tunnel.

  • The Concept of Team Interpretation: Team interpretation is not simply defined as two interpreters sharing an assignment. Interpreters work in conjunction with one another as support or “backup” when providing services to a consumer. While some interpretation settings are less technical in nature than others, team interpreters rely on each other to provide missed information, technical vocabulary, assistance in voice interpretation, as well as physical relief. In a team situation, both interpreters are “on” at all times, not just the interpreter who is moving his/her hands.
  • Repetitive Motion Injury: The incidence of repetitive motion injury (RMI), carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), and tendinitis is high among sign language interpreters. Because of the constant motion involved, working constantly without periodic, scheduled breaks can injure service providers. Repeated injury can result in inability to perform interpretation services, as well as other related physical problems in the neck, shoulders, and back. Working in shifts of 15 to 20 minutes attempts to allow a physical break, thus, greatly improving the quality of the interpretation, while allowing the consumer to have the clearest communication access possible.

Read more about Team Interpreting on RID's website.

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