Saturday, May 12, 2012

10,000 Hours

Marina McIntire once said “Interpreting is Impossible… So Get Better”.  This workshop provides discrete training tools to help both students and working professionals improve their overall abilities to interpret.  Discussion topics include

Perception of Numbers (the Five-Minute Workshop)
   or "Open your eyes in just 300 seconds"
  • Sixes (bottom curves) and Nines (straight sides)
  • Sevens (short/long straight +2) and Eights (equal curves +3)

    Production & Perception of Fingerspelling
    • Finding your personally correct hand configurations [tension, release & reset]
    • Fingerspelling grid (pairs of letters) [AA, AB, AC ...XZ, YZ, ZZ]
    • Fingerspelling round-robin [pair up, alternately produce & perceive two lists of words]

    English Grammar and Production
    Sentence structure / processing time
    Articulation / volume / speed
    • Listen to the radio and repeat back, verbatim and with equal inflection, what people are saying.  (this and the next one work well when driving alone between assignments)
    • After doing the repetition task for at least one minute STOP, turn down the radio and prepare to summarize what you just said... first plan it, then confidently speak it out loud as though you were explaining it to a person who had not heard any of the original text.
    • Read a paragraph in English.  Restate the same paragraph in your own terms in spoken English.  Restate the same concepts once again in ASL.
    • Listen to or read a paragraph of English text.  Restate the concepts in a different text type
    1. Narrative (telling / informing) - tell me a story
    2. Description (reporting / explaining) - give me definitions and details
    3. Argumentation (analysis / urging / discussion) - convince me of the pros or cons

    Bilingual Processing of Information (Apply these to your work)
    • language to image to language (using drawings in notes)
    • hop skip and jump (consecutive processing within simultaneous interpreting)
      • Colonomos Training = Concentrate / Represent (visualize) / Plan (rehearse)
    • visual competition (conscious insertion of gaps / sharing visual space)

    Effective Cultural Adjustments between source and target texts (thought pieces to guide future work)
    • Name signs (Sandra McLennon)
    • Educational Choices (institute / oral / mainstream) (Mal Grosinger)
    • Deaf Artifacts (bed vibrators / flashing lights / TTYs / Videophones)

    Friday, April 27, 2012

    Professional Ethics

    1) RID Code of Professional Conduct
    Only accept work within ability
    Professional behavior (including no personal gain)
    Respect consumers (professional behavior)
    Be a team player
    Learn / get better

    2) International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC)
    Confidentiality (“Secrecy”)
    No Personal Gain
    Only accept work within ability
    Professional behavior (don’t embarrass the profession)
    Be a team player

    3) American Translators Association
    Only accept work within ability
    Learn / get better
    Be a team player
    Professional behavior

    4) International Medical Interpreters Association
    Respect consumers / match their communication styles / needs
    Only accept work within ability
    Avoid conflicts / family close friends as clients
    Professional behavior / not personal opinion
    Medical terps focus on medical interpreting unless qualified for other kinds
    Take care in explaining cultural issues / conflicts
    Do not interfere with the flow of communication
    Learn / get better
    Pursue professional connections
    No Personal Gain

    5) National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators
    Professional behavior / not personal opinion
    Professional behavior (stay within courtroom protocols)
    Learn / get better
    Accurate Representation of Credentials to the court
    Reveal impediments to compliance to the court (fatigue/low volume/use of jargon)

    6) EIPA (Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment) Ethical Guidelines

    The EIPA guidelines are designed to guide both the interpreter and the other members of the educational team toward effective use of interpreting services.  Therefore they do not fit the same format as the Ethical Codes described above.

    • Interpreting for young children requires maturity from the student – as the student matures the strategies and behaviors employed by the interpreter will change.
    • Educational interpreting means working as a member of an educational team guided by laws, district policies and Individualized Education Plans that take precedence over any professional code of ethics.
    • Interpreters should have and make use of Prep Time
    • Interpreters should not express personal opinions about other educational team members
    • Interpreters should strive for complete accuracy and inform consumers if it has not been achieved
    • Interpreters should make cultural adjustments as needed
    • Interpreters should not interfere in the student’s responsibilities for their own behaviors
    • Interpreters should promote their consumers’ understanding of interpreting and encourage effective use of interpreting services
    • Interpreters for Deaf students need to monitor the student’s ability to perceive all useful information visually and allow for/encourage students to make effective use of visual aids
    • Interpreters should work with the teacher to find effective solutions for the student
    • Interpreters might also provide effective tutoring services to their students, but the role of interpreting should always take precedence, supervision and training in effective tutoring should be provided, and consumers should be made aware of 

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    RID National Conference Photos

    Brian Cerney of Hand And Mind Publishing received the contract for the photography of the RID National Conference held in Atlanta Georgia from July 17th until July 22nd, 2011.  These photos are available publicly through various Picasa accounts.

