Shira’s Story: Role of Interpreters

Video Description/Transcript


A white woman has blonde wavy hair pulled back behind her head. She wears a blue singlet and black-rimmed glasses. A long thin chain hangs around her neck with three small trinkets attached.

TEXT: Shira Grabelsky – the role of interpreters

A thick green rectangle border frames Shira and the NDC logo.

Shira stands outdoors near a small waterfall on a rocky stream. She uses sign language.


For interpreters who are currently working in the field of education, I want to remind you that it is important to be mindful of the deaf students autonomy. Let them make decisions for themselves. For example, growing up, many of my interpreters were fluent and culturally sensitive, but if I looked away from them they would insist that I keep my eyes on them.

But that was my education and I could decide for myself whether or not I wanted to watch the interpreter. Educational interpreters have a fine line to walk. Knowing how to best advocate for the student while also maintaining boundaries. This role is often quite complicated, but one of the ways to help develop that student’s autonomy is by keeping them informed. Point out to them the dynamics of the world around them in their context and then let the student make the decisions for themselves.


The NDC logo. Black text beneath it reads

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Topic(s): Interpreting
Type of Resource: Videos
Useful For: Interpreters

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