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DC-S for VRI/VRS Interpreters

When it comes to VRI/VRS, BSL interpreters face a unique set of demands that require careful management to ensure that they can deliver high-quality interpreting services without experiencing undue stress or burnout. This is where the DC-S comes in - it offers a framework for analysing the demands of a given situation and mapping out decision options to manage those demands effectively.



The DC-S involves categorising demands into four key areas: environmental, interpersonal, paralinguistic, and intrapersonal. Let's take a closer look at each of these categories and how they might apply to VRI/VRS situations for BSL interpreters:


1. Environmental Demands: These refer to the physical and situational factors that can impact interpreting performance. For VRI/VRS, this might include things like poor lighting, background noise, or a lack of privacy for the interpreter. To manage these demands, the interpreter might need to adjust their workspace, use noise-cancelling headphones, or request that the client provide a more suitable location for the call.


2. Interpersonal Demands: These refer to the social and communicative aspects of a situation. In VRI/VRS, interpreters might face challenges related to building rapport with clients, managing power dynamics, or navigating cultural differences. To manage these demands, the interpreter might need to use active listening skills, clarify expectations with the client, or seek out training on cross-cultural communication.


3. Paralinguistic Demands: These refer to the nonverbal cues and communication styles that can impact interpreting performance. In VRI/VRS, this might include challenges related to interpreting sign language on a screen, or navigating the different signing styles of different BSL users. To manage these demands, the interpreter might need to use video conferencing tools that allow for clear transmission of signing, or seek out training on different signing styles.


4. Intrapersonal Demands: These refer to the psychological and emotional aspects of interpreting. In VRI/VRS, interpreters might experience stress or anxiety related to technical issues, time pressure, or the demands of interpreting itself. To manage these demands, the interpreter might need to use stress management techniques, take breaks as needed, or seek out support from colleagues or mental health professionals.


By analysing the demands of a given VRI/VRS situation in these four categories, BSL interpreters can develop a range of decision options (controls) to manage those demands effectively. These might include things like:


- Using video conferencing tools that allow for clear transmission of signing

- Setting clear expectations with clients regarding communication styles and preferences

- Requesting breaks or adjusting the length of interpreting sessions to manage time pressure

- Seeking out training on cross-cultural communication, different signing styles, or stress management techniques.


Ultimately, the DC-S offers a flexible and adaptable framework for managing the unique demands of VRI/VRS situations for BSL interpreters. By carefully analysing the demands of a given situation and mapping out decision options to manage those demands effectively, interpreters can deliver high-quality interpreting services while minimising stress and burnout.


Further reading:


- Dean, R. K., & Pollard, R. Q. (2001). Application of the demand-control schema to sign language interpreting: Implications for stress and interpreter training. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 6(1), 1-14.

- Gish, S., & Newbold, S. (2013). Interpreter stress and vicarious trauma in interpreted interactions with refugees: A demand-control schema approach. Journal of Refugee Studies, 26(2), 163-181.

- National Association of the Deaf. (n.d.). Video Remote Interpreting

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