Developing Confident and Competent DeafBlind Interpreters

Krystle Chambers, Kiarah Moore, and Chevon Nicole Ramey

Abstract

DeafBlind interpreting is a sub-field in the signed language interpreting profession which has yet to be fully developed and therefore requires further research, data collection, and exploration. The lack of available qualified interpreters is a common plight within the DeafBlind community. The authors of this chapter will address the major reasons for this disparity: the insufficiency of education specific to DeafBlind interpreting and the lack of confidence of interpreters in their ability to accurately interpret for DeafBlind consumers. The authors will focus on equipping interpreters with the knowledge of various modes of communication, cultural attributes, and interpreting strategies specific to DeafBlind settings. A comparison of DeafBlind interpreting and visual signed language interpreting is given in order to depict the key differences. Furthermore, the authors will supply interpreters with tips, tools, and coping strategies to enhance self and perceived confidence, aiding in the quality of the interpreter’s performance and longevity.

Key words: DeafBlind interpreter, DeafBlind, Confidence, Competence

When one thinks about signed language interpreting a picture comes to mind of an individual who is Deaf, an individual who is hearing and speaking, and an interpreter who provides equal access to the communication occurring between the Deaf and hearing individuals. A picture that may not come to mind is a DeafBlind individual communicating to a hearing person through an interpreter. This article looks at that picture of interpreting between a DeafBlind individual and a hearing person. DeafBlind interpreting is a field of signed language interpreting that is currently being researched and developed. The information in this chapter was compiled for use in curriculum that interpreter education and training programs, interpreting workshop presenters, and individual interpreters and interpreting students can draw upon to prepare professional development in regard to DeafBlind interpreting.

The information presented here includes various modes of communication used within the DeafBlind community, how DeafBlind interpreting differs from visual signed language interpreting, how confidence and competence may influence each other in DeafBlind interpreting, and various coping mechanisms one can use when interpreting. Again, this compilation may be implemented in the development of curriculum focusing on DeafBlind interpreting.

It is important to note that the information given is a generalization, to know any specifics about the DeafBlind community in your area it would be of great benefit to reach out to your local community to learn of their nuances. Also, throughout this article the term DeafBlind is the cultural term used to identify an individual with a dual-sensory loss (vision and hearing).

Communication Modes Within the DeafBlind Community

When working with the DeafBlind community it is beneficial to be aware of the various communication modes used within the community. The various communication modes include, but are not limited to, tactile (one or two handed) communication, tracking, Protactile signing, haptics, and low/limited vision signing. One of the reasons for the various modes of communication is in part due to the various ages of onset the DeafBlind individuals experience the dual-sensory loss and to the stage the dual-sensory loss. In this section, there is a brief overview of what these various modes of communication entail.

Tactile

When interacting or interpreting for a DeafBlind individual who does not use sight or sound to receive communication a mode that can be used to communicate is by using tactile signing. Tactile signing can use one or both hands to communicate when the DeafBlind individual places their hands on the back of the signer’s hand(s) to receive and understand the signs being communicated through the movement and touch (Crossroads, 2018). This mode of communication can also be used by an individual that is losing the use of their sight to not miss what is being communicated visually. This can be helpful when the individual knows their sight is diminishing and learning to receive communication through tactile means with visual assistance (Mesch, 2013).

When using tactile signing, it is typical that a DeafBlind individual has a dominant receiving hand and this dominant hand may or may not be the dominant hand used for other various tasks or be the dominant signing hand (Mesch, 2013). In a scenario where the DeafBlind individual receives the signs with the right hand this would mean the signer/interpreter would need to sign left hand dominant. If the DeafBlind individual received in their left hand the signer/interpreter would need to sign right hand dominant. If the DeafBlind individual preferred to use both hands to receive communication then the signer/interpreter would face the DeafBlind individual while signing (Mesch, 2013). Since another individual’s hand are on the backs of the signer’s hands some signs may need to be altered due to the physical limitations, space limitations, and where the signs contact the body (Collins, 2004).

