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A view from the starting line...

I am currently some way through part 2 of the Level 6 NVQ in BSL-English Interpreting. As many of

you know, this involves evidence collection and the completion of critical evaluations of your work. Well, what better use of quarantine time, than to complete some of this paperwork?! Feeling empowered and determined, I have settled myself down with a cup of tea and my laptop and completed a miscue analysis of my first attempt at telephone interpreting.  Oof.   Time for a quick check-in of my feelings…vulnerable and a hint of despair. Perfect. I message a coursemate with a stream of crying emojis and GIFs of people sobbing. I message an RSLI friend and ask her what on earth this sign means. I make another cup of tea and set to reading an article that explains why I found this particular interpreting assignment so challenging (spoiler alert, it’s because telephone interpreting is REALLY complex!).

Reading the article makes me feel better because what I found out was that using the telephone is something that lots of people don’t enjoy but see as a necessary evil. However, even if we don’t relish the chance to phone the bank, as telephone-users (hearing) we have so much knowledge about the cultural expectations of doing so. The issue for me was that I DIDN’T KNOW THAT I KNEW or how this would impact my interpreting. Pollitt and Haddon (2005) say that this knowledge is so embedded in our behaviour that it is hard to make it explicit. My fledgling interpreting skills were challenged in this new situation (my miscue analysis is evidence of that), but now I can see why. On with the paperwork… By the end of the (lengthy, lengthy) process, I feel tentatively hopeful. Yes, there are lots of mistakes opportunities for learning, but the one thing I can definitely say is that I am learning to be an honest and reflective practitioner. The next time I interpret a telephone call, whilst the demands will still be the same, I will now be better placed to handle them, armed with the knowledge gained from my reflection and experience. Ann Duckworth, TSLI, Sheffield.

Pollitt, K and Haddon, C (2005) Cold Calling? Retraining Interpreters in the Art of Telephone Interpreting  in Roy, C (Ed) Advances in Teaching Sign Language Interpreters. Gallaudet Uni Press.


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