National Association of the Deaf

Interpreter Ethics & Social Media - A Workshop

SB Morgaine held a workshop today discussing interpreter ethics in a social media environment. Everyone today has a bit of difficulty navigating the social media territory, but for interpreters, it’s even more difficult. Several questions she presented to audience were thought provoking, such as whether interpreters should use the popular social media application Foursquare, to announce their location, or whether interpreting agencies should be able to announce job openings.

Other issues that were raised during the workshop was the usage of Facebook – should interpreters friend their colleagues who they have solely a professional relationship with, or their consumers? There are many ramifications by ‘friending’ someone on Facebook. One story she shared with us was when she had an inside joke with her deaf friend, and she posted on her friend’s Facebook, referring to that inside joke. Many who saw that joke, took offense, and SB ended up removing that post, because of the furor. People’s reputations can be affected by what they post on social media applications – positively and negatively.

Ethics and social media both have grey areas, therefore answers do not always come by easily. I for one, do not envy the interpreters as they enter this unknown territory. However, I am glad they are taking this seriously through serious, productive dialogue within their profession and the Deaf Community to find solutions.

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