Practicum Group Project Reflection

Fall 2015

Gears working together

This project focused on helping our class to work together as team in the interpreting environment. I chose the background images that you can see for this reflection as a reminder that when you only have one gear it cannot turn. Likewise if you have two gears but they're not quite aligned correctly, they will struggle to turn and work together, more than likely damaging each other in the process. Gears can only perform their function successfully if they are aligned properly. Much like interpreting, being prepared and ready to work together is key to successfully facilitating communication. As interpreters we are not alone. We always need at least two other people or "gears" to successfully perform our role. At times we will also need a fourth support "gear" or interpreter for specific settings. Learning to work together with a team in a variety of settings is vital to our work. Without being properly aligned, we could cause harm to those involved in the interpreting situation. This harm could be damage to the reputation of our profession as well as a host of negative consequences for all parties involved.

Presenter Reflection

How did you feel about teaching a topic to your peers?

This practicum project was very exciting for me. I’m rarely nervous when presenting in front of a group. If I’m organized and know a bit about the topic I’m always willing to share my opinion or any knowledge that I may have. This is both a positive and can be a negative personality trait. I recall when I took public speaking at Cincinnati State that the most challenging thing for me was to watch my time to be sure that I didn’t use too much. I felt this time that I was comfortable because I knew most of my audience and had interacted with them before. I didn’t feel the fear of judgement from my peers if I were to stand up and speak.

Did you have intra or interpersonal struggles? I didn’t feel any internal struggles before the presentation itself until around 15 minutes before I presented. I get a few butterflies in my stomach right before I begin. Once I start speaking however I forget those nervous feelings and focus on the message.

What do you feel went well?

. I thought that the presentation went well in terms of giving basic information about sailing that I wanted to express. I felt that my demeanor was calm and I feel that I present well. I’m able to get a response from the audience if I make a joke or convey an important message.

Needs improvement?

In terms of my actual presentation organization and finished product, I felt that I could have been a more organized. I knew about my topic because I had personal experience, yet that’s far different than being able to explain it clearly. I felt that I failed to encourage people to try the sport of sailing. Some of the audience may have been interested in trying it, but based upon the response I received after from my audience, some were afraid to try it instead. If I had taken more time thinking about the goal of my speech, to educate and persuade, then I may have organized my presentation differently. I should have utilized the speech organization methods that I learned in public speaking class to better convey my message

Team interpreting

As a team interpreter, did you feel supported? Yes. I interpreted twice for this project. Once for Katoria Carter while she presented about money saving ideas and then another time for Jennifer Black when she presented her topic, Asexuality. Both presentations were challenging for me for different reasons. Katoria’s project challenged me in terms of the volume of information and the speed at which I was receiving it. Understanding the concept of asexuality in terms of the types of romance that exist was a challenge as well. Being sure that those concepts were signed accurately was a team effort. I consulted with the presenter beforehand as well as my interpreting team to be sure that I was on the right track. My team for the Asexuality presentation was Melanie Moore. My team for Katoria’s presentation was Amber Granville. Both team interpreters were able to give me a feed when I needed one. I had informed then ahead of time that I would look at them if I needed a sign or concept. They were there for me every time I looked.

What went well? I felt that I was able to convey the content of each presentation clearly and accurately.

What did you learn about yourself as a team interpreter? I learned that my expectations of a team may not be the same as others expectations. This was something I learned recently outside of this project working within the community. I realized that as students we are very enthusiastic about being sure that we are supportive to our team and that we feel supported. When a person is more experienced, they may feel more relaxed about the situation. They may not realize that the other team member may need more interaction and communication beforehand. Learning this made me realize that I wasn’t very supportive beforehand during this project when I was the support interpreter. I did pre-conference with my team on the day of the presentation, but I could have contacted them the day before. I didn’t make myself available in that way. Another student, Melanie Moore showed me that when she was my support team. She contacted me a few days before hand offering assistance if I needed anything. It felt good and I realized that I could have and should have done the same for my team.

How did preparation (or lack thereof) impact your work? Having the presentations ahead of time was helpful because I was able to be comfortable with the concepts provided. Conferencing with my support team made me feel more comfortable during both presentations. Being clear on how you should feed your team and how you would prefer your feeds is comforting. Being able to communicate to your team in an open way about your work and your signals is key to being successful. I told my team that I would look them in the eye if I needed a feed. I also let them know that if I paused for too long that I would need one key concept to keep my going if I lost track.

These kind of preparations are important to the success of the interpretation for all consumers involved.

Money Saving Ideas Presentation
Asexuality Presentation- Cold interpreting

Deaf Consumer Reflection

As a mock Deaf consumer, how did you feel? Having earbuds in with white noise cranked all the way up wasn’t equivalent to the Deaf experience but helped to cancel out the presenter’s voice. I did note that while most of the time I was unable to hear anything from the presenter, there were moments that the white noise in my ears would get softer and I could hear a little bit. What I could hear was only bits of words that I couldn’t recognize and it distracted me. It caused me to think about how hearing aids or cochlear implants serve the Deaf. I wondered how they could focus like that on the visual language as well as perhaps hearing parts of the spoken language. I gained a new found respect for the Deaf. I have trouble with focus when there is ambient noise or even a visual distraction. Being able to stay focused on what is important while having so many distractions is a skill that I do not have in my arsenal.

Does this give you any insight into possible perspectives of Deaf participants? I noticed that if the presenter was animated or moved around a lot that I wanted to look over to see the “action”. I looked but then I lost the full message that I would receive from the interpreter. It made me think again about how important the placement of interpreters in relation to the hearing consumer.

How will this impact your future practice? I’ll be even more conscious of how I place myself when I interpret. I’ll also be even more conscious of my prosody. If the hearing presenter or consumer is animated I’ll want to reflect that in my interpretation.