“It’s like I am not really there“: Ethical reasoning skills and the interpreting profession
Since its beginning, the sign language interpreting profession has made moral and justice claims as its raison d’etre. That is, interpreters claim to provide access to deaf people. Interpreters also claim to make decisions that claim we can empower Deaf people. Further, interpreters claim to be allies, and of recent distinction, we have raised concerns for social justice. However, when comparing our justice claims to our typical discourse norms, interpreters appear to fall short. In an earlier presentation, these discourse norms (i.e., use of heuristics) were highlighted as theoretically problematic. In this presentation, we consider the data behind this claim.
For decades, the Center for the Study of Ethical Development has been collecting data on how people from around the world respond to an instrument that measures moral development and ethical reasoning. This measure, The Defining Issues Test (DIT) uses ethical scenarios in combination with a rating and ranking scheme to measure a respondent’s justice-reasoning, or the ability to reason beyond the conventions and to consider cooperative, collaborative, and shareable ideals.
The DIT was administered to a cohort of 25 sign language interpreters in the US. This presentation reports on the DIT data that suggests that our heuristics do indeed impact our ethical reasoning. Normative data for different age, educational, and professionals also show that interpreters may lag behind those individuals they work with (doctors, lawyers, etc.).
A note from ASLIA-Q and ASLIA-NSW
These two ethics presentations by Robyn Dean build on each other. The first one raises awareness around the interpreting profession’s habits of speech or heuristics. Although the argument is research based, including qualitative data from interpreters, it remains a theoretical argument. The second presentation expands the theoretical argument and adds an additional layer: data from a standardised instrument that quantitatively measures ethical reasoning. Even though these presentations build on each other, they are stand-alone presentations. It is not necessary to attend the first to understand the second.
Participants will be given an opportunity to take the DIT to receive your personal ethical reasoning score in a confidential manner. Details will be made available upon registration for either session.
Registrations close: 16th May 2021