Attributes for Success (C110)

The American Sign Language-English Interpreter program (C110) at George Brown College’s School of Deaf and Deafblind Studies assists students in establishing their careers as Interpreters. Through offering this program for several years, George Brown has identified key attributes of students who have become successful graduates and practicing Interpreters. We believe these attributes are signals for success and can be grouped into three categories:

  • COMMUNICATION SKILLS
  • INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
  • ATTITUDE AND PERSPECTIVE

For each attribute, we’ve provided examples of how they may be applied while studying in the program and working in the field. As you review the list, consider how your own personal strengths align with these success factors.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Key attributes

Examples of how attributes are demonstrated

Excellent language skills

Balanced bilingual skills in ASL and English

Mastery in understanding culture and language

Respect for and sensitivity to a multicultural environment

Sense of commitment to both communities (Deaf and interpreting)

Able to articulate one’s ideas appropriately within a given context, suitably conveying thoughts and discourse. This includes developing the skills to effectively compare and contrast elements of ASL and English.

As a bilingual and bicultural Interpreter (one who is fluent in both American Sign Language (ASL) and English and who understands both the Deaf and North American mainstream cultures and communities) you will find the quality of your interpretations is enhanced by your communication skills. This will assist you in achieving message equivalency between ASL and English.


INTERPERSONAL SKILLS

Key attributes

Examples of how attributes are demonstrated

Comfortable exhibiting abilities in front of others

As a student, you are actively participating in classroom and lab activities that further develop your skills. Since ASL is a visual language, you will develop a comfort level showing signing and interpreting abilities in front of others.

As an Interpreter, you will be comfortable and look forward to assignments in a variety of settings.

Comfortable in groups

Excellent teamwork skills

Superior interpersonal and intrapersonal skills

During the program, you will be able to work well with peers on group assignments and present findings to the whole class.

As a student working with peers, you are able to effectively problem solve and negotiate work distribution when engaged in a peer activity.

In the field, you will welcome opportunities to work with a variety of people in contexts such as conferences and workshop settings, educational environments and community-based events.

As an Interpreter, your assignments require you to negotiate access and business practices with both consumers and colleagues.

Patient

While in the program, you will appreciate that being an Interpreter is a skills-based profession that requires time to develop language and interpreting proficiencies.

As an Interpreter, you will be able to put others at ease by demonstrating patience with processes and achieving articulation of thoughts.

Aware of our role and behaviour on the perception/experience of consumers involved

As a student, you will gain appreciation of power imbalances and the importance of your role as an ally. You will be able to apply this understanding during your practicum.

Awareness and adherence to the role of an ethical and professional Interpreter garners respect in the communities to which you provide services, ultimately leading to more offers of assignments.


ATTITUDE AND PERSPECTIVE


Key attributes

Examples of how attributes are demonstrated

Flexible

As a student, you will be able to handle changes requested by the program or communities where you are practicing your skills.

In the field, you will be able to accommodate last-minute consumer requests or unplanned events. This will increase opportunities for enhanced consumer satisfaction and future employment assignments.

Able to handle stress (physically and mentally)

You will be able to interpret or use ASL when performing in front of peers, or when being recorded on video. You will also be able to effectively schedule your time to finish assignments and tests, and meet practicum expectations.

As an Interpreter, you will be able to manage assignments and logistics while successfully meeting consumer needs and demands.

Able to think quickly

Good analytical skills

Your critical thinking skills in the classroom will allow you to apply theories and interpreting processes to class activities and lab work.

Simultaneous interpreting requires you to be able to take in a message, process for meaning and relay that information in a different format, while still attending to incoming information.

In the field, you’ll use critical analytical skills by evaluating the environment, assessing the audience and processing messages for meaning in order to determine an equivalent meaning in your interpretation.

Aware of biases

You will be aware of your personal biases and how they create barriers to learning about and accepting other cultures and languages.

As an Interpreter, you will be able to remain neutral and unbiased throughout assignments so that you can allow for a faithful interpretation.

