Do you have a professional introduction?
First impressions are not just important, they set an immediate level of trust where there was none. As interpreters, when we show up to an assignment we are professionals, representing the entire field of community interpreting as well as the agency you are contracting with. Your professional introduction is one of the first ways you set the stage and represent everyone well… if done correctly.
Your professional introduction will help everyone in the room (service user, family members, providers) understand your role as the interpreter. You will set the boundaries, tone and overall effectiveness of the conversation.
Here are some key components:
- Your name and language of service
- Name of the agency… maybe Language Liaisons? 😉
- Disclosure of best practices such as accuracy and confidentiality
- Use of direct speech. In other words, the provider and service user will address each other directly.
You may also choose to consider mentioning your note-taking or any other piece of information that would enhance the overall outcome of the encounter.
Remember to do your introduction in both languages and keep it short and right to the key points for best practice. Your introduction for a provider or teacher should and will be different than the introduction you are delivering to the patient or service user.