COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of technology both professionally and personally the world over; Sign Language Interpreters are no exception.
Interpreting services incur costs for the organisations who book them. These organisations look to their financials to reduce costs and improve their bottom line. For the people who pay, the notion of calling up an interpreter who works remotely is appealing; it’s immediate and potentially cheaper.
What is the impact of remote interpreting for; the Deaf community, the interpreter in question and the wider profession?
There are benefits for the Deaf community, Deaf people have access to an interpreter at the press of a button; wherever they are. Having interpreters available to them who, ordinarily live too greater distance to book for a face to face appointment.
Interpreters benefit too, they gain a great variety of work experience which stands them in good stead to be a consciously robust practitioner.
Reflecting on their work enables them to make the right choices of the domains they are capable of working in. Building confidence along with Continuing Professional Development which may include supervision, means they continue to develop and maintain their skill repertoire.
The impact for the wider profession maybe more profound as the users of remote interpreters increasingly find their expectations are met – quickly and more cheaply.
I’ve recently begun interpreting a few days a week with SignLive; a British Sign Language online interpreting service that is available 24/7. Users of the service can access interpreters online or with the App whenever they want. Convo Global and SignLive merged earlier this year.
People are using SignLive in their everyday lives; making calls to companies, their local authority and the NHS.
At work people are using the service for meetings and communicating with their hearing colleagues. Businesses are making their workflow more accessible for deaf people. SignLive improves communication for and with deaf employees.
A typical day for an interpreter may involve 20 to 40 calls on an 8 hour shift. Deaf people at work; Postmen, Engineers, CEOs, Support workers and Delivery drivers-to name just a few!
Deaf users are picking up an interpreter at the press of a button on their device and communicating immediately with whoever they are with.
Keep an eye on your well being
Do not take for granted the emotional, physical and psychological impact of being a Sign Language Interpreter. Think about your work Effective, reflective practice otherwise you run the risk of exhaustion or worse burnout!