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Scenario Series: What Would You Do? Scenario #2

Jan 25, 2022 | Interpreter Education

by: Lisa Hendrickson, CI - NIR Interpreter Coordinator

For this week’s blog, we will dive into yet another hypothetical interpreting scenario including an ethical dilemma to ponder.

Interpreter Role

As mentioned in the previous blog in this series, humans are often faced with ethical dilemmas—some big, some small—that we must negotiate through and/or around. For these daily dilemmas, we have our beliefs and values to guide us, cultivated as we have navigated the passing years.

Ethical dilemmas in the “workplace” are certainly no exception to this tendency, and many fields have additional tools to assist in the decision-making process. Many professional fields have codes of conduct to assist in guiding its members toward the best possible decisions; the field of interpreting has the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct (CPC) for this purpose.

For this series, we will look at a hypothetical interpreting scenario, and then investigate which Tenets/Illustrative Behaviors of the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct (CPC) may help us decide the best possible course of action. Exploring these scenarios, and applying the CPC, can help us prepare for situations that may arise in our daily work.

Remember, there are no wrong answers! Let’s take a look at Scenario #2 and apply the Tenets/Illustrative Behaviors of the CPC:

Scenario # 2

You are interpreting for a multi-day job training, teaming with another interpreter. On the third day of training, prior to the arrival of the Deaf employee, the supervisor tells you and your team that there has been an incident that needs to be addressed. She goes on to say that the Deaf employee has been accused of verbally assaulting a co-worker the previous day, and explains that you and your team should expect to interpret during the discussion of the incident when the Deaf employee arrives.

Once he arrives, the supervisor explains the co-worker’s complaint to the Deaf employee, and then asks for his account of what occurred the previous day. The Deaf employee begins to explain his side of the story while your team begins interpreting.

Suddenly, the supervisor interrupts, and asks him to start his account over, and asks you to “write the Deaf employee’s words” on an incident report while your team continues interpreting.
Let’s now look at the CPC to see which Tenets/Illustrative Behaviors may help us decide how to proceed if faced with a similar situation:

2.0 Professionalism

Tenet: Interpreters possess the professional skills and knowledge required for the specific interpreting situation.

Illustrative Behavior: 2.3 –Render the message faithfully by conveying the content and spirit of what is being communicated, using language most readily understood by consumers, and correcting errors discreetly and expeditiously.

3.0 Conduct

Tenet: Interpreters conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the specific interpreting situation.

Illustrative Behavior: 3.3 –Avoid performing dual or conflicting roles in interdisciplinary (e.g. educational or mental health teams) or other settings.

Illustrative Behavior: 3.7 –Disclose to parties involved any actual or perceived conflicts of interest.

4.0 Respect for Consumers

Tenet: Interpreters demonstrate respect for Consumers.

Illustrative Behavior: 4.4–Facilitate communication access and equality, and support the full interaction and independence of consumers.

6.0 Business Practices

Tenet: Interpreters maintain ethical business practices.

Illustrative Behavior: 6.3–Promote conditions that are conducive to effective communication, inform the parties involved if such conditions do not exist, and seek appropriate remedies.

These are just a few possible examples of Tenets/Illustrative Behaviors that may help an interpreter decide how best to proceed if faced with a similar situation to the above scenario. If you find other Tenet(s)/Illustrative Behaviors that you think apply to Scenario # 2, please feel free to add that information in the comments section below.

Stay tuned for more interpreting scenarios to come!

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