Confidence

Confidence is needed to be willing to try activities when prompted by faculty and community members.

As an Interpreter, possessing strong self-confidence, without displaying arrogance, will enhance your opportunities for work and interpreting abilities as consumers will feel secure in your poise and their belief in your interpreting proficiency.

Creative

Course assignments will provide you with opportunities to apply your understanding of the material by presenting or representing content in a variety of ways.

When issues arise during an assignment, you will look for opportunities to enhance your problem-solving skills and build expertise in your field.

Curious

As a student, you will proactively ask questions of faculty to understand the evolution of the communities and the field. This will help build a strong understanding of your role.

Interpreters need to be well rounded and knowledgeable to understand the variety of contextual variables involved in interpreting interactions.

Desire and commitment to lifelong learning

Ambitious / Goal-oriented

Self-motivated

As a student, you will access college and program resources, as well as external sources, to enhance your learning and understanding of the field.

In the program, you will regularly seek opportunities outside of the classroom to practice and improve by attending community functions, volunteering events, etc.

As an Interpreter, you will take advantage of professional development opportunities. You will recognize that furthering your education enhances the ability to synthesize contextual variables while interpreting.

As an Interpreter, you will consider yourself as a life-long learner who regularly seeks professional development opportunities to enhance interpreting proficiencies.

Empathic

In the program, you will develop an understanding of the Deaf experience as a collective. This will improve your ability to understand and support peers while being challenged by program demands.

As an Interpreter, you will be able to see another person’s perspective, which will enable you to provide a more accurate interpretation of the person’s discourse.

Willing to work hard

As a student, you will enhance your emerging ASL and interpreting skills by regularly investing extra time and effort to practice and improve.

As an Interpreter, you will continually strive to provide superior interpretations by preparing for assignments, analyzing work post-assignment, looking for ways to enhance abilities and mentoring student interpreters. This effort will lead you to become more skilled and knowledgeable as an Interpreter and in your profession.

Outgoing

As a student, you will have the ability to engage and work with peers. Your outgoing nature will also be displayed in your ability to show interest while on practicum with supervisors.

As an Interpreter, you will regularly be seen to demonstrate interpersonal attributes and friendliness towards colleagues and consumers.

Open-minded

As a student, your willingness to accept constructive feedback regarding your abilities from both faculty and peers is essential. Understanding the differing points of view of classmates and faculty will aid in your ability to understand alternative experiences or viewpoints.

As an Interpreter, the willingness to accept new or differing opinions and experiences from consumers aids in interpretation by enabling us to understand the message from their perspective. This would also allow one to incorporate feedback from the interpreting team and the consumers.

Able to recognize one’s limitations

As a student, you will seek out and utilize extra supports as you need them.

In the field, you will know which assignments to accept based on your skills and experience.

Able to self-analyze

As a student, you will conduct self-assessments of interpreting or ASL performances to identify areas of success and where you have challenges that need to be addressed.

As an Interpreter, you will be able to determine message equivalency during an interpretation. This will enable you to immediately correct errors in interpretation.

Self-reliant and reliable

In the program, you will demonstrate your ability to problem solve and to look for independent means to supplement your learning outside of the classroom.

In the field, you will likely be among the majority of Interpreters who are sole-proprietors/independent contractors. If so, you will need to provide your services effectively without relying on others. Consumers will appreciate your reputation for providing accurate interpretations and attendance to assignments when booked.

Able to apply life experiences

You will be able to apply your life experiences to appreciate context when applying interpreting processes to events and scenarios.

As an Interpreter, your prior “world” knowledge and experiences will aid in your ability to appreciate discourse at a deeper level of contextual understanding. Your experiences with relationships and systems will assist you in:

  • communicating with a variety of people at various levels of authority
  • navigating or being familiar with society, systems, processes and cultures
  • reading between the lines to understand underlying messages
 

Maturity and responsibility / sense of professionalism

As a student, you will be able to meet program demands and adhere to timelines.

As an Interpreter, you will be a professional who adheres to the Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct.