Brilliant article and wise words!
This is such an important issue that interpreters need to be aware of, on both a conscious and UNconscious level. Wait– how can you be aware of something on an unconscious level? When you’ve thought about something so thoroughly and you truly understand all the roles and responsibilities involved. It’s like when you practice a piece of music, or a dance routine, or even driving your route to work. At first, you have to think hard, plan each step, correct your errors as you go. But after a while, it becomes second nature, and you no longer need a teacher, a coach, or a GPS to guide your way.
When interpreters think about, research, discuss, and practice ethical behavior– it’s much easier to pull different options that will empower the deaf participant(s) put of your back pocket when you get into a sticky situation. In short, mindfulness is the key. Be mindful about what you say, sign, type, and portray through body language and facial expressions. Think about discussing and debriefing about interpreting scenarios (in a no-names, no-specifics environment of course) with a deaf or hearing mentor, teacher, co-worker, or ethical discussion group. The most valuable thing we can do with our mistakes is to learn from them and share that lesson with our peers, so that the benefit gained is spread exponentially.