Classroom Interpreting

Classroom Interpreters - Professional Conduct Guidelines

Educational Interpreting: Why Is It Different?

For an interpreter working with the adult community, each adult is an independent individual. Adults make all decisions regarding what they do and who they talk with. They can decide not to attend an event. They can misunderstand and choose not to clarify. They control all of the relationships they have. In short, adults have the right to make good and bad decisions.

Current professional practice, as embodied in the NAD RID Professional Code of Conduct, views the interpreter as a communication facilitator who has the responsibility to convey communication in the most faithful means possible. Interpreters have no right to interfere with the deaf adult, make suggestions, or try to guide the adult to better decisions. They certainly have no right to talk with the deaf adult’s boss if they are having difficulty communicating with the deaf adult.

The following figure tries to capture the relationship an interpreter has with a deaf adult.

When an interpreter working with an adult who is deaf or hard of hearing needs to make a decision about what to do in a specific situation, she/he draws on her understanding of the principles that underline professional practice with adults. The following figure shows the types of considerations that an adult community interpreter must face when making professional decisions.