Logo for CIT 2020 Conference - Transforming Interpreter Education

Same Degree, Different Story? Exploring the Experiences of Students of Color in Interpreting Programs

by Krystal Butler


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One avenue which aspiring interpreters take towards acquiring ASL and English proficiency is attending an Interpreter Education Program (IEP). A student’s overall perspective of their IEP experience is determined by the nature of their exchanges with faculty and peers, and their academic interactions within the classroom. This study compares the perspectives of white students to that of students of color to determine if there are differences in the IEP experiences of both student groups.

Participants will be able to:

  • Recognize five major areas in which students of color and white students’ educational experience within IEPs are similar and different.
  • Articulate the most recent survey results pertaining to the racial diversity of IEPs curricular materials
  • Acknowledge the history of research and discussions relating to racial diversity of IEPs.
  • Analyze the potential impact of racial disparities in IEPs on Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing and Deaf-Blind communities.

A black woman with dark black shoulder length hair wearing glasses and a black shirt sitting at a kitchen counterKrystal Butler is an ASL/English interpreter from Washington, D.C. Krystal grew up in North Carolina where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In 2015, Krystal worked closely with members of the Wilmington Deaf community to learn ASL. With the help of her mentor, Daisy Wooten Rivenbark, Krystal was introduced to the world of interpreting. In 2018, Krystal earned a Masters of Arts in Interpretation from Gallaudet University. Since graduating, Krystal has worked as a freelance community interpreter, mostly in business and government settings. Krystal also spends her time researching racial disparities within interpreter training programs and its impact on students of the profession. Krystal is currently working on publishing her thesis and continuing to conduct further research on the topic. Krystal is the recipient of the 2018 Ron Coffey Award from the Department of Interpreting and Translation at Gallaudet University and the 2015 Community Service Volunteer of the Year Award from the North Carolina Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing of Wilmington. Krystal is a member of the DC chapter of the National Alliance of Black Interpreters (NAOBI-DC), the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the Potomac Chapter of RID (PCRID). Krystal currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband, Keith and their cat Marley.