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Interpreters as practice professionals


Robyn, in her work with Bob Pollard, has advanced the idea that community interpreting (such as in medical, mental health, and educational settings) is best understood as a practice profession. A practice profession is a type of service- based profession where practitioners (for example, nurses, teachers, and therapists) must address and deal effectively with the complexities of the human condition, human communication, and human interaction. One aspect of a practice profession is its use of an outcomes-based approach to ethical reasoning.

Rules-based ethics or a one-size-fits-all approach is not effective in light of the numerous, often unpredictable variables that influence decision-making. Community interpreters, like all practice professionals, need to be guided in their ethical decision-making through a series of values, not a list of rules. However, like all practice professionals, community interpreters need to learn to apply professional values to the varied work settings in which they work everyday.  

Robyn and Bob's work, demand control schema or DC-S offers interpreters a way to analyze and discuss their work with their interpreting colleagues.  

More on DC-S

From the Routledge Encyclopedia of Interpreting Studies:

The demand control schema (DC-S) refers to a series of theoretical constructs and educational approaches developed by Robyn Dean and Robert Pollard. Originally conceived in regard to signed language interpreting, DC-S addresses the importance of contextual factors and the interactional nature of community interpreting. The highly interpersonal nature of interpreting in community settings makes it similar to other practice professions (e.g. medicine, social work, education), standing in contrast to technical professions, such as laboratory science and engineering, which are less dependent on an interactive social context.

Dean and Pollard propose that interpreters in community settings face four types of demands: environmental, interpersonal, paralinguistic, and intrapersonal (EIPI). These demands comprise the interpreting context and must form the basis for interpreters’ decisions – how they should optimally respond or behave in varying contexts (e.g. medical, legal). Effective control decisions, or responses to demands, can be employed before, during and/or after the assignment and fall along a liberal (action- oriented) to conservative (reserving action) spectrum (Dean & Pollard 2005, 2013). These elements of DC-S (EIPI demands and control opportunities) make up the theoretical framework that is often used for predicting and analyzing types of work settings (i.e. preparation for the job) and the suitability of an interpreter for a certain job, as well as for setting-specific teaching.

DC-S Videos (ASL)
DC-S Videos (ENG)

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