As I am re-read Lou Fant's Silver Threads, I am continually amazed at how much has changed in the interpreting field, but in some ways we are still facing the same challenges. I first read Silver Threads last fall and I am now go through the book again and taking notes for my research on the RID Codes of Ethics. As an organization, our Codes of Ethics have changed as the field evolved from occupation to profession, yet there is one thing that we have not gotten right.
Certification has been a controversial issue within our field and organization for numerous years- and escalating within the past year following the rating scandal and test changes. Published in 1990, Lou Fant recounts the first twenty-five years of RID's history. Now, twenty-two years later, we are facing the same challenges in 2012. As I read the chapter of certification, several points jumped out at me:
"Most of us were not oriented to look at interpreting from a scientific point of view, a condition of thinking that is still all too prevalent today." (41)
"Our history, with regard to certification, has been one of trial and error, hit or miss, rather than one based one research." (47)
"We have made it something it was never intended to be, indeed, can never be, a panacea for our ills. We seem to believe that if only we can vaccinate interpreters with the serum of certification, they will be forever immune to errors, bad judgement, poor signing, and lapses of competency." (48)
"Somehow, we have failed to convey to our consumers a clear understanding of what RID certification means. As a result, consumers have unrealistic expectations of RID certified interpreters." (49)
"The historical evolution of professional certification in the United States has followed a course of beginning as a national certification, then metamorphosing into state and local certification or licensing." (53)
"If certification becomes less the responsibility of RID, and more the function of states, it will present a true measure of professionalism. No longer will we be motivated to get RID certification just so we can work, but rather as a way to express our dedication to the profession." (55)
At last year's RID conference, I spoke at a forum, expressing my concerns about allowing states to control certification and my inability imagine what it would look like if RID was not responsible for certification. However, I am open to the possibility where certification is separated from professional affiliation. I am still very much conflicted about state licensure- it can certainly be done right to protect consumers and interpreters- or it can be done wrong with only the state's bottom line benefiting. There is no magic bullet or quick fix, but we must be open to all possibilities.
However, there is one more perspective to consider. As I work on my directed reading, I found an interesting distinction between occupations and professions. Besides having an organization and Code of Ethics, according to the Theory of Control, self-regulation is a key function that separates professions from occupations (see Mikkelson's article in the 1999 Journal of Interpretation).
I do believe that certification signifies a individual's commitment to the profession. Collectively, we do need to maintain our autonomy and self-regulation to maintain our professional status. However, we also need to clarify and standardized what it means to be a "RID Certified interpreter"in order to better serve our consumers and ourselves.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
It felt like a blink of an eye, but 2012 is halfway done and I have been wondering where did the year go?
Even more surprising to me, a few friends have asked me why I haven't been blogging. I'm not surprised that I have wonderful, caring friends- just that my blog has been missed.
My husband and I bought a house and moved one county over. We're still in the unpacking stage and I still cannot find what I am looking for half of the time, but owning our first house is immensely exciting!
I have been accepted into George Mason University and will be completing my Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis in ethics and interpreting. This has turned into a phenomenal opportunity to transfer the interpreting courses that I previously completed at Gallaudet University while exploring another discipline. Although I do not officially start classes until this fall, I am doing a directed reading (i.e. independent reading) this summer and researching the history of the RID Codes of Ethics. I hope to do another directed reading next summer, examining the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and how it influences an individuals ethical decision-making process. That will leave me with three classes and a final project- my anticipated gradation date is May 2014.
I have also been honing my presenter skills. In March, I went to Richmond to present my first full-scale workshop, "Ethics: It's about the journey and destination," about various approaches to ethical decision-making as well as how the Circle Process and Critical Friends Model can be used to discuss ethical dilemmas. The following week, I co-facilitated the VRID Community Dialogue on team interpreting. In May, I lead another ethics discussion group- yes, I love these things! As an extrovert, talking through things always helps me, plus I feel that I learn so much from the group.
Although it was not accepted, I did conquer some fear and submit workshop proposals for the VRID conference
I have one more year left in my term as VRID District I Representative and have started brainstorming for events this fall.
I am attending the VRID conference in Roanoke this weekend; in August, I will be attending the Region II Conference in Ft. Lauderdale. I am sharing a room with two friends and we're going down a day early to get some sun and fun in before four full days of learning. I really do love conferences- I always learn so much and meet so many awesome people. Hopefully, these conferences will inspire me to start blogging again.
That's life in a nutshell! Happy Summer!
In the News
- NPR: Five Reasons Why People Code-Switch (4/13/13)
- CNN: Researchers document distinctive Hawaii Sign Language (3/2/13)
- US News: The 100 Best Jobs (December 2012)
- Washington Post: Sign language that African Americans use is different from that of whites (9/17/12)
- Manila Bulletin: Pushing the Filipino Sign Language (8/19/12)
- Insider: The Google+ Hangout that changed how the way I view communication (7/26/12)
- Mashable: Gloves Turn Sign Language Gestures Into Speech With App (7/12/12)
- Huffington Post: Clearing up the Top 10 Myths About Translation (6/13/12)
- USA Today: Study: Deaf 'signers' quick to interpret body language (1/16/12)
- BBC News: Deaf-blind photographer Ian Treherne in London exhibition (12/1/11)
- USA Today: Schools lack interpreters for deaf students (11/23/11)
- Congressional Hearing on Deaf Higher Education and Employment (10/11/11)
- Washington Post: Gallaudet University adjusts to a culture that includes more hearing students (9/24/11)
- NAD sues Chase bank for refusing relay calls (9/21/11)
- Psychology Today: Life as a Bilingual (9/15/11)
- CNN: Google+ gets more sign language friendly (9/14/11)
- NY Times: Colleges see 16% increase in study of sign language (12/8/10)