video: Best Practices

video: Voice and Sign Interpreting

Code of Ethics

The interpreter's code of ethics and guidelines for professional conduct is taken from the Westcoast Association of Visual Language Interpreters (WAVLI). View the full statement.

Guidelines For Professional Conduct

Professional Accountability: Interpreters accept responsibility for all professional decisions made and actions taken.

Confidentiality: Members will respect the privacy of consumers and hold in confidence all information obtained in the course of professional service.

Professional Conduct: Members will hold the needs of consumers primary when making professional decisions.

Scope of Practice: Members will refrain from using their professional role to counsel, advise, or interject personal opinions. Members will limit their expertise to interpretation.

Faithfulness of Interpretation: Every interpretation shall be faithful to and render exactly the message of the source text. A faithful interpretation should not be confused with a literal interpretation. The fidelity of an interpretation includes an adaptation to make the form, the tone, and the deeper meaning of the source text felt in the target language and culture.

Ongoing Professional Development: Members will incorporate current theoretical and applied knowledge, enhance that knowledge through continuing education.

Non-discrimination: Members will respect the individuality, the right to self-determination, and the autonomy of the people with whom they work. Interpreters approach professional services with respect and cultural sensitivity towards all participants.

Communication Preferences: Members will respect and use the form of communication preferred by those deaf and hard of hearing consumers for whom they provide service.

Deaf Interpreters: The services of a Deaf interpreter may be required when working with individuals who use regional sign dialects, non-standard signs, foreign sign languages, and those with emerging language use. They may also be used with individuals who have disabling conditions that impact on communication. Members will recognize the need for a Deaf interpreter and will ensure their inclusion as a part of the professional interpreting team.

Professional Relationships: Members will establish and maintain appropriate boundaries between themselves and consumers.

Impartiality: Members shall remain neutral, impartial and objective.

Interpreter Training

Training Programs:

Vancouver Community College
Douglas College

Interpreter Associations:

Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC)
Westcoast Association of Visual Language Interpreters (WAVLI)

Questions & Answers:

1. What is the role of the Visual Language Educational Interpreter in the classroom?

The Visual Language Educational Interpreter provides visual language interpretation for students in the K-12 setting. This allows for Deaf and hard of hearing student to communicate, receptively and expressively, in sign language if that is their preference, which allows for better communicate with teachers and hearing peers.

The classroom is a diverse and unique environment and learning opportunities present themselves in many different ways. The ability to provide equal access for students impacts positively on the student's educational experience and provides a foundation for growth - cognitively, linguistically, emotionally and socially. The Visual Language Educational Interpreter will also have the training and background to appropriately provide interpretation to specifically match the needs and language levels of the child. This part of the learning outcome would be set out in the IEP (Individual Education Plan) and the Visual Language Educational Interpreter would be an integral part of this process.

As well as interpreting curriculum, any communication that happens in the classroom is interpreted both in formal and informal situations (teacher to student, student to teacher, or student to student) and is equally valued in the learning process. Efforts should also be made to have interpreting services available for extra curricular activities as well.

2. Why is it important to have a Visual Language Educational Interpreter in the classroom?

The Visual Language Educational Interpreter has a greater fluency and understanding in the use of visual languages than many professionals working in education. The ability to evaluate a student's language level based on training, the student's age, and exposure a student has had with a visual language usage, is critical when interpreting. Having this ability provides assurance that the intended information is being received by the student.
Therefore, language facilitation and interpretation cannot happen adequately when adults themselves are learning the language.

The Visual Language Educational Interpreter is also able to provide valuable feedback to the school based team on a student's progress. There is a clear understanding that they are working within a system that is interdependent with all professionals working closely together in a student's best interest while at the same time adhering to the established code of ethics set out by AVLIC (Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada).

3. Is there a significant difference in Visual Language Interpreting between elementary and secondary students?

Yes, just as grade 10 and grade 3 math is not taught the same, the approach to providing interpretation to elementary and secondary students differ. A student's basic language levels must first be established as well as cognitive/linguistic/social and emotional levels.
When working with primary aged students, the Visual Language Educaional Interpreter would provide interpretation with a full hands on approach and a lot of repetition of vocabulary to support the teacher's learning outcomes. Continual reinforcement of the curriculum is also important when interpreting in the primary setting. Being in close physical proximity for clear communicate is also crucial.

When working with intermediate students, the Visual Language Educational Interpreter still remains relatively near to where the student is sitting, in order to keep close track of the student's comprehension, and thereby being able to provide repetition of key concepts, expand on content, and link with previous learning outcomes. As group discussion become increasingly a part of the classroom, the Deaf or hard of hearing student needs additional support to feel included. At this age the student is also maturing socially and efforts need to be made to make to ensure that informal communication between/among students is also being interpreted.

Transition into secondary school while exciting, is also scary and stressful forDeaf/hard of hearing studenst. It is possible that the student may not have experience using an interpreter. If this is the case then a gradual introduction to the use of an interpreter should be made. There may be a need to remain closer in proximity to the student for the first few months until the student get his/her high school 'legs'. But often by the middle of the 8th grade, the Visual Language Educational Interpreter can 'pull back' and start focusing on curriculum content as well as begin teaching the student how to best use the services of an Interpreter. From grades 10 to 12, the interpreter would probably use a more 'freelance" approach. Interpreting EVERYTHING regardless of content allows students the independence to ask and respond to questions, criticisms or concerns which helps to empower students to take the lead in their own academic future. However, the Visual Language Educational Interpreter as an adult in the classroom must adhere to their own code of ethics and the school's policies.

Every student is unique and efforts should be made to tailor the interpreting model to best match the needs of each student. Communication among the Teachers, Visual Language Educational Interpreters and Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing should occur on a regular basis. However the interpreter as the adult working with the student all day, everyday, has a wealth of "inside" knowledge of that student and his/her learning abilities.

4. Is it possible for a Visual Language Educational Interpreter to receive support from Provincial Outreach even     if they do not reside in the Lower Mainland?

Of course! The Provincial Outreach Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students is in place to support all professionals working in the educational setting which provides services for Deaf and hard of hearing students. Whether through email, D-link, iMac or by phone, Outreach will provide support and answers to questions and concerns. Provincial Outreach also has an extensive Provincial Resource lending library that has books, DVDs and other provessional development materials that can be borrowed. Material is sent to your District for a loan period, and then needs to be returned to the Provincial Library. Provinical Outreach can also work together collaboratively with your District to provide professional growth opportunities as well as coordinate these opportunities with other school districts in neighboring communities.