    Monday, July 18th, 2011 - Opening Ceremony
    Link to the July 18th Opening Picasa Album

    Monday, July 18th, 2011 - Workshops, etc.

    Monday, July 18th, 2011 - Opening Reception
    Link to the July 18th Opening Picasa Album

    Tuesday, July 19th, 2011 - RID Conference

    Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 - RID Conference

    Thursday, July 21st, 2011 - RID Conference

    Friday, July 22nd, 2011 - RID Conference

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    I. Revisiting Brasel (1976): Should We Switch Every Twenty Minutes? - OVERVIEW

    Professional Discussion (1.5 hours) – This presentation assumes the participant has a general familiarity with the literature and professional practice within the topic area. The focus is “increased understanding and application by the participant.”

    Overview of Presentation
    Why do most interpreters switch every twenty minutes? Interpreting team members commonly switch their working roles of providing primary service (the “A” interpreter role) and that of monitoring the interpretation (the “B” interpreter role) every twenty minutes in order to maintain consistency and avoid deterioration of the integrity of the interpretation due to fatigue. Brasel’s 1976 research provided supporting evidence that this approach provides for best practices within teamed interpreting.  Thirty-five years later, Brasel’s research has not been satisfactorily replicated until this current study, which investigated a pool of professional interpreters working within a post-secondary educational setting.

    This presentation reviews Brasel’s original research, the current practices within our profession, and the results of the study with specific implications for how to modify our current best practices for optimum consumer satisfaction with interpreting services while reducing our own stress and overuse symptoms as professional service providers

    Additional Information
    Interpreters working in teams generally transition every twenty to twenty-five minutes between direct provision of service (“A” role) and supporting and monitoring the interpretation (“B” role).  The only research that supports this pattern is Brasel’s 1976 study, which indicated that interpreter fatigue begins to negatively impact the quality of signed language interpretations after twenty minutes.

    This presentation provides a review of a new and on-going study, which seeks to partially replicate Brasel’s original study in order to determine what the current best practices in interpreting should be for switching roles.  Subjects were staff ASL/English interpreters at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, in Rochester, NY who were video recorded during their normal interpreting assignments as part of regular ongoing professional development.  Multiple recordings for each interpreter within several settings provided baseline comparisons as an effort to establish consistency of performances and eliminate poor work due to having an “off day”.  Recordings were systematically analyzed to determine the first onset for a certain class of errors (repaired slips of the hand) and the subsequent performances.

    At the time of this proposal the data collection process is on-going and results have yet to be determined, but they are guaranteed to reveal statistics regarding average durations of interpretations prior to performance deterioration.  These results will inform the remainder of the presentation and provide specific recommendations for generating successful interpretations of longer durations with greater accuracy.  Additionally, the study will provide insight to identify particular error patterns, providing evidence that may help professional interpreters advocate for teaming interpreted assignments.

    Brasel, B. 1976. The effects of fatigue on the competence of interpreters for the deaf. In H.J. Murphy (ed.), Selected Readings in the Integration of Deaf Students at C.S.U.N. Centre on Deafness series (#1). Northridge, CA: California State University.

    Educational Objectives
    Working professionals in the field of interpreting will gain comprehension of Brasel’s original research and how it has affected our field’s current expectations of best practices regarding the duration of interpreting segments within a teamed approach to interpreting.  Additionally, audience members will learn about the presenter’s recent research regarding these topics.

    Audience members will be able to apply practical knowledge regarding the recognition of symptoms of fatigue that appear within signed ASL target texts.

    Audience members will attain strategies for problem solving regarding interpreting assignments in which teamed interpretation is not provided.  These strategies will include suggestions for how to advocate for providing services through teamed interpretation as well as suggestions for how to reduce stress and enhance target-text integrity during solo interpreting conditions.

    Information about the Presenter
    Brian Cerney, Ph.D., CI, CT, ASLTA-Professional has been a nationally certified interpreter since 1991 and is currently an Associate Professor within the ASL - English Interpreting Program at Keuka College in New York.  Dr. Cerney’s research interests include interpreting processes, human-cognitive responses to stress, and ASL/English/Interpreting pedagogy.  He has presented on topics ranging from interpreters serving as language models in mainstream environments, teaching methodologies for ASL, and evaluation methodologies for target texts.

