Ensure that interpretations provide equivalent information


The aim of sign language interpreting is to replace the information that a hearing person receives by listening. The interpretation must therefore be equivalent to the programme audio, providing the same information and meaning, but in a different form. Equivalent information includes the information given in tones of voice, non-speech utterances and other sounds, plus information about the sounds, such as where they come from.

Directions and techniques

Identify individual sources (high priority)

Ensure that it is clear whose speech is being interpreted. This can be achieved using the interpreter’s eye gaze or body positioning, giving the speaker’s name or reflecting the speaker’s manner, which is known as ‘characterisation’.

Do not censor speech (high priority)

Do not censor speech in order to remove ideas that may appear crude or offensive. This is unnecessary and condescending. If the audible content is deemed suitable for its intended audience, it is also suitable for a deaf member of that audience. The interpreter’s comfort level when interpreting sexual or disturbing language should not be a factor.