As the signs are produced, it is important to make sure the signs and fingerspelling are clear and using distinct motions so as to avoid the signs “mushing” together (Smith, 2002). When signing try to not move your hand or body to meet the signs, instead bring the signs to the head or body as one normally would to avoid miscommunications with the DeafBlind individual. “The placement and orientation of your hands is important for meaning (e.g., think about the signs meaning “father,” “mother,” “fine,” “Russia,” “taste,” “sick”)” (Smith, 2002, p. 87). Remember to keep the signs open and having a consistent flow to be as clear as possible. If the signer/interpreter notices the hands from the DeafBlind individual are resting heavier on the back of the signer/interpreter’s hands one can mention it to the DeafBlind individual (Smith, 2002). It is better to mention it to avoid excess tiring from the extra weight on the back of one’s hands.

Tracking

Tracking is another way to communicate when a DeafBlind individual uses a signed language to communicate and whose sight is affected by a changing field of vision. The signer/interpreter communicates by signing a speed that is understood by the DeafBlind individual while the DeafBlind individual holds or touches the signer/interpreter’s wrist or forearm to better help visually “track” or follow the signs (Rochester Institute of Technology Libraries, 2018). There are not many modifications needed to use the tracking method, the signer/interpreter just needs to be aware that the sign production might feel different due to the weight or pull from the DeafBlind individual’s hand holding the wrist or forearm.

Protactile

A method of communication that is currently being researched, developed, and used by many DeafBlind individuals is Protactile. According to Granda and Nuccio (2018) Protactile communication has been used by the DeafBlind community for many years but had never been officially recognized and named. Protactile started receiving recognition and research when the DeafBlind community noticed the various ways a DeafBlind individual would communicate without the sole use of American Sign Language (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). Granda and Nuccio (2018) have collaborated and developed research that distinguishes what linguistic markers are used in Protactile communication. The research shows that there are seven principles involved with Protactile communication which are contact space, reciprocity, protactile perspective, SASS (size and shape specifiers), exceptions, information source, and tactile imagery (Granda & Nuccio, 2018).

The seven different principles help bring an understanding on how to communicate using Protactile. The principle of contact space is used when one needs to substitute the “air space” used in American Sign Language to a space with physical contact (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). The “air space” in particular where contact space is beneficial is when using “reference markers,” “role shifting,” and “emphasis and emotions” (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). Instead of pointing for references or using an eye gaze for role shifting one should establish a contact space for these concepts for clearer communication. To communicate emphasis and emotions in a Protactile way one can sign the emotions or show the emotions with their hands and for emphasis one can bring that into the contact space (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). An example of bringing concepts into contact space can be used with the concept of yawning. One could use the sign for yawn, one could show the mouth open and closing by opening and closing one’s hand on the arm or leg of the DeafBlind individual, or one could show it by making one’s hand go limp on the arm or leg of the DeafBlind individual (Granda & Nuccio, 2018).

The next principle used in Protactile is reciprocity. When communicating in a Protactile environment it is reciprocal, meaning everyone should express and receive communication in the same way regardless of the vision levels of the individuals involved (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). In Protactile environments it is the norm to communicate through tactile means. If individuals with sight are only willing to receive communication visually and the DeafBlind individual uses tactile communication to receive information then this would not be a reciprocal environment and can “lead to an environment where vision is privileged” (Granda & Nuccio, 2018, p. 7). Therefore, it is not important how much one can see but to remember to communicate reciprocally (Granda & Nuccio, 2018).

