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Demand Control Schema Resources

Robyn Dean and Dr. Robert Pollard have created a wealth of resources for interpreter educators related to the demand control schema.  This schema supports interpreters in assessing the challenges they face and identifying their options in responding. Additionally, they have been at the forefront of promoting a practice profession approach to interpreting.  This includes the use of Observation-Supervision, case conferencing, and reflective practice to raise the level of service.  While applicable to all types of interpreting, it is very beneficial in healthcare settings.

The Towards Reflective Practice: Case Studies for Interpreting in Healthcare Settings manual incorporated application of demand control schema to the case study process, and suggests using the case study manual with the textbook The Demand Control Schema: Interpreting as a Practice Profession.

Click here to review their page hosted by the University of Rochester Deaf Wellness Program

Download the Case Studies for Interpreting in Healthcare Settings manual here (PDF)

Role Confusion?

by Jimmy Beldon

Translation by Doug Bowen-Bailey

I want a share a story of an experience with an interpreter who forgot the human factor. I realize it is important for interpreters to maintain boundaries, but sometimes, it can go too far.

This happened right after the birth of our child. The new parents had to move to a different room. There was a cart with all the clothes that the father was pushing. The nurse was pushing the mom, who was sitting in a wheelchair holding the newborn. Additionally, there was an IV which the nurse was also managing to move along. But with the weight of the mom and child, it was quite a strain on the nurse.

The interpreter walked along beside us. Eventually, we came to a closed door which didn’t have an automatic opener. While the interpreter, who had relatively empty hands, watched, the nurse managed to push open the door and navigate through with the wheel chair and IV. But once we were through that doorway, there was a small threshold to cross to get into the room.

I watched the interpreter just observed all of this without offering to help at all. I realized this interpreter was probably not savvy about realizing when to offer assistance. I don’t know if it was concern about role confusion, but the interpreter just observing everything made me feel angry. I felt like I wanted to knock her over with the cart to make her realize she needed to help. Of course, I didn’t do that and just pushed the cart through the door instead.

That experience really did make me wonder about that interpreter.

Dealing with Varying Ages

by Amy Williamson-Loga

Translation by Doug Bowen-Bailey

I recently interpreted a medical situation where the patient was a Deaf boy who was of middle-school age. His parents were also Deaf. Now, before I go into any situation, I spend some time thinking of how I can best match the language usage of the people I work with. If I feel there are going to be a variety of language levels in the audience, it can be a challenge to do that. Especially if you see some in the audience who are not understanding the interpretation at the same time as others clearly are.

So, I was thinking of how this dynamic would play out with a medical appointment with Deaf parents of a Deaf patient in middle school. So, before I went to interpret, I spent some time trying to strategize because this was my first time with this experience.

Ironically, my deliberation and worry were really unnecessary because the doctor took care of it. That doctor spoke directly to the patient and used language fitting for talking to someone his age, and then spoke to the parents using more fitting language for adults.

It did send me thinking about when I was young, growing up and going to the doctor with my parents and learning from the conversations the doctor had with my parents. So, in interpreting for the doctor and nurse talking with the parents, I did match their language use. I think the boy was able to generally understand the conversation, probably on par with who a hearing child would in listening to the conversation between a doctor and parents.