Application of Demand-Control Theory to Sign Language Interpreting: Implications for Stress and Interpreter Training

Autor/a: DEAN, Robyn K.; POLLARD, Robert Q.
Año: 2001
Editorial: Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, Vol. 1, nº 6 (2001) pp. 1-14
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Traducción e Interpretación


The translation work of sign language interpreters involves much more than language. The characteristics and goings-on in the physical environment, the dynamics and interactions between the people who are present, and even the "inner noise" of the interpreter contribute to the accuracy, or lack thereof, of the resulting translation. The competent interpreter must understand and respond appropriately to the language and nonlanguage aspects of each interpreting assignment. We use the framework of demand-control theory (Karasek, 1979) to examine the complex occupation of sign language interpreting. Demand-control theory is a job analysis method useful in studies of occupational stress and reduction of stress-related illness, injury, and burnout. We describe sources of demand in the interpreting profession, including demands that arise from factors other than those associated with languages (linguistic demands). These include environmental, interpersonal, and intrapersonal demands. Karasek's concept of control, or decision latitude, is also explored in relation to the interpreting profession. We discuss the prevalence of cumulative trauma disorders (CTD), turnover, and burnout in the interpreting profession in light of demand-control theory and data from interpreter surveys, including a new survey study described herein. We conclude that nonlinguistic demand factors in particular and perceived restrictions in decision latitude likely contribute to stress, CTD, burnout, and the resulting shortage of sign language interpreters. We make suggestions for improvements in interpreter education and professional development, including the institution of an advanced, supervised professional training period, modeled after internships common in other high demand professional occupations.