Protactile perspective is the third principle of Protactile communication. Having a Protactile perspective is important when needing to establish classifiers, using demonstrations, or mapping with the DeafBlind individual (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). If time permits, it is best to establish or create the signs with the DeafBlind individual for clear communication. An example of using classifiers that are in contact with the individual is by setting up the classifier on the arm or leg of the individual receiving the communication. Another way to use a classifier could be for the individual receiving the signs to form the classifier and the signer shows the action using that classifier, such as the receiver forms a “5” handshape and the signer shows a small animal “running up the tree” by moving one’s fingers up the arm and to the fingers of the receiver (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). Demonstrating how something is done can also be used in a similar way as the above describes using the individual receiving the signs for classifiers. One can show how to cook pancakes by using the receiver’s upturned hand as “the pan”, then the signer “pours” the batter on to “the pan” and waits until it “bubbles” (drumming the fingertips on the hand representing the pan), when it bubbles flip the pancake (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). With mapping it is important to remember to use that contact space. Instead of pointing or describing where to go provide a tactile map. This can be done by using the hand, arm, or leg of the receiver. If one is showing the layout of a room one can use the palm/hand of the receiver as the floorplan by placing/signing objects on the hand as it lays in the visual space of the room (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). Again, the important thing with having a Protactile perspective is by working together to establish and create signs that can be understood in a tactile way.

The fourth principle in Protactile communication is SASS (size and shape specifiers). This concept is used in signed languages but it uses the “air space” whereas in Protactile one needs to use “contact space” (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). When signing the size or shape of an object where it comes in contact with the receiver will make the communication clearer. One can use the hand, arm, or leg of the receiver or one can even use a table that is nearby or the chair one sits in. If one is talking about a fish that was caught recently then one could use the leg or arm of the receiver to indicate the length of the fish and then indicate where the head/fins are, then one can describe the color of the fish on the arm or leg of the receiver (Granda & Nuccio, 2018).

Exceptions are the fifth principle in Protactile communication. This principle was developed in the event the first principle of contact is not physically safe or is in conflict with cultural norms (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). An example of an exception of when direct contact may not be conducive to the communication is when the signer/interpreter is at a medical appointment for the DeafBlind individual the doctor is describing an upcoming eye surgery. It would not be safe for the signer/interpreter to make contact with the receiver’s eye and describe/show what will happen during the surgery. Instead one would indicate which eye will have the surgery and then use the hand of the receiver as the “eye” and explain the surgery to the eye on that hand.

The sixth principle of Protactile communication, information source, states that “when sharing information, be sure to include the source of the information” (Granda & Nuccio, 2018, p. 12). When communicating in a Protactile environment it is important to include the source of information that is being provided. Granda and Nuccio (2018) provide an example of this by explaining that when you are communicating with a DeafBlind individual and you receive a text stating a friend will be arriving soon inform the individual that a text was received by clearly stating the friend texted saying will be arriving soon. One could also bring the phone to the hand of the receiver to indicate that is where the information came from. It does not matter how the information is communicated, only that the visual information is conveyed tactually.

Tactile imagery is the seventh and final principle of Protactile communication. In American Sign Language storytelling is an important part of the culture and communication but all the signs and facial expressions occur in the “air space” which is not conducive to the DeafBlind community (Granda & Nuccio, 2018). Protactile provides a way to tell a story or describe an experience one had through tactile imagery. For example, if you were describing walking along the beach and a wave came and swept you out to sea one can show this by using the arm of the receiver as “the beach” and the signer shows “the wave” splashing against the arm. Then show a “person” walking on the beach by signing on the receiver’s arm. When the “wave” hits “the beach” and “person” and then sweeps the person out to sea show that by the “wave” grabbing the “person” from the arm and sliding off the arm.

These seven principles described above are what guide Protactile communication. It is important to remember that information is clear when one can provide it through tactile means. Avoiding the “air space” and instead using the “contact space” to communicate will reduce the miscommunications and provide a clearer picture of what is occurring.

