Logo for CIT 2020 Conference - Transforming Interpreter Education

It takes a village: Providing transformative mock interpreting experiences supported by local communities

by Holly Nelson & Christine Multra Kraft

Interactive Workshop

Date | Time | Room

Return to 2020 Conference Schedule

Interpreters are inexorably linked to the communities in which they work. Mock interpreting experiences immersed within, and supported by these communities, provide a safe and healthy environment for novice interpreters to continue their growth and development after graduating from an interpreting program.

An effective community-based, immersive mock interpreting experience brings together a diverse group of Deaf and hearing community members, interpreter educators, and experienced interpreters for the purpose of creating authentic learning experiences for novice interpreters. These experiences can shape the development of novice interpreters and give other stakeholders an opportunity to influence interpreters as individuals and the interpreting field as a whole.

Successful mock interpreting experiences based in community settings can incorporate several stakeholder groups, including:

  • Deaf Individuals
  • Interpreter Educators
  • Hearing community members
  • Experienced local interpreters

Deaf community members are central to successful community-based, immersive mock experiences. Inviting Deaf individuals to participate enables a direct link between interpreters and the communities in which they work. It also allows interpreter training and development to be influenced by the people using interpreting services. Because each community has its own unique makeup and challenges, the best way to provide authentic experiences to novice interpreters is to invite these communities in directly. Advanced training and ongoing support are provided so their contributions are maximized and opportunity given to further develop their skills.

Interpreter educators are essential to bridging experiences and knowledge gained during interpreter education with community-based experiences and learning. Educators influence the focus of the immersive mock experience by identifying possible gaps in training and/or skill development needs of novice interpreters in that particular area.

Hearing community members bring their local community knowledge and experiences to the immersive mock experiences and play a key role in shaping authentic practice opportunities for novice interpreters. Through interaction during the mock situations, these hearing community members gain opportunities to make meaningful connections to Deaf community members, novice interpreters, educators, and interpreters; becoming allies in the process. Their involvement in the mock situations often leads to further Deaf community connections and growth opportunities.

Experienced local interpreters are a critical aspect of the immersive mock experience. Building on their knowledge and experience, local interpreters are provided a framework for the development of diagnostic, mentoring, and interpreter training skills. Mentor training begins in advance and is nurtured during the immersive mock experience. Mentors are further supported with follow up observations, teaming, and mentoring after the Immersion experience; this way experienced interpreters can explore becoming interpreter trainers.

Examples of immersive mock interpreting experiences shared along with examples of local “villages” that were created to support the development of novice interpreters participating in the Graduation to Certification (GTC) Program with the CATIE Center. During these mock experiences, the GTC team partnered with local communities to develop resources and share strategies. Workshop participants will leave with these resources and have an opportunity to identify members of their own communities that can come together as a “village” to support novice interpreters and their ongoing development while developing their own skills.

Participants will:

  • Match the purpose of each aspect of an immersive, community-based mock interpreting event to objectives for mock interpreting.
  • Identify individuals from each stakeholder group within their own communities (Deaf community member, hearing ally, educator, and interpreter/mentor).
  • Discuss and analyze logistical considerations for hosting an immersive, community-based mock event.
  • Develop an action plan that can be implemented to establish an immersive, community-based mock event.

A white woman with blond hair at shoulder length looks at camera while wearing a blue button down shirtHolly Nelson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Arizona’s Deaf Studies and Educational Interpreting program. Holly’s experience spans over 25 years and includes ASL/English interpreting, teaching, mentoring, program development/review, assessment, and consulting. She has worked and taught in academic, community, government, and corporate settings. Holly has research and teaching interests that incorporate differentiated instruction, decision making/ethics, experiential learning/mock interpreting, and test preparation. She is also passionate about deliberate/reflective practice and expressing her creativity in her work. Holly maintains National Interpreter Certification with the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf at the master level.

A white woman with short brown hair smiles at camera in front of black backgroundChristine Multra Kraft, CDI, ASLTA Professional is the Community Programs and Initiatives Director for Sorenson Interpreter Education & Professional Development. ASL and interpreting have been her passion for the past 25 years. A former Assistant Professor at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, her research interests include conversation dynamics, language acquisition and using linguistic scholarship to boost language and interpreting skill development.