Guidelines for Contract Interpreters
The School of Environmental Studies at Queen's University has taken a proactive approach to securing interpreting services by developing a helpful guide for freelance interpreters that explains the roles and responsibilities of the University, the ASL coordinator, and the interpreter. This guide outlines our hiring procedures, travel information, teaming practices, and the Responsibilities & Confidentiality agreement between the contract interpreter and the School of Environmental Studies.
When working with interpreters, we believe that teamwork is paramount to successful communication in an academic environment. As an interpreter, you are a highly valued and integral part of this team; whether in the classroom, the lab, or on other campus venues. The following is an informational guide for freelance interpreters who are interested in working for the School of Environmental Studies at Queen's University.
Hiring will be based on the interpreting skills required to meet consumer and assignment needs, along with consumer preference. Minimum criteria for hiring interpreters includes, graduation from a recognized Interpreter Training Program, or demonstrated equivalent, and 3 years experience interpreting in the community or a post-secondary setting. Exceptions will be considered when the need of the consumer dictates such.
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Link to "Queens Covers Some Travel Costs and Prep-Time"
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Interpreters who are scheduled to work two hours or more in a stretch will be assigned a team interpreter. Exceptions include any assignment where there may be frequent and/or lengthy breaks for independent work. Alternatively, for those assignments which involve highly technical vocabulary and fast paced communication but are less than two hours, you may still be assigned a teamer. Teaming needs will be negotiated at the time of booking to ensure quality interpreting services and a safe working environment for interpreters, while still demonstrating a financial responsibility to those funding the services.
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Confidentiality at the School of Environmental Studies
We believe in maintaining highest integrity and quality in professional relationships and ethical behaviour. When coordinating information, preparation and logistics, we fully support and follow the following values (adapted from the Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC) Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct; found at www.avlic.ca ):
1. Professional accountability: Accepting responsibility for professional decisions and actions.
2. Professional competence: Committing to provide quality professional service and academic work.
3. Non-discrimination: Approaching professional service and academic work with respect and cultural sensitivity.
4. Integrity in professional relationships: Dealing honestly and fairly with interpreters, students, staff, faculty and colleagues.
5. Integrity in academic and administrative practices: Dealing honestly and ethically in all academic and administrative practices.
At Queen's, all information, preparation materials and logistics pertaining to interpreter coordination and collaboration will be handled ethically following the above values. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout our relationships with interpreters, students, staff, faculty and colleagues within and without Queen's. Queen's can expect that interpreters contracted to provide services, and who are members of AVLIC, will abide by the AVLIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct.
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ASL-English Interpreter Coordinator's responsibilities
- Schedules all ASL interpretation for the School, including coordination with other units at Queen's and outside agencies
- Makes sure that interpreters abilities match the needs of the assignment
- Organize and negotiate contracts, schedules and travel for teamers
- Acquires and distributes preparation materials (obtain required readings, ppt, notes, etc)
- Managing venues for interpretation (classrooms, meeting rooms, conference sites, etc)
- Consistency / continuity of interpreters for assignments
- Act as a liaison between interpreters, students, staff and faculty
- Arrange for timely payment of invoices
- Communicate frequently with interpreters regarding scheduling, interpreting concerns and University affairs
- Campus layout
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Staff Interpreter's responsibilities
- Organizes and supervises administration of interpreting team
- Coordination of team interpreters for assignments on campus, out-of-town events, during field research; and in consultation with conference and meeting organizers to ensure local arrangements facilitate smooth delivery of interpretation services
- Act as a liaison between interpreters, students, staff and faculty.
- Communicates frequently with interpreters regarding scheduling, interpreting concerns, prep concerns and University affairs.
- Ensure a minimum 10 minute break around each hour of service when working alone or when assignments are longer than 2 hours.
- Orienting new contractors to the environment
- Responsibilities may be added in unique situations i.e. conferences, field, etc
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Contract Interpreter's responsibilities
- Adhere to the University's Code of Conduct.
- Follow the tenets of the AVLIC Code of Ethics.
- Possess active membership status in local and national interpreting organizations.
- Maintain confidentiality regarding assignment information, while remaining open to discussing situations related to interpretation.
- Demonstrate a high degree of flexibility, maturity, and professionalism.
- Obtain required readings for each assignment. In some instances these resources may be available through the staff interpreter. In other situations you will need to access University libraries or applicable departments to obtain needed materials.
- Prepare for each assignment. This includes securing the preparation material you require, as well as pre-reading lecture material and researching possible sign choices. Preparation may also include spending time with Deaf and/or hearing consumers, and team interpreters to discuss terminology, field specific vocabulary, and possible sign choices. Meet with the staff interpreter.
- Interpreters should meet with consumers to: - Identify language preference. - Identify preferred style for delivery of service. - Establish rapport. - Engage in discussions with staff, students, and/or faculty pre and post-assignment, as necessary.
- Commit to work the full period of the assigned time. If this commitment cannot be honoured, a minimum of two weeks' notice is required for permanent schedule changes.
- If necessary, arrange for substitute interpreters who possess the adequate skills and background for your assignments. Inform the staff interpreter of any changes as soon as possible.
- For assignments up to ninety minutes long, wait twenty minutes after class begins for consumers who may be late. For assignments longer than ninety minutes, wait thirty minutes. Exceptions include when a consumer informs you ahead of time that s/he will be late, and at what time to expect his/her arrival.
- All interpreters should do warm up exercises regularly, and stretch their shoulders, arms and fingers prior to working.
- Interpreters must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when the nature of the assignment requires such.
- Please submit invoices within 30 days.
- It would be greatly appreciated, but not a requirement, if the contracted interpreter would provide feedback on how we can improve our service. This can be given to either the coordinator or the staff interpreter. If any issues come up or if anything was amiss, we would appreciate being made aware of it, so that it could be remedied for the next time.
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