image of Michael Labadie-Mendes interpreting in front of podiumThe interpreting profession has undergone many changes in the last four decades. Interpreters who were part of the community that was closely tied to the Deaf Community in the '60s and '70s recognize today that entry into the profession today is primarily through education. This difference has a huge impact on learning the language and culture of Deaf people. And many of today's ITP graduates enter the field quickly, without credentials (Certification), and often working with children in public school programs.

I hope to be of help to anyone who has made the effort to learn the language and understand the culture. One of the essentials of being an interpreter that Deaf people look for is attitude (or Deaf Heart) and efforts to develop greater skill, deepen understanding, and work as an ally rather than an oppressor.

All of these are topics worthy of discussion and exploration, hopefully leading us to a place where we can do our best in service to this community.

Whether you're brand new at this thing called interpreting or as seasoned as I am, having someone to talk with about the challenges you face and your goals as an interpreter can go a long way. Our discussions would fall under the umbrella of confidentiality and peer supervision or mentorship.

The technique I prefer to use is called Process Mediation, developed by Betty Colonomos. This approach puts you in the driver's seat. Navigating the direction we take will be dependent on cognitive tasks that you've identified as challenges, problematic, patterns you've noticed in your work, etc. We'll look at what is happening in your process that might be influencing the issues you want to focus on. I will not be your teacher. I will listen and ask questions.

We will meet using the technologies available, including FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangout, Zoom, or whatever technology of the day works for both of us.

You will be expected to compensate me. Compensation may be based on a sliding scale depending on your income, experience, and hourly rate.

If you have been looking for some kind of mentorship but not found a mentor in your area, consider working with me. I do ask for people to commit to a group of sessions rather than just once. The options for meeting are suggested below. After we've met a number of times, you may continue to meet with me a single session at a time or by committing to another round of sessions.

Initial Interview and Process Mediation

1st meeting, 60 minute session

Interview. We get to know each other by spending roughly 30 minutes talking about our connections to the Deaf Community, our interpreter education and training, and more. Then the remaining 30 minutes we identify goals, set agreements on how we talk about the work (including confidentiality, non-judgmental language, and respect for the process), and wrap up with a possible agenda for our next meeting.

2nd meeting, 45 minute session

Review agenda, modifying as needed.

Process Mediation: We engage in dialogue following the agenda topic(s) that you chose. You control where the conversation goes. I will listen and seek clarification to understand what you're saying by reflecting back to you what I've heard and through the use of questions. Your responses will paint a more detailed picture of what you're thinking and/or feeling about the task that is challenging you.

Additional Meetings

3 more meetings, 45 minute session each

Process Mediation: We continue our dialogue sessions. The commitment to 3 meetings yields a discount in price.

1 meeting, 45 minute session

Process Mediation: We continue our dialogue sessions, scheduling a single meeting as needed.