Advocate Collaboration in Educational Interpreting
Advocate collaboration in educational interpreting in order to ensure the best setup for the best outcome. This setup should be determined by all parties involved.
Disclaimer: Examples are provided for reflection purposes only and may be “extreme” examples for that purpose. Examples are not real life scenarios, and any similarities to real persons or scenarios should not be inferred.
A Deaf Student in a College Classroom
Position 1: Sign Language Interpreter
The sign language interpreter arrives in the classroom early. They pick a position to sit or stand while interpreting. Once the interpreter is settled, they discuss their sitting or standing location with the teacher to make sure they will not disrupt or interfere with the teacher’s space. When the Deaf student arrives, the sign language interpreter coordinates with them regarding interpreting placement (sitting/standing) to be sure it also matches the needs of the Deaf student.
The class begins and the sign language interpreter begins interpreting everything being said within earshot.
During group work, the sign language interpreter has small talk with other students so they feel more comfortable with the interpreter. The interpreter interprets this to the Deaf student. Then, the interpreter only voices or puts in sign language what is communicated. When the teacher or other students talk, the sign language interpreter uses sign names or points to each speaker so that the Deaf student knows who is speaking.
At the end of the class, the Deaf student and sign language interpreter provide each other feedback to improve their work together in the future. They thank each other and go about their days.
Position 2: Deaf Student
The sign language interpreter and the Deaf student arrive in the classroom and coordinate the location for the interpreter based on everyone’s comfort. Class begins.
The sign language interpreter cannot acknowledge the Deaf student’s questions fast enough in the fast paced classroom, so the interpreter notifies the Deaf student that it is “fast paced.” The interpreter then suggests the Deaf student get the interpreter’s attention when they have a question so that the interpreter can interrupt class at a natural break. The sign language interpreter interjects appropriately, and the Deaf student’s question or comment is communicated. They continue this practice throughout the duration of the class.
At the end of the class, the Deaf student and sign language interpreter provide each other feedback to improve future work together. They thank each other and go about their days.
Position 3: Teacher
The teacher notifies the sign language interpreter of all the space they require. Then the teacher leaves it up to the interpreter and Deaf student to coordinate location logistics. The Deaf student and the sign language interpreter partner to determine the best position for the interpreter to sit or stand to meet each other’s needs.
During class, the teacher notices that the Deaf student is trying to ask a question. At the appropriate time, at a natural break, the teacher calls on the Deaf student.
At the end of the class, the teacher speaks with the Deaf student before the sign language interpreter leaves. The Deaf student and sign language interpreter take a few moments to provide each other feedback to improve future work together. They thank each other and go about their days.
Power positions, as we have seen, greatly affect the sign language interpreting environment, and do not permit success. Advocate collaboration in educational interpreting because this is crucial to the success in any classroom. How you advocate collaboration in educational interpreting is also a lesson on how to appropriately interact with Deaf consumers.
Interpreter Resources: Post-Secondary Interpreters
Access to Post-Secondary Education through Sign Language Interpreting