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Here and in the pages that follow, we will try to address professional sign language interpreting, interpreters (what they do and how they do it), and what it takes (and what you might do) to become one.  But, before we delve into specifics, let us examine the meaning of professionalism as it relates to the interpreter.

PROFESSIONALISM

Just as there are paid workers who saw, hammer and nail bits of wood into useful things and are not professional carpenters, there are workers paid for providing sign language interpreting services who are not professionals in the the sense that we mean it here.

So, how does a professional sign language interpreter differ from a non-professional service provider?

Follow this link to see more WORD MAPS and GROW YOUR VOCABULARY (you'll love this).

ETHICS


Enough cannot be said about the essentiality of ethical behavior to professionalism.  Ethics is the very foundation upon which a professional career is built and maintained.

Professional interpreters uphold and follow the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct (CPC).  It is our experience that some paid interpreting service providers do not.  Interpreters who have not taken the time to learn and internalize the CPC, or do not conduct themselves according to its tenets, are not professionals.  

Some believe professional conduct to be merely a matter of using common sense and doing the right thing.  They are mistaken.  What seems common sense to one of us may not be common sense to another.  To one person doing the right thing may not mean the same as it does to another.  And, such guides are personal in nature, not professional.  Personal guides are important, of course, and may be used with professional guidelines; yet, personal ethics alone do not satisfy consumer rights and expectations.

If you believe that professional ethical conflicts are rare occurrences; that an interpreter probably doesn't encounter that many gnarly situations in the course of his/her work, this is simply because you have not yet walked in the shoes of an interpreter.  For a full-time interpreter, ethical conflicts can arise daily, sometimes coming in a barrage.  Being an interpreter can feel like being inside a ethics popcorn machine (some days, an ethics volcano).  With no professional guidelines at the ready, interpreters can become confused and make choices they and their consumers may later regret.

The CPC unites interpreters under a set of tenets, and its driving force: "Do no harm."  Consumers of interpreting services have rights related to the service quality and interpreter behavior - moral rights and legal rights.  Reflect CPC guidelines in your work.  Adherence to its tenets is the professional interpreter's duty and responsibility - to him/herself, to our consumers, and to the profession.

For more ethics-related discussion and information on TerpTopics.com, click here.

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This page was edited: 09/26/2009
This page has been visited Hit Counter times since: July 17, 2008.
TerpTopics is a trademark and service mark of TerpTopics, LLC. © 2008; 2009. All rights reserved.

TerpTopics™ is an independent entity; as such does not claim or attempt to claim, represent, or imply by any means whatsoever that it is associated with any other entity that may or may not offer services, goods, or information of interest to interpreter, Deaf, or student communities.  The opinions expressed here those of TerpTopics unless otherwise stated.  Please keep in mind that, while every effort is made to present correct, appropriate, and reasonable information that is based on our experience, anecdotal experiences of others, or developed during the general course of study and professional development, we do not represent TerpTopics as having cornered the market on wisdom (heck, no!) or experience; one reason why links to several other good and reliable resources are made available throughout this site, and we hope that earnest seekers of knowledge will take advantage of them.

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