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    II. Revisiting Brasel (1976): The Research from Barbara Babbini Brasel

    In short, the answer is "yes" but let's start by looking at how we got here.

    Background on Brasel's (1976) study
    Barbara Babbini Brasel (B3) conducted her research at CSUN.  Her research was published in 1976 as part of a Center on Deafness Publication Series (1976 was the first year of the publication series).  Brasel's study was the fourth article in the section titled "USE OF INTERPRETERS".  The fifth article, however, mentions the exact same title - "The Effects of Fatigue on the Competence of Interpreters for the Deaf" in its bibliography, but provides a publication date of 1969 (and also identifies the source as "San Fernando Valley State College" - the former name of the place now known as the California State University at Northridge).  This means that the 1976 publication date actually refers to research conducted in the 1960s, no later than 1969.

    Within the 1976 publication there are references to information "that will be discussed later in this paper", but no subsequent discussion occurs.  It is this researcher's assumption (educated guess) that the 1976 publication was actually a summary of the original 1969 research rather than a complete reproduction of it.

    The original study involved five subjects (three female, two male) but one (male) was eliminated from portions of the study due to insufficient interpreting skills.  Each subject's skills were evaluated using a 13-item evaluation tool (not revealed in the study's 1976 publication) that rated skills based on five minutes of interpreting work. who interpreted different lengths of lecture content (pre-recorded on audio tape): 0 minutes (control subject), 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes and 90 minutes.

    The 1976 publication clearly identifies that the control subject was female and that her skills were evaluated differently (based on her participation in a separate study that had used the same evaluation tool).  This leaves two female and two male interpreters for the remainder of the study.  Of all five subjects Brasel indicates that three had "good/outstanding skills," one had "acceptable skills" and one had "high unacceptable skills".  Further description in the 1976 publication reveals that the 60-minute and 90-minute interpreters had "good/outstanding skills" and that the insufficiently-skilled interpreter performed for 20 minutes.  Thus the resulting table can be created:

    0 minutes (control) - good/outstanding OR acceptable skills
    20 minutes - high unacceptable skills
    30 minutes - good/outstanding OR acceptable skills
    60 minutes - good/outstanding skills
    90 minutes - good/outstanding skills

    It is worth noting that this research was not exclusively related to the duration of interpreting assignments and interpreter fatigue.  The study actually had several other assessments including a trigram test, a math test and a typing test.  The trigram test involved revealing ten cards with three-letter sequences for 3-second intervals followed by the subject writing down as many trigrams as they could remember.  The math test required subjects to correctly add a column of ten three-digit numbers.  The typing test allowed subjects five minutes to re-type a source (typed) text.  Each subject completed all of these assessments prior to their interpreting task, thus the need for the control subject to account for test/te-test effects.

    As with any study the low number of subjects gives room to doubt the general applicability of the results to the general population.  The study is still useful, however, because it sheds light on the question of assignment duration related to interpreter fatigue.

    The evaluation of interpreter fatigue affecting the interpretation itself was accomplished using a four-person panel of two Deaf evaluators (Brasel being one of them) and two skilled Interpreter evaluators.  Deaf judges looked for errors (mis-articulation, semantic mismatch, omissions) and also noted any time that they felt "baffled or confused or did not understand a fingerspelled or signed word".  The Interpreter judges focused on omissions, substitutions, or other skewing where the source and target texts did not match.  Duration of the interpretation was divided into 5-minute segments by a time-keeper, visible to the judges but behind the subject who indicated five-minutes, ten-minutes and so forth.

    There are several points to notice about the study.  First, there was no video recording made of the interpreting performances.  All evaluation was accomplished by the written comments of four panel members watching the live performance.  The second point to consider is that the subjects had live audience members watching their work, but every time they wrote something down, it was to note an error (negative feedback).  Third, the source text is an audio recording that cannot be stopped or interrupted for clarification.  The speaker is not physically present and no visual aids (gestures, notes, pictures, etc) accompany the source message.

    The most significant results that Brasel reports are that "for up to 30 minutes, there are no significant differences in interpreting competence, errors or quality –– although a deterioration can be noted beginning at about 25 minutes.  After 30 minutes there is a slow but steady increase in error rate and after 60 minutes this increase becomes significant."  In other words, we can interpret 30 minutes without significant deterioration in the message (but fatigue is noticeable at about 25 minutes).  Interpreters can only work about an hour before their work begins to significantly suffer.

