Voice Tips for Interpreters - Hearing and Speech Agency

Voice Tips for Interpreters

In our diverse world of communicators, ASL and foreign language interpreters are crucial. Whether communicating medical, legal, or social messages, interpreters bridge the gap to make these interactions possible. If you use spoken language to interpret, here are a few tips to protect your voice.

Stay Hydrated
It is recommended to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. Try to create a habit of having a water bottle and snacking on water-dense foods such as cucumbers, watermelon, and apples. Humidifiers are a great way to accommodate for dry air in poorly ventilated work environments. Invest in a humidifier for your home, office, or even your car to sneak in some extra hydration for your body.

Manage Allergies/Illness
Not only do allergies and illness impact resonance and decrease voice quality, but many medicines contain ingredients that can be harmful for your vocal folds, if overused (i.e. menthol, benzocaine). Talk to your doctor about the best way to manage your seasonal symptoms in an effort to decrease associated phonotraumatic behaviors like coughing and throat clearing.

Limit Irritants
External irritants such as smoke, dust, and mold can be as harmful as internal irritants like acid reflux. If you’re prone to reflux, try to avoid triggers such as caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, and spicy foods.

Use Amplification
The louder and longer you use your voice, the more at risk you are to fatigue, decreased quality, and even vocal pathologies. Use amplification whenever possible, especially when speaking over a large audience and for extended periods of time.

Rest & Relax
Just as sleeping provides the opportunity for your whole body to recharge, vocal rest is just as important for your health. Taking vocal breaks throughout the day, paired with deep diaphragmatic breaths and upper head and neck stretches can help provide much-needed rest and recuperation for your hard-working voice.

Are you experiencing hoarseness, reduced volume or pitch range, a “lump” sensation, tension and/or pain? You may benefit from seeking services from a Speech-Language Pathologist to manage symptoms and prevent further damage.

An SLP and an ENT can collaborate to diagnose and treat vocal pathologies such as nodules, swelling, cysts, and polyps. Education and identification of risk factors is key in developing an individualized approach to vocal care, especially for highly talkative professionals, like interpreters.  

Improving vocal endurance and preventing future pathologies often involves the adoption of healthy habits, as well as consistently practicing vocal function exercises to strengthen the mechanism and encourage more efficient use of voice.

Contact the Speech-Language Pathologists on our voice team for more information!

Sara Frederick, MS Ed, CCC-SLP
410-318-6780 x 184, sfrederick@hasa.org     

Jennifer Smith, MS, CCC-SLP
410-318-6780 x 212, jsmith@hasa.org

John Sloan, MS, CCC-SLP
410-318-6780 x 183, jsloan@hasa.org

HASAHarry and Jeanette Weinberg Building 5900 Metro Drive Baltimore, MD 21215 410.318.6780