I have been interpreting, teaching, and preaching in sign language both in the USA and in other countries since 1976. Over the years I have learned many principles which have helped me. I hope these will also help you.
● Never sign faster than 80% of the speed you are able to sign.
● Allow plenty of processing time. Think before you sign.
● Fingerspelling should always be slow, accurate, and clear.
● Look at your hand when fingerspelling. This draws attention and helps you sign more slowly and deliberately.
● Repeat important information. Watch for understanding. Repeat important information. Watch for understanding. Understand?
● A nod does not always mean “I understand.” It might mean, “Keep going. Hopefully I will understand you soon.”
● Remember to use appropriate face and mouth expression.
● Video yourself signing or interpreting. Wait a few days. Turn off the sound, then evaluate how well you understand your own signing. Make notes and get help with your weaknesses.
● Invest time being around Deaf people. You will learn ASL better and you will love Deaf people more.
● Come early to and stay late after Deaf gatherings, even if they are at church. Ministry opportunities often happen before and after these times together.
● Critique yourself more harshly than you critique others. But don’t let your shortcomings stop you. Every more skilled interpreter was once at the interpreting level you are now.
● Arrange your critique of others beforehand. Hold your thoughts until they are ready to receive. Ask before you speak.
● Ask for constructive criticism from more skilled interpreters.
● Attend workshops to improve your signing skills.
● Come to ASLI to improve your signing skills. SilentWord.org/ASLI