For the past several years, Rose Interpreting has hosted interpreting interns from Pikes Peak Community College’s Interpreter Preparation Program (IPP) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Intern season is incredibly important to the students, but perhaps even more important to the deaf and interpreting communities. Please note that an IPP internship is separate from the internship that Rose offers for IPP graduates.
Internship (also known as “practicum”) is the period during an interpreting student’s time in an IPP when they put what they’ve learned to use. They leave the safety of the video lab and work in the real world with live consumers who have real interpreting needs. This is done under supervision of qualified interpreters and a host agency. Some interns are also placed in K-12 positions for the semester. Interns are expected to be able to interpret in predictable, low risk situations with decreasing support from their supervisor interpreters, but are never to be left to work completely independently. Intern readiness varies, and it can be a deciding factor in whether or not a student graduates. In a less official manner, we find that it can help some students decide if interpreting is really a career that they want to enter.
Internship is a huge, collaborative effort. IPP coordinators, interpreting agencies, students, customers, and end users all work in concert. The challenge is to minimize negative impact (disruption, poor interpreting, privacy) for end users and maximize student benefit (successful and plentiful interpreting opportunities). Permission from end users, customers, and supervising interpreters must be granted for each and every assignment. Not only is this good common courtesy, it’s codified in RID Code of Professional Conduct.
In most 2 year IPP’s, internship takes place in the last semester before graduation. In 4 year programs, internships tend to be longer and start sooner. A certain number of hours (usually 250 or more) must be documented for each intern, with most of that time being “hands up”, or time spent interpreting and not observing the supervising interpreter’s work. The intern will work closely with the agency to make sure that their ongoing class schedule (yes, they’re still attending classes during internship) is not disrupted. They’ll have a schedule similar to a community interpreter. This means that they may work evenings, overnight, or weekends.
Rose interpreters work all over Colorado. In recent years, some of the work appropriate for interns has happened in Denver, Castle Rock, and the suburbs south of Denver. For interns based in Colorado Springs, this requires a commitment. We’ve been impressed with their determination to not only get the job done, but get there in time to do it after driving 60 miles one way! They log hours in medical, educational, business, and social settings.
Hosting an IPP intern is not profitable, so why do we do it? We believe that we owe end users quality interpreting services not just today, but for years into the future. We all owe each other the chance to develop the skills needed to connect the deaf and hearing worlds. We invest this time because it’s crucial to developing interpreting skills. We invest this time because the same investment was made in us.
Photo by: Benh LIEU SONG