Making Research Count 4 – Purpose and Objectives



The main purpose of this workshop is to advocate for a view of interpreting as a field. I emphasize field in contrast to skill or profession.

  • As a skill, interpreting involves a relatively discrete set of behaviors and mental processes that are applied to a variety of social situations. Skills are the foundation of an individual interpreter’s ability to do their job. But specific skills do not determine the way that interpreters are organized socially, nor do they determine one’s conceptual framework. Skills should be a key element in determining the quality of individual interpreters.
  • As a profession, interpreting is more or less institutionalized through organizations and workplace demands. For instance, one can study interpreting as the college level, one can belong to RID, and one can comport oneself with various principles of professional behavior. Professions are a way of understanding interpreters as a collective.
  • As a field, interpreting depends on a set of ontological and epistemological assumptions about language, human behavior, and ethics – none of which are unique to either the skill or profession of interpreting, per se. Depending on training, education, and experience, individual interpreters are on a spectrum of ability to identify and discuss these assumptions.

If we view interpreting as a field, we can start to understand why research might be helpful and how we can engage with current research. In fact, one of my hopes is that interpreters could have more of an impact if we would make substantive contributions as a field (which intersects with many academic perspectives), and not only as a profession (which only applies to people who actually work as interpreters).


The objectives are pretty self-explanatory.

  • Objective 1: Participants will recognize key organizations, researchers, and academic disciplines that are currently producing research related to interpreting.
  • Objective 2: Participants will be able to identify and retrieve current interpreting research, including academic articles, books, and reports.
  • Objective 3: Participants will be able to read, summarize, and evaluate research materials.
  • Objective 4: Participants will be able to incorporate research into daily practice, professional development activities, and contribute to future research.
  • Objective 5: Participants will improve their receptive and expressive academic ASL skills.

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