Date of Award

Winter 3-14-2016

Exit Requirement

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies

Department

Teacher Education

Committee Chair

Vicki Darden

Committee Member

Dr. Alicia Wenzel

Committee Member

Barb Dunaway and Dr. Adrianne Johnson

Abstract

Literature suggests that mentoring in the field of interpreting will help novice interpreters overcome the steep learning curve that exists between graduation from college preparation programs (or through other entry-level avenues) and work readiness. This study investigated the perceived benefits of mentoring for the signed language interpreting profession by practitioners in the field. A total of 443 respondents varying in age, sex, ethnic backgrounds, work experience and certification levels from the United States and Canada were included in this study.

The purpose was to clarify the attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives of current practitioners and students in the field of signed language interpreting related to mentoring. Four constructs were investigated regarding mentoring in relation to work readiness for entry-level interpreters: knowing how to present qualifications as well as how to present one’s roles and responsibilities, working in specific settings, mentoring in relation to increasing professional acumen related to interpreting, and feelings of readiness to handle ethical decision making as an entry-level interpreter.

Results from this investigation indicated that the majority of respondents perceivedmentoring to be beneficial in the majority of the work settings investigated and other topics included in this research. There was however, a higher importance placed upon linguistic skill-based settings over non-skill-based topics in relation to mentoring for entry-level interpreters (e.g., knowing how to present qualifications, knowing how to present their role and responsibilities, freelance business knowledge, general business knowledge). Respondents also reported a feeling of readiness to handle ethical dilemmas during their first year of interpreting.