[Stephen]: Welcome, Gail! We're excited to do our first spotlight interview with you. To start off, can you tell us what initially inspired you to learn sign language?
[Gail Dixon]: Thank you for having me! I was first inspired to learn sign language to communicate with my daughter. I wanted to be able to communicate with her effectively and ensure that she felt fully understood. That initial motivation led me down the path of becoming a sign language interpreter.
[Stephen]: That's wonderful! So, you went on to qualify as a sign language interpreter after studying the Postgraduate Diploma in British Sign Language/English Interpreting. Could you share a bit about your experience during that program?
[Gail Dixon]: Absolutely. My studies at the University of Central Lancashire were incredibly enriching. The program provided me with a solid foundation in BSL/English interpreting techniques. It was a challenging but rewarding experience, and I'm grateful for the knowledge and skills I gained during that time.
[Stephen]: So, now after years of working as a BSL interpreter, what areas do you primarily focus on in your work?
[Gail Dixon]: I primarily work in the fields of Healthcare, Mental Health, Social Services, Community, Training Courses, and Higher Education. I feel that these settings allow me to engage with a diverse range of individuals and contribute to meaningful communication access for the Deaf community.
[Stephen]: It's fantastic to hear about your varied experiences. In your interpreting work, you mentioned earlier to me about following a practice profession approach. Could you explain what that means to you?
[Gail Dixon]: Yes. Following a practice profession approach means that I am committed to maintaining high professional standards and continuously improving my interpreting skills. It involves regularly reflecting on my practice, seeking supervision, and pursuing development opportunities to refine my abilities. This approach helps me provide the best possible service to the individuals I work with.
[Stephen]: That's a great approach. Speaking of supervision, how has it benefited you in your interpreting practice and why did you decide to train as a professional supervisor?
[Gail Dixon]: Supervision has been fundamental to my professional growth. It allows me to receive guidance, support, and constructive feedback on my work. Through supervision, I can reflect on my practice, identify areas for improvement, and engage in appropriate professional development. It has truly enhanced my abilities as an interpreter which is why I wanted to train as a supervisor myself to be able to offer this to others and so, I completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical supervision at Derby University and became a professional supervisor.
[Stephen]: It's great to hear about the positive impact of supervision. Apart from your work as an interpreter, you're also involved in assessing vocational achievement. Could you tell us more about that and your work with the National Occupational Standards for Interpreting?
[Gail Dixon]: I have been working as an assessor for a number of years now, assessing trainee interpreters' practice to ensure they meet the required professional standards to become qualified. It's a rewarding responsibility that allows me to contribute to the quality within the interpreting field and increase the number of interpreters on the register. Additionally, was involved involved in the review of the National Occupational Standards for Interpreting as a member of the steering group which has been very interesting. We work together to shape and refine these standards to ensure they accurately reflect the demands of the profession.
[Stephen]: Wow, important work eh! Can we talk a little about your upcoming course on supervision for interpreters and translators? Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to develop this training?
[Gail Dixon]: Yes, sure. As I said earlier, my own experience with supervision has been really transformative. It has allowed me to reflect on my interpreting practice, develop my skills, and navigate the challenges that arise. I wanted to share the benefits of supervision with fellow interpreters and translators, to support their well-being and enhance their professional growth.
[Stephen]: That's great. Can you talk us through what participants can expect from the course? What are some of the highlights and key objectives?
[Gail Dixon]: Absolutely! In the session, we'll explore the essence of supervision and its benefits. We'll discuss topics such as the role of supervision in self-awareness and professional development, finding the right supervisor, and maximising the value of supervisory sessions. The course aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of supervision, help participants identify their supervisory needs, and equip them with practical strategies to engage effectively.
[Stephen]: It sounds like it would be a really interesting session! Are there any recommended readings that participants can explore to improve their understanding either before or after the course?
[Gail Dixon]: Yes! I highly recommend two great articles: "I don't think we're supposed to be talking about this" by Robyn Dean and Robert Pollard, and "Two heads are better than one: Collegiality and supervision as Reflection Practice" by Jenna Curtis. These offer additional perspectives on the importance of supervision in our profession.
[Stephen]: That's great! Now, for those who are interested in joining your course, can you share the date, time, and price?
[Gail Dixon]: Absolutely! The course, "Supervision Unlocked: Elevate Your Interpreting Practice & Well-being," will take place on 3rd October 2023, from 6pm to 8.30pm. The price is only £25.60, offering incredible value for the knowledge and skills you'll gain.
[Stephen]: Fantastic! What would you say to those who may be hesitant about attending the course?
[Gail Dixon]: I understand that trying something new can be daunting, but investing in your professional growth and well-being is invaluable. This course will provide you with practical tools, insights, and guidance to navigate your interpreting practice with confidence and find out what supervision is really all about.
[Stephen]: Where can people go to book their place on the course?
[Gail Dixon]: To book your place and join this session, simply visit the BSL Interpretations website https://www.bslinterpretations.co.uk/courses-1-1/supervision-unlocked%3A-elevate-your-interpreting-practice-%26-well-being Spaces are limited, so don't wait!
[Stephen]: Thank you, Gail, for sharing your journey, insights, and valuable advice with us. We appreciate having you as part of our teaching team, bringing your wealth of experience to benefit all those that attend our courses.