Church Interpreters and Their Service

ASL Bridge

“…For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher (interpreter)?” —–Romans 10:13-14.

What is Interpreting?  It is very important to understand the difference between interpreting and translating. Your goal is not to be a good translator but a good interpreter.

  1. Translating is verbatim signing each spoken word into a signed word.
  2. Interpreting is defining explaining and adjusting to intellectual level of the listeners. Signing the meaning of the spoken language.

Who Needs Interpreting?  All deaf people, hard of hearing, hearing impaired, oral deaf, whether they be children, teens or adults, need interpreting at some time so they can clearly understand. Deaf people from all levels of life, whether they are doctors, lawyers, teachers or hillbillies at times will need to understand the spoken word in their language. Almost all will need interpreters for group speakers, lectures, performers or preachers. Some can make it on a one-to-one situation but very, very few can understand in a group situation. The reason for interpreting is so that the deaf person might know and understand what is spoken. In the ministry, it is very important that deaf people understand what God has spoken.

Good Interpreters are those who are frequently with the deaf, learning their ways, world and language. The best classroom for deaf interpreters is the deaf people themselves. A Sign Language class is good, but there is no substitute for learning from deaf people.

Need For Christian Interpreters:

  1. Christian Interpreters should know they are saved. This is not an educational or social work but it is a ministry. Dedicate your heart first, then God will use your hands.
  2. Christian Interpreters should be mature Christians. They should have a good knowledge of the Bible so they can understand what they are interpreting. Many hard Bible words can easily be changed into the deaf language when a person has a good understanding of its meaning. Also, there will be times the interpreter must advise or counsel. She /he must join the two worlds together for doctors, lawyers, pastors, friends, schools, government agencies, landlords, banks, and many more.
  3. Christian Interpreters should become friends with the deaf people. Sometimes they may be the only one who truly understands them. Many times a deaf person’s family does not know Sign language. The deaf world is a silent and lonely world. One of the greatest needs is to have good friends. Get ready for TTY calls, knocks on your door in the early morning or late evening because they will have questions that have bothered them all day or night.
  4. Christian Interpreters are needed to help the deaf socially, physically, and mentally but most of all spiritually. The number one priority is explaining, interpreting and giving full understanding of the Word of God. Remember, your opinions mean nothing. It is the Word of God that changes people. Deaf people have souls, families and needs.

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