Oral transliteration is the practice of interpreting for deaf and hard of hearing clients who use speech and lipreading as their primary method of communication. They may also provide a voice for speakers who either use no voice or whose speech is difficult to understand.

Oral transliterators (sometimes called interpreters) are helpful in a number of situations. One of the most common of these is a classroom or conference room setting, where the deaf person will not know where to look next to follow the discussion and would lose information while finding the speaker. Sometimes the person talking may be behind the deaf person, or have a personal trait - too much facial hair, a tendency to mutter, or an accent - that would make it very difficult for them to be lipread effectively. In these cases, the oral transliterator silently repeats what the speakers are saying, and might do the same if an audio recording or public address system is used. The ability to articulate clearly and incorporate appropriate expression and gesture is important, and in some cases oral transliterators are also required to rephrase if there are many difficult-to-lipread words in a row. They might also employ mime-like gestures or draw letters in the air to clarify easily-misunderstood words, proper nouns, and numbers.

Sometimes oral transliterators will provide a voice for their client. Often the speech of deaf and hard of hearing individuals is difficult to understand, and will have an oral interpreter repeat the messages for clarity's sake. If a transliterator has exceptional lipreading skills, they might be called to provide the voice for a client who is mute because of a laryngectomy or similar procedure.

An Oral Transliteration Certificate is available from RID and requires the interpreter to adhere to the appropriate Code of Ethics.

Source: http://www.rid.org/orl.html

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