Haptics

Haptics, or haptic signals, are a way to provide information about emotions, facial expressions, body language, the layout of a room or the surrounding environment, and any other visual or auditory information to an individual (Senses Australia, 2018). Haptics are communication signals that a signer/interpreter communicates by “drawing on” or touching the receiver’s upper back, arm, or sometimes leg/thigh (Nielsen, 2010). An example of this haptic communication would be if a DeafBlind individual is joking with someone and the interpreter communicates to the DeafBlind individual that the person is laughing by providing a scratching motion (the haptic signal for laughter) on the DeafBlind individuals back (Nielsen, 2010). This is a way to provide the visual information for the DeafBlind individual to know that the person understood and is laughing at the joke.

There are haptic signals developed by the Danish Association of the DeafBlind (Nielsen, 2010) that one can use or it is possible for the haptic signal to be developed between the DeafBlind individual and the interpreter that better matches the situation at hand. A haptic signal that is often used for emergency situations that requires one to leave urgently is to draw a big “X” on the back of the DeafBlind individual (Smith, 2002). This haptic signal informs the DeafBlind individual that one needs to leave now and once safety is reached the interpreter/signer will explain the situation.

Haptics can also be used when the DeafBlind individual and the interpreter are conversing by the interpreter keeping or tapping a hand on the knee, if sitting, or on the upper arm/shoulder, if standing. This haptic signal is a way to inform the individual that the interpreter is “paying attention” or “listening” (Smith, 2002). If one decides to use the tapping method, it is important to remember not to over tap the hand, the tapping should mirror a head nod. If one decides to keep contact by not tapping the hand and instead keeping a constant contact then try to avoid resting the hand on the DeafBlind individual’s knee or arm, this resting/relaxed contact could be misunderstood as being tired or not interested in the conversation (Smith, 2002).

Again, haptics is a means to provide information about the environment that surrounds DeafBlind individuals. Haptics only adds to the communication and the language being used to provide the visual information, it is not a language itself (Nielsen, 2010).

Low/Limited Vision Signing

There are some DeafBlind individuals that have low/limited vision that prefer to receive information and communication visually when possible rather than by a form of tactile signing. Interpreting or signing to an individual with low/limited vision is not to different than signing to an individual who is sighted. With low/limited vision it is important to find out how large or small the signing space one needs to keep the signs in. For individuals with tunnel vision, it is important to remember to keep the signs within that “tunnel” because everything signed outside of that “tunnel” could be missed (Smith, 2002). It helps to remember to sign in the area just below one’s chin so that the DeafBlind individual can see both the signs and the facial expressions within the field of vision (Smith, 2002).

It is also important to remember to be aware of the clothing one wears when signing to an individual with low/limited vision. When deciding on what to wear it is good to keep in mind that the clothing be a solid color that does not reflect light to cause a possible glare, colors such as black, dark/forest green, dark blue, or golden yellow are generally preferred (Smith, 2002). Also, keep in mind that the upper arm may need to be covered if one’s skin tone is lighter in complexion due to light reflecting off the skin. As with other interpreting assignments, remember to choose clothing colors that offer a contrast to one’s skin tone (Smith, 2002).

Lighting, along with clothing, is also something that needs to be considered to provide a signing environment that can be successfully received by the DeafBlind individual. It is beneficial for the DeafBlind individual with low/limited vision for the interpreter to have the light on the hands and face to illuminate the signs and facial expressions. A lighting situation that is important to remember is overhead/ceiling lights. In this lighting environment, it is best that the interpreter and the DeafBlind individual are at the same level rather than the interpreter standing causing the DeafBlind individual to look up at an angle to see the signs, this can result in the individual having to look into the overhead/ceiling light (Smith, 2002). When considering the lighting in the environment it would also be best to take into consideration the background, especially behind the interpreter. It is best for the interpreter to avoid positioning one’s self in front of a window or anything producing a bright light that can cause a glare or being in front of a wall or object with a busy pattern, this can make it difficult to clearly see the signs (Smith, 2002).

