|Deaf Professionals and Designated Interpreters|
From The Sign Language Translator and Interpreter
This volume contains a wide range of highly illuminating reflections on the relationship between Deaf professionals and designated interpreters (interpreters who work with Deaf people across a range of employment domains). Outlining the beginning of this new discipline, and based mainly on personal accounts of the experiences of Deaf professionals and interpreters, the volume offers valuable insights into a field that has yet to be explored in any real depth. Despite the focus being mainly on the ‘white collar’ professional class of Deaf employees in the United States, there are many similarities and parallels with the interpreter’s role in workplace interpreting in the UK and other countries as well as with interpreting in other workplace domains. The move to a new type of discipline and to a new relationship with both Deaf and hearing employees brings with it a range of challenges. The papers presented within this volume demonstrate the complexity of the interpreter’s role, the conflicting views about that role and just how far the interpreter/client boundaries can be pushed. It is therefore essential reading for interpreters, as well as for the Deaf professionals with whom they work.
The volume is introduced by Hauser and Hauser in chapter one, who, with clarity and insight, summarize the themes that run throughout the publication. They bring to the forefront issues such as the Deaf professional’s status (both in the workplace and within the Deaf professional/designated interpreter relationship), the redundancy of the conduit model in the workplace setting and the essential elements of trust and team-work. These last two factors are seen as vital both for the success of the relationship and in the fine balancing act that the interpreter is required to negotiate in this relatively unique setting. Hauser and Hauser’s assertion that “designated interpreting is not possible if an interpreter embraces the philosophy that he or she is a neutral conduit” (p. 4) is a fundamental point, identifying the fact that many of the functions required of a designated interpreter are in conflict with this model. Underlining the work of Roy (1993) and Metzger (1999), and already recognized in previous research into the interpreter’s role in the workplace domain (Dickinson and Turner 2008), this point is made by a number of authors in this volume. Whilst it appears that existing models of interpreting are insufficient for the situations in which designated interpreters find themselves, there is yet much room for exploration as to what the new model could look like. However, the various contributors to this volume appear to confirm Kale and Larson’s view that the interpreter’s role “needs to be a malleable one that is constantly negotiated between the deaf professional, the interpreter, and those with whom they interact” (1998:1).
Napier, Carmichael and Wiltshire begin the practitioner-led explorations of this new interpreting domain in chapter two, examining the strategies that Deaf professionals and interpreters employ when working together. This data-driven study, underpinned by discourse analysis of a particular presentation by a Deaf professional, outlines a team approach to building a collaborative and symbiotic relationship, with the emphasis being placed on trust, negotiation and agreement between Deaf professionals and interpreters. Their detailed examination of the use of discourse markers in a signed presentation, such as nods, pausing and eye contact, provides valuable insights into the ways in which interpreters can pass control of the presentation over to the Deaf professional. This leads them to suggest strategies for ways in which Deaf professionals and interpreters can work together.
Peter C. Hauser is an assistant professor in the Department of Research and Teacher Education at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
Karen L. Finch is a lecturer in the American Sign Language and Interpreting Education Program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
Angela B. Hauser is a staff interpreter in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester.
Print Edition: ISBN 978-1-56368-567-5, 7 x 10 paperback, 240 pages, tables, figures, references, index
E-Book: ISBN 978-1-56368-424-1
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