Why Does This Assignment Need Two Interpreters? 

You may have noticed that sometimes we send two interpreters instead of one. This is called a sign language interpreter team. As a professional sign language interpreting firm, MT&A has the expertise and tools to assess your interpreting needs while also saving any additional costs. We pride ourselves on our customer service and always aim to provide the best possible to both customers and clients. Here are some of the things we take into consideration when assessing assignments.

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Equal Access:

The goal of any interpreting assignment is to provide equal access. Sign language interpreting is a very physical activity. There is also a lot of brain power that goes into the interpreting process. An interpreting team is assigned to reduce mental and physical fatigue to ensure the best communication possible. Research has shown that many interpreters develop repetitive motion injuries (RMI) due to prolonged/ongoing interpreting. With adequate breaks that teaming provides these injuries can be prevented. 

Length of the assignment:

Traditionally, any assignment that requires 1.5 hours or more of ongoing interpreting will require an interpreting team. This directly correlates to the mental and physical activity mentioned above. Teaming not only aids in preventing physical injuries but also preventing mental fatigue that can cause communication to suffer. Have you ever spent time thinking on something? After a certain amount of time, you need a brain break. That is what interpreting is like and why teaming can be vital for accurate communication.

Assignment complexity:

A sign language interpreter team is typically required when the subject matter is highly complex, such as in a legal setting or high-level course with a lot of specific terminology. An assignment may also be complex because there are multiple D/deaf consumers signing at the same time. Teaming provides great benefits to these environments by providing support to reduce potential errors, monitor the environment and make adjustments as needed. 

Preparing for assignments:

There are many settings that pre-assignment preparations are needed. Such as plays/concerts, educational environments, or business meetings with a specific agenda. In these situations, it is important for the team to assess the materials and decide on sign concept choices for consistency and accuracy in communication. 


All of these help in assessing the particulars of any given assignment and help to discern if a team is needed. The goal is always equal access to communication. MT&A is here to guide you in obtaining the correct service for our mutual goal of equal access to communication. In addition, we do recommend that a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) be present to ensure the most accurate interpretation.  If you’d like to learn more about CDIs, see our blog on CDIs.

Other Resources:

Why do I need more than one interpreter?

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