With keeping the modes of communication, signing space, clothing, lighting and other considerations in mind when interpreting for a DeafBlind individual, remember that each assignment and each individual may prefer or have unique visual modifications. Mentioned above are suggestions offered to guide what one should consider, but overall it is a case by case situation (Smith, 2002). The more one interprets for the DeafBlind community, the more one will develop a sense of how to make the communication effective.

DeafBlind Interpreting Compared to Visual Signed Language Interpreting

When interpreting for an individual who uses a visual mode of a signed language, one will interpret the auditory information, but when interpreting for a DeafBlind individual one must also include visual information. When at an assignment with a DeafBlind individual, one relays the visual environment that will orient the individual to the place, activity, mood, style, feeling, time, and patterns of the environment (Smith, 2002).

As information is given it is important to remember to stay neutral and provide facts rather than giving in to bias. One can describe a room by giving the size in relation to how many steps it would take to cross the room. One can also describe the room by how many tables are set up, and also describe the table by shape and how many people can sit at it. These types of orientation help set the place, mood, style, and feelings. When one notices trends or why some people go to certain places over others, this type of information needs to be shared with the DeafBlind individual when possible. This information helps orient the DeafBlind to the time and patterns of the environment surrounding them.

One may wonder “how do I know what to describe or not?” A basic rule of thumb is to describe what you see and/or hear. As stated by Stewart et al. (2004) “an effective interpreter for deafblind will inform them about relevant auditory and visual conditions” (p. 83). To describe places, think about what is most striking about the environment and why this place was picked as the venue for the event (Smith, 2002). When describing people that are present, look to see about how many are there, what they are wearing (keeping this fact based, rather than providing opinions), what the people look like, and who is talking with whom (Smith, 2002).

At a DeafBlind interpreting assignment, the roles of the interpreter might be slightly modified than what may occur at an assignment with visual sign language. If there is a document being passed around, the interpreter would need to include what is on that document by either interpreting the document or describing what the document entails. One may also need to arrange the environment to accommodate the unique situation that DeafBlind interpreting evokes (Smith, 2002).

Another possible role that differs from a visual signed language assignment, is guiding the DeafBlind individual from one location to another. This may occur if there was a last-minute change to the agenda and the participants in a meeting need to relocate or at a medical appointment and the medical staff need to change which patient is in the room. The guiding role typically falls to the responsibility of the support service provider, but if some situations where the support service provider is not present it could then fall to the interpreter (Smith, 2002). If the situation were to arise that the interpreter needed to guide the DeafBlind individual, then it would be in the best interest of all involved for the interpreter to have a basic understanding of how to guide. When guiding a DeafBlind individual remember to pay attention to the surroundings and where the DeafBlind individual is stepping, take your time, try to be consistent in how you guide for individuals, and when you are unsure of what to do communicate with the DeafBlind individual (Smith, 2002). Before one begins to guide an individual ask if there is a preferred way to be guided. Some DeafBlind individuals prefer to hold on to the shoulder of the guide, some prefer to hold the arm right above the shoulder of the guide, others with guide dogs sometime prefer to have the dog follow the guide rather than have direct contact between the guide and the DeafBlind individual. While guiding it is helpful to communicate when something in the environment changes such as a curb, stairs, blocked path, or the amount of people in the vicinity. Again, the interpreter is typically not the individual guiding but if the situation occurs then it is helpful for the interpreter to know the basics.

There are several differences between DeafBlind interpreting and visual signed language interpreting but overall the goal is to provide access to the communication occurring. There may be several modifications that need to happen to provide that communication access, but once those modifications have been made then communication can occur.

The Link Between Confidence and Competence

Currently, only a scarce number of interpreter training programs offer courses dedicated to teaching students about DeafBlind Interpreting. Course descriptions from multiple programs that offer a course on DeafBlind interpreting show that the majority of these courses only teach the basic requirements of DeafBlind interpreters. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most interpreter training programs that do not offer a full course dedicated to DeafBlind interpreting only touch on this topic during higher level/special topics interpreting courses.

