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Prepare Your 10-Second Interpreter Elevator Pitch

Prepare Your 10-Second Interpreter Elevator Pitch

Interpreter Tips   |  Thursday, September 4, 2014

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear BC" interpreter questions.

Interpreters often have just seconds to explain what we do to professional people who don’t really care. Say you just entered the elevator with the doctor of the deaf patient on the way up to the appointment.  What would you say? What’s your “elevator pitch?”

Try it out. Time yourself. Can you get it out in 10 seconds?

Here are some examples:

  • Hello, I am a certified Sign Language interpreter and I’m here to assist in communication between the hospital staff and the deaf patient. I look forward to working with you.
  • Hello, I am (your full name), a certified American Sign Language Interpreter. My job is to facilitate communication between you and the deaf patient.
  • Hello, I’m (your full name), I’m a certified Sign Language interpreter.  You can think of my role in facilitating conversations similar to a phone line. Anything I hear will be signed to the patient and anything they sign will be voiced to you.
  • Hello, I’m (your full name), I’m an interpreter. Anything you say to the client I will interpret into Sign Language. Go ahead and look directly at the client and I will make sure the message is conveyed.

You will want to tweak your elevator pitch for different audiences – always think about who you’re talking to and how you will be helping them so you can describe what you do in terms they will understand and in a way that relates to them.

Do you have your 10-second interpreter elevator pitch down pat?  We'd love to hear it!  Share it in the comments below.


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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

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