Language Justice Curriculum

Chapter 7: Role & Ethics II

Exercises

Welcome + Ice Breaker – 10 minutes
CPC Language Justice Interpreter Toolkit Videos – 60 minutes
Spheres of Influence – 30 minutes
Close – 10 minutes

Objectives
  • To further explore the role of the interpreter and the impact of the interpreter’s decisions
  • To use the CPC Language Justice Interpreter Toolkit videos to discuss situations where the role of the interpreter may be put to the test
Materials Needed
Directions

WELCOME + ICE BREAKER – 10 minutes

Step One:

  • Facilitators welcome participants to the practice session.
  • Facilitators review the goals of the practice session: To further explore the role of the interpreter and the impact of the interpreter’s decisions, and to use CPC’s Language Justice Interpreter Toolkit videos to discuss situations where the role of the interpreter may be put to the test.

Step Two:

  • Facilitators hand out paper and pens.
  • Facilitators ask participants: What word comes to mind when you hear the word «interpreter»?
  • Facilitators ask participants to write one word on their piece of paper.
  • Facilitators ask each participant to put the paper into the basket, bowl, or hat.
  • Facilitators pass the basket around and ask everyone to pull out one piece of paper.
  • Participants take turns reading the word or phrase out loud for the group to hear.

Now that the participants have shared what an interpreter represents to them, the group will have an opportunity to discuss the role of the interpreter using some videos from the CPC Language Justice Interpreter Toolkit.

CPC LANGUAGE JUSTICE INTERPRETER TOOLKIT VIDEOS – 60 minutes

Notes for facilitators: Each of these scenarios offers a learning point about interpretation and the role of the interpreter. The set of questions listed below enables the group to gradually see the role of the interpreter and the impact of their decisions.
  • Facilitators will use the video «On & Off the Mic – El papel de [email protected] intérpretes» to discuss the role of the interpreter (https://goo.gl/v3akbZ).
  • Facilitators will play each of the four scenarios in the video, one by one. After watching each scenario, facilitators will lead the group in a discussion using a set of questions.

Scenario #1 – School counselor

Learning point: Do people have the right to lie?

  • What just happened? What did you see?
  • What did the interpreter do?
  • What is the impact or consequence of that action?
  • What would you do? What is the impact or consequence of your possible action?
  • Ask for three volunteers to act out the scenario again.

Scenario #2 – Attorney offends client

Learning point: Do people have the right to offend each other?

  • What just happened? What did you see?
  • What did the interpreter do?
  • What is the impact or consequence of that action?
  • What is the impact or consequence of not interpreting what the attorney said?
  • Ask for three volunteers to act out the scenario again.

Scenario #3 – Client offends attorney

Learning point: Do people have the right to offend each other? Who has the right to offend who?

  • What just happened? What did you see?
  • What did the interpreter do?
  • What is the impact or consequence of that action?
  • What is the impact or consequence of not interpreting what the client said?
  • Ask for three volunteers to act out the scenario again.

Scenario #4 – Police and U visa

Learning Point: What is the difference between the interpreter and advocate role?

  • What just happened? What did you see?
  • What did the interpreter do?
  • What is the impact or consequence of that action?
  • What is the impact or consequence if the interpreter interjected and shared the information that she knew (for example, information about a domestic violence shelter, the possibility of a U visa, etc.)?
  • Ask for three volunteers to act out the scenario again.

After watching and discussing all of the videos, facilitators may also want to ask the following questions:

  • How did the positioning of the interpreter affect the conversation?
  • How did eye contact, or lack thereof, affect the conversation?
  • Who do you think the interpreter is interpreting for?

Facilitators may want to say something like: «Being an interpreter means that you interpret what is being said. You convey the message from one person to the next. You are there for the message. Many people may think that being an interpreter or being a social justice interpreter means helping people, advocating for people, or making sure people get the best result. We are not saying that you can’t do anything to help or to advocate. Of course you can. But when you are on the mic, it may not be the best time to do so. We invite you to think about it as having different spheres of influence, which leads us to our next activity.»

SPHERES OF INFLUENCE – 30 minutes

Step One:

  • Facilitators divide participants into four small groups.
  • Facilitators assign each group one of the scenarios in the video and ask the groups to discuss what the interpreter could have done before or after each scenario.
  • Facilitators give the groups 5-10 minutes to discuss.

Step Two:

  • Facilitators ask the groups to come back together. Each small group has an opportunity to share their ideas with the larger group.
  • It’s not all up to the interpreter; facilitators may want to ask:
    • What could be done at an organizational level?
    • What could be done at a community level?
    • What could be done at a global level?

Before moving to the closing, facilitators may want to say something like, «Again, we aren’t saying people can’t advocate, help, or give information. We are saying that the best time to offer help is not while you are actively interpreting.»

CLOSE – 10 minutes

  • Facilitators ask participants to stand in a circle. (Facilitators can also invite folks to hold hands if it feels comfortable.)
  • Facilitators ask participants to take three big breaths.
  • Facilitators ask participants: What word comes to mind when you hear the word interpreter after this session?
  • Participants take turns saying the word out loud for the group to hear.