How to Speak to Deaf People Using an Interpreter

(Continued from last issue)

13. Leave them wanting more. It is better to be brief and clear than to be lengthy and give too much information. Design your message for clear understanding.

14. Talk with the Deaf people before and after the message. Deaf people tend to value close relationships more than a truthful message. Relationships will strengthen your message.

Some of these thoughts may seem obvious. Others may seem strange and foreign. Remember, Deaf people are from a different language and a different culture, even though they live in your same country. Speak as if you are talking to a foreigner, and your communication can be greatly improved.

Deaf people are not dumb! Deafness is a communication handicap, not an IQ problem. Consider an older adult who loses his hearing. He does not lose his intelligence. He only loses his ability to communicate. From another viewpoint, Deaf people could also consider hearing people low-functioning because they do not know sign language!

By the way, Deaf people must also adjust their language level when communicating with hearing people! But, when around other Deaf people, they can communicate freely and say whatever needs to be said in sign language.

Hearing people can clearly communicate with Deaf people using a qualified interpreter. Practicing these principles will help greatly. Some hearing preachers have even found that their hearing congregations have begun to pay attention better after applying these principles of clear communication.

Remember, clear communication is communication.
If they don’t understand the way you talk, then talk the way they understand!

“Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with
my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also,
than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.”
1 Corinthians 14:19

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