Educational Interpreting Code of Ethicsby Amy Frasu, MA, CI/CT, NIC Advanced, BEI Advanced
There is a common misconception that due to a Deaf student's young age and impressionability, educational interpreters should become mentors for Deaf students. However, the age of the consumer does not merit an interpreter the obligation to interfere. Students need and deserve guidance from a variety of peers, teachers, and counselors.
The appropriate role of the interpreter is to interpret effectively, not to act as a moral compass. Although the current RID-NAD Code of Professional Conduct may seem limiting, these limitations are necessary to guide interpreters and consumers to make better ethical decisions about the interpreter's role. The Code of Professional Conduct (2005) applies to all interpreters at all times, regardless of the consumers' ages.It will negatively impact the Deaf student's educational experience if an interpreter is expected to perform duties unrelated to interpreting, such as:
- tutoring (at any time and under any circumstances)
- reporting to staff members about the Deaf student's academic and/or social progress
- supervising students (lunch duty, bus duty)
- disciplining or counseling students
- clerical work, errands, and copying
As a member of the educational team, it is essential that the interpreter follow the RID-NAD Code of Professional Conduct as a common sense guide. Staff and students will reap long-term benefits from an interpreter's professionalism and commitment to the Code of Professional Conduct.
For more information about this topic, please read the following resources:
- RID Standard Practice Paper for Educational Interpreting
- Empowering the Young Deaf Community
- Working with an ASL-English Interpreter & Providing Visual Accessibility for Deaf Students
- Educational Interpreter Job Description example
Frasu, Amy. "Educational Interpreting Code of Ethics Statement." http://www.DeafLinx.com
As an ASL-English interpreter since 1994, Amy has worked in a variety of settings, including medical appointments, business meetings, conferences, video relay service, theater, k-12 schools, undergraduate courses, and graduate courses. She also mentors interpreters, provides diagnostic assessments, and is an interpreter at the San Antonio College in the Department of American Sign Language and Interpreter Training.