In order to gain a more sufficient amount of knowledge and skills about the subfield of DeafBlind interpreting, interpreters must seek out trainings and other types of learning opportunities on their own. There are a few organizations that provide resources and trainings for those interested in DeafBlind interpreting (e.g., Deaf Blind Interpreter Institute; DeafBlind Service Center) and can be accessed online. But there is a significant lack of hands-on face-to-face workshop opportunities across the country. Without exposure and more options for learning about DeafBlind interpreting, there will continue to be a scarcity of interpreters qualified and willing to work with DeafBlind consumers.

Interpreters, whether they work in spoken language or signed language, tend to be curious people who are interested in a variety of topics (Obst, 2010). In addition, interpreters interact with a wide variety of people on a daily basis. Therefore, an interpreter must be agreeable, friendly, and adaptable. These traits are even more crucial for DeafBlind interpreters to possess. Due to the unique and varied communication needs of DeafBlind consumers, “interpreters must be versatile and flexible” (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc., 2007). Also, the role of a DeafBlind interpreter can easily switch to that of a Support Service Provider depending on the needs and requests of the consumer.

Confidence has also been found to play an important role in the success of interpreters. Although there has not been research done specifically about DeafBlind interpreters and confidence, Shaw and Hughes (2006) noted that while studying an interpreting program, both students and faculty identified confidence as an important factor in learning to interpret as well as the main personal characteristic that needs to be further developed in students. This revelation begs the question of how to build confidence for DeafBlind interpreters.

There is an inextricable link between confidence and competence (Holland, Middleton, and Uys, 2012) in practice professions and the importance of confidence in interpreting has been noted by Shaw and Hughes (2006). The more knowledgeable a person is about something, the more likely they are to perform the task with a higher level of confidence. The more knowledgeable a person is about something, the more likely they are to perform the task with a higher level of confidence. In a study of occupational therapy students, Holland et al. (2012) found that at times, competence directly influenced confidence, and other times, lack of knowledge resulted in lack of confidence. Focused training and practice is the only way that a person can learn and improve upon a skill. Unfortunately, there currently are not many opportunities for interpreters interested in DeafBlind interpreting to improve upon their skills. Without these practice opportunities in the form of trainings, workshops, internships, etc., it is almost impossible to build the confidence and skills needed to successfully navigate the world of DeafBlind interpreting.

Self-Care Strategies for Interpreters working with DeafBlind Consumers

Interpreting is a taxing task, both mentally and physically. DeafBlind interpreting adds another layer to this already demanding job. It is important for DeafBlind interpreters to engage in self-care that caters to both their mental and physical loads.

One strategy for coping with the stress incurred from DeafBlind interpreting is seeking support from others. This support could come in the form of debriefing with colleagues (Crezee, Atkinson, Pask, Au, & Wong, 2015) or seeking structured supervision (Dean & Pollard, 2001). DeafBlind should be aware of when a team interpreter is necessary in order to give one another relief during longer more demanding assignments (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc., 2007). Interpreters could also benefit from being prepared prior to an assignment, having faith in some greater power, positive self-talk, trying to see things in perspective, reflecting, and/or journaling (Holland et al., 2012).

Other techniques that may be useful in stress management include becoming knowledgeable about stress, developing a healthy lifestyle, managing time, and creating a friendly social climate (Kushwaha, 2014). It is also important for interpreters to be aware of self-care practices that work best for them. These could include resting, taking breaks as needed, stretching, using good posture, exercising, or going to counseling. (Crezee et al., 2015; Zenizo, 2013).

