Whether you are providing or receiving supervision, it’s important you are able to do this safely and effectively, and in a way that enables you to meet your intended learning objectives. 

developing skills and competence

Professional practice and reflection

As a professional interpreter, it’s important to continually reflect on your practise to help gain insight into and analytically think about your work.

Supervision can help you develop insight and help maintain and refine your good practice. It can help you learn from mistakes, put things right and avoid repeating them again in the future, which can in turn help build your confidence and lead to improvements in service provision.

Continuing professional development (CPD)

learning from mistakes

Keeping your knowledge and skills up to date and relevant to your scope of practice is crucial to ensure you continue practising safely and effectively. It is also an important part of meeting Standards of conduct, performance and ethics.

Supervision supports your CPD by helping to identify and respond to any learning gaps you might have, which will help ensure that your skills and knowledge are up to date.

Supervision can also have a positive impact on your career progression by helping you to:

  • identify professional development opportunities;
  • improve confidence and critical thinking;
  • seek support and feedback from colleagues; and
  • monitor your development.

The notes that you take as part of your supervision can be used as evidence of your CPD at your renewal.

keep notes

If you do decide to include supervision within your CPD profile, you should keep a detailed and accurate record of your supervision activities, including detail of what was discussed with your supervisor and how this has informed your practise going forward.

The majority of sign language interpreters work as freelance practitioners and often work in isolation with limited opportunities to talk about their work, as such interpreters often rely on close friends and colleagues for support.

Over the course of your career, you may be expected to supervise or support colleagues and students. Alternately, you may receive supervision to develop your own professional skills and competence in a certain area.

explore, discuss and reflect

Professional Supervision is an opportunity for supervisees to explore, discuss and reflect upon the issues, emotions and dilemmas which can originate from their work. Rather than something to be feared supervision is an opportunity for growth and development enabling the supervisee to become a more robust, resilient and ethical practitioner. Trust is central to the supervisory relationship to enable the supervisee to bring what they may perceive as ‘mistakes’ without fear of judgement.

Exploration of your work with a Professional Supervisor encourages the development of skills, fosters a deeper understanding of the supervisees’ work and increases self-awareness. This reflection enables interpreters to maintain professional boundaries whilst being flexible as the role requires.

increasing resilience

Interpreting assignments can be emotionally demanding and witnessing the distress of others can be distressing for interpreters. Understanding personal responses to people and situations can increase resilience and reduce work related stress.

Professional Supervision is a highly effective way for interpreters to look after their mental and emotional health and well-being in an effort to avoid stress, vicarious trauma and burnout, all of which can lead to interpreters leaving the profession.

After attending Jules Dickinson’s webinar, hosted by VLP in July this year; Professional Supervision: Dipping your toe in the water I decided to begin a certificate in supervision with 360 Supervision, Jan 2022- Jun 2022 with a view to moving forward to the diploma.

Anthony Mitchell

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