    These results largely depend on the interpretations generated by the two subjects who worked longer than 30 minutes.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    III. Revisiting Brasel (1976): The Research of Gabrian and Williams

    So 1976 gives us support to request team interpreting or at the very least, switching interpreters for assignments of one hour or longer.  No other studies specifically investigating assignment duration and interpreter fatigue were conducted until Gabrian and Williams published their 2009 research "The Effect of Interpreter Fatigue On Interpretation Quality"

    The 2009 study was conducted at Gallaudet University.  The researchers were able to recruit a single subject and chose a case-study approach.  The subject was video recorded interpreting two different extended source texts (80+ minutes each); one was an ASL source text interpreted into English, the other an English source text interpreted into ASL.  Because of the overwhelming amount of data it was reduced to four discrete five-minute segments for each task (ASL-to-English and English-to-ASL): from 10 to 15 minutes; from 30 to 35 minutes; from 50 to 55 minutes; and from 74 to 79 minutes (due to avoiding a change from monologue to dialogue during a question-and-answer session at the end of a lecture).

    Both the ASL to English and English to ASL samples demonstrated deterioration of the message over time as measured through OMISSIONS.  The interpretation into ASL showed a gradual increase in omissions across all four segments.  The interpretation into English showed a constant rate for the first three segments followed by a dramatic increase in the final segment.

    CONCLUSION - The research conducted by Gabrian and Williams support the general conclusions that Brasel had found: That sustained interpretations show signs of deterioration by 30 minutes and the quality is more seriously diminished after one hour.

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    IV. Revisiting Brasel (1976): The Research of Abrams, Cerney, Hoock, Marble, Prestano & Staehle

    So now we are ready to understand the current study.
    Abrams, Cerney, Hoock, Marble, Prestano & Staehle (2011)

    In January of 2011 41 staff interpreters employed by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) were asked to participate in a study on Interpreting, based on their Winter Quarter schedules placing them within a lecture setting for at least one hour on their own, without a team interpreter.  Eighteen of these interpreters consented to participate in the study.  Four were not able to provide the study's goal of three forty-minute (or longer) samples of work with the same consumers and setting.  Of the fourteen subjects that remained in the study nine provided a single data set, three provided two data sets each, and one subject completed four different data sets.  This resulted in a grand total of 20 completed sets of three different recordings (each one 40 minutes or longer) within the same setting/participants.

    Ten additional sets of at least one recording 40 minutes or longer (four of them additional subjects not in the primary data set, six are interpreters already in the primary data set but with different participants/settings).  These data sets were incomplete due to scheduling of midterm exams; field trips; or interpreter, student, or faculty absences.  Additional data was also discarded due to the subject being the second interpreter in a two-hour class that dismissed prior to a full forty minutes of class time in the second hour.

    The data was collected by four Interpreting students at Keuka College as part of their Field Period experiences.  Student researchers were available for the first three and a half weeks of January which was when all of the data was collected.  Students met with the interpreters prior to beginning data collection to ensure a smooth integration with existing classroom behaviors (introduction to instructor and students, location of the camera, etc.)  All subjects regularly (at least annually if not quarterly) videotaped their own work within classroom settings so the provision of a student researcher to run a video recording was generally perceived as a benefit to the subjects, who were able to obtain copies of their own performances to review privately.  The cameras were all HD Vivitar cameras with fixed lenses and digital zoom.  The pixilation of the digital zoom on these cameras caused poor quality video and the researchers were instructed to refrain from depending upon it for capturing the subjects' interpretations.  The focus of the entire study was on the ASL production of English-to-ASL interpreting.  All of the recordings were captured on SD memory cards.  Recordings were copied from these cards into a Macintosh computer running Quicktime to play the video files.  Backup copies were made onto an external hard drive and the SD memory cards were erased and used again for subsequent recordings.

    In addition to the video recording of interpreting work each subject was asked to complete a six-item questionnaire.  Three items asked the subjects to rate (on a 1 - 5 scale) their own mental alertness, physical stress and topic preparation prior to and after each interpreting sample.  Student researchers were also asked to note any possible indications of fatigue that they noticed.

    The analysis of the data is on-going.  Two initial explorations have been completed.  Both were considered productive and may result in a more widespread analysis in the future.  Neither of these initial explorations of the data have included the questionnaire or student researcher notes.  Both of the initial analyses were conducted directly by the lead researchers, Abie Abrams and Brian Cerney, in June and July of 2011.