Furthermore, interpreters should have strategies in place to prepare for difficult assignments. Although this particular method has yet to be studied in relation to interpreters, Carney, Cuddy, and Yap (2010) suggest that engaging in high-power, expansive poses before a stressful task can prepare an individual’s “mental and physiological systems to endure difficult and stressful situations, and perhaps to actually improve confidence and performance in [various] situations” (p. 1367). Crezee et al. (2015) assert the importance for teaching self-care methods in interpreter training programs in order to better prepare novice interpreters for real world assignments.

Current Trainings and Resources

There are few trainings and resources available to those who want to learn about DeafBlind interpreting, but they are the stepping stones to DeafBlind interpreting knowledge and training being implemented into an interpreter education program. An organization that is devoted to providing education, trainings, and resources is the DeafBlind Interpreting National Training and Resource Center (DBI) located at Western Oregon University. DBI is dedicated to celebrating the diversity and culture of DeafBlind individuals and aims to increase the awareness and number of “culturally-competent and qualified interpreters” (DBI, 2018). DBI provides trainings and resources through online workshops and onsite trainings working with DeafBlind trainers and interpreters (DBI, 2018).

Other resources are available from various organizations with special interest groups or task forces researching DeafBlind interpreting. One of these organizations is the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI). WASLI (2019) has a special interest group whose committee is dedicated to developing DeafBlind interpreting through collaborating with DeafBlind communities, providing resources, and increasing trainings worldwide. Another organization is the American Association of the DeafBlind (AADB). This organization provides resources pertaining to various communication modes and is collaborating with the DeafBlind interpreting task force (AADB, 2018). These trainings and resources for DeafBlind interpreting are currently being researched and developed and are a great place to learn and gain the skills to be a competent and confident DeafBlind interpreter.

Conclusion

As the interpreting profession has grown, the depth of interpreting research has increased and interpreter education has improved. However, the subfield of DeafBlind interpreting has been basically neglected. There is a scarcity of qualified DeafBlind interpreters to serve the communication needs of DeafBlind consumers. The lack of qualified DeafBlind interpreters can be attributed to the unavailability of trainings, workshops, and courses for prospective for interpreters working with DeafBlind consumers. It is essential for curriculum to be developed so that those interested can have access to knowledge and skills necessary to become successful DeafBlind interpreters.

When developing a curriculum for DeafBlind interpreters, educators must include information about the various communication methods of the DeafBlind community. A curriculum also needs to incorporate teaching of DeafBlind culture. Furthermore, it is important for new DeafBlind interpreters to be aware of coping and confidence building strategies that will aid them in the real world of DeafBlind interpreting.

This article is only a stepping stone to the research that must be explored concerning DeafBlind interpreting. It is the authors’ hope that as more studies are conducted about DeafBlind interpreting, a more streamlined and cohesive curriculum can be developed and used across the country in workshops, trainings, and interpreter training programs. Our end goal is to develop more competent and confident interpreters for DeafBlind consumers.

About the Authors

Krystle Chambers, Bachelors of Arts degree in Communicative Disorders with an emphasis in interpreting from California State University, Fresno. She has been interpreting since 2012 but has been working with the Deaf and DeafBlind communities both locally and abroad, in Mexico and Peru, since 2001. She currently studies at Western Oregon University pursuing a Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies.

Kiarah Elyse Moore, BEI Basic, B.A. American Sign Language Interpreting and B.A. Liberal Studies with emphasis in Psychology and Health at the University of Houston. She has been working as an interpreter in the state of Texas since 2017 in settings that include community, K-12, post-secondary, and theatrical. She currently studies at Western Oregon University pursuing a Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies.

Chevon Nicole Ramey, BEI Advanced, BEI Medical, B.A.A.S Psychology at Texas A&M University – San Antonio. She has been teaching interpreting at San Antonio College since 2017, and she has been working as an interpreter in Texas since 2011 in the following settings: community, medical, post-secondary, educational, performance, platform, conference. She currently studies at Western Oregon University pursuing a Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies.

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Integrated and Open Interpreter Education by Krystle Chambers, Kiarah Moore, and Chevon Nicole Ramey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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