Comments: Mediating with Interpreters

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Hal Buie, Fort Worth TX  Hal7@Charter.Net     02/20/03
Alan, I am really dissapointed to see your response. This is an everday struggle in my life when people want to use my 10 yr. old Son as an Interpreter to communicate better with me. I am not saying you are using 10yr old kids but, even if my son was an adult I would still protest it. ASL is not a written language. It is conceptual. ASL is not english so, for some of the Deaf community, written english can be difficult for them to understand the actual meaning. ASL word order and structure is totally different from english. When using family members as Interpreters you don't know for sure of the qualifications. I have seen family members who say they are skilled Interpreters who couldn't Interpret anything. Interpreting and Signing are 2 different abilities.

John  Ford   02/18/02
The ADA requires that a "qualified" interpreter be used when necessary to provide effective communication for persons who are deaf. "Qualified" is defined as "can interpret effectively, accurately and impartially both receptively and expressively, using specialized vocabulary." The parties must agree on whether the interpreter needs to be certified, who will determine whether the interpreter is qualified, etc. Source: Making Mediation Sessions Accessible To People With Disabilities By Judy Cohen

Christopher Dimmick, Boise ID   02/01/02
This article was very insightful. As an interpreter and a mediator, I have already shared it with some of my clients who use interpreters in mediation sessions. As mentioned in the article, I would strongly discourage using family members as interpreters, especially in divorce and child custody issues. It could create a power imbalance, endanger confidentiality, hinder open communication, place the interpreter in an advocate rather than neutral position.

alan , commack ny   01/13/02
interpreters for mediators
My experience is to make sure all mediation sessions are RECORDED and preserved (audio or video). We NEVER get an interpreter, but instead always get a family member to translate (usually a sister, brother or child) This way, if things blow up, you (as the mediator) have a real time transcript (at almost no cost) to insure your backside is fully covered alan finkel the divorce mediation center of suffolk 631 462 3100