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ASL/English Interpreting

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Interpreting Services at MSD:

ASL-English interpreting services at MSD are provided by the Manitoba Education Deaf and Hard of Hearing Unit Interpreting Team.  Currently this team consists of three full time interpreters who provide ASL– English interpretation and translation for the Provincial Outreach Team as well as for MSD.  The team also relies on a few casual interpreting staff and community interpreters who are called upon when needed.

An interpreter is a trained professional who facilitates communication between two or more people who do not use the same language.  At MSD, ASL-English Interpreters are commonly used to facilitate communication between Deaf, hard of hearing and non deaf people with the goal of providing equal access to information and conversation.  These services are regularly utilized by staff, students, families, consulting professionals, government officials and school teams.  This is done in a variety of settings including committee meetings, staff meetings, assemblies, concerts, PD events, parent-teacher meetings, off site courses at partnering schools, field trips, extra-curricular activities, etc.  

Each member of the team is a trained interpreter who has graduated from a recognized ASL-English interpreting program and is an active member of The Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada ( and The Manitoba Association of Visual Language Interpreters (   They are accountable to the AVLIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct.

Additional Information for Parents:

When needed parents are encouraged to request an MSD interpreter for meetings between themselves and teachers or between themselves and their children.  In order to provide access and equality, the team strives to provide quality service to all consumers in every situation. 

The standard of providing quality interpretation for your child can be maintained by arranging interpreters for any non MSD related activities.  This can be arranged through the following organizations:

Community Interpreting Services:

There will be times when interpretation is needed for non-school related activities.  In these instances, you can book trained interpreters in Winnipeg and the surrounding area through ECCOE (a community interpreting agency).  ECCOE provides interpreting services for a variety of settings, including: medical appointments, legal appointments, religious services and ceremonies, recreational activities, performing arts, employment meetings/training, counseling/social work etc.  For further information visit their website at or call 457-6332.

Leisure Guide Interpreting Services:

The City of Winnipeg will provide ASL-English interpreters at no charge for any Leisure Guide activity in which your child is registered.  Please consult the Leisure Guide or call 986-1311 (TTY) for more information or to request an interpreter.

Post Secondary Educational Interpreting Services:

Red River College, The University of Manitoba and The University of Winnipeg all have services available to meet the needs of Deaf and hard of hearing Students.  Interpreters, note takers and other services are provided at no cost to the student.  If your child is planning to continue their education beyond high school, these arrangements can be made through each institution’s Disability Services Department.

Making an Informed Choice: Trained Interpreters and Signing EAs


·         Is fluent in the languages that they interpret
·         Can interpret someone else’s thoughts effectively
·         Is knowledgeable of and committed to following the AVLIC Code of Ethics
·         Is formally trained in language systems, interpreting theory, cross-cultural communication and ethical decision making
·         Is a graduate of a recognized post secondary institution (college or university degree)
·         Is involved in the Deaf Community and knows many Deaf people
·         Is knowledgeable about the professional role of the interpreter
·         Is active in professional organizations and takes part in PD opportunities


·         May have varied levels of ASL fluency
·         May be able to communicate his/her own thoughts but may not be fluent enough to communicate the thoughts of others
·         May or may not be aware of the AVLIC Code of Ethics for interpreters and is not bound by them
·         May have taken sign language classes, learned from a book or from Deaf family members
·         Is not a graduate of an interpreter training program
·         May or may not be knowledgeable about the professional interpreter’s role
·         May or may not be an expert in ASL or English


Things to Remember When Working With an Interpreter:

·         American Sign Language (ASL) is a complete language with its own syntax and grammatical structure.  When using an interpreter there may be a delay between your question/comment and the response.  This is because the interpreter is likely to be a few phrases behind the speaker or signer in order to receive, comprehend and then interpret a complete concept.
·         Speak directly to the person you are talking to.  Avoid phrases such as “tell him…” or “ask her to…”
·         Speak at your normal pace; the interpreter will seek clarification if needed.
·         The interpreter is present to facilitate communication and does not take part in discussions, offer opinion, or participate in the interaction.
·         Depending on the duration or complexity of the interaction, there may be a need for two interpreters.
·         There are many factors to consider when determining the best positioning for the interpreter.  Interpreters and/or participants can work with you to determine the best placement

Interested in Becoming an ASL-English Interpreter?

In Manitoba the ASL-English Interpretation Program is run jointly between the University of Manitoba and Red River College.  Interested applicants must first successfully complete the Deaf Studies Program ( before admission to the U of M (  ) and RRC ( programs.  Graduates receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree as well as an ASL-English Interpretation Diploma.

For more information contact Dawn-Marie Hildebrand (ASL-English Interpreter Supervisor) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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