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Austin, Alba, and Wongsuwan 1

Krysta Austin, Paige Alba, Morgan Wongsuwan


Professor Connie Spanton-Jex
INTR 1300
4 December 2013
Case Study Analysis
The case that our group was given states: A Deaf man is sent to a week-long conference
in Hawaii, and his company agrees to pay all your expenses to accompany him. The Deaf man
spends his days on the beach and his nights in different bars. You both have a great time until
today, when you get a call from the companys accounting office questioning some of the
receipts you both submitted.
We know that the company is questioning some of the receipts that the interpreter and the
Deaf consumer submitted. Also, we know that the company believes that the interpreter and the
Deaf consumer have not been attending the conference. We then identify that the source of the
conflict is the two of them not attending the conference. Attending the conference is the
expectation of the company because that is the reason for both of them being in Hawaii. The
company did not send them there to spend every day on the beach and every night at the bar. The
company may feel that they are being taken advantage of, and that the deaf man and the
interpreter should have had more discernment about their purpose for being there and their
responsibilities.
Discussing the perspectives of each person involved we agreed upon the following. From
the interpreters perspective, they are doing their job by accompanying the Deaf consumer, they
cant make him go to the conference. From the Deaf consumers perspective he may feel he is
free to do what he wants while in Hawaii, the company said that they would pay for everything

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and may not have given specifics so he doesnt feel he has to go to the conference. The company
may feel disrespected because the Deaf employee is not going to the conference, not making use
of the interpreter, and they are carelessly spending company money on whatever they want.
Some influencing values for this case are honesty, loyalty, autonomy, ethical billing,
business practices, and confidentiality. The Deaf man was sent to Hawaii with a purpose, he has
a responsibility to fulfill his duties for his company (loyalty). He also has every right to spend
his time how hed like to (autonomy), but keeping in mind that there are consequences to every
action. The interpreter was expected to interpret for the conference and may want to fulfill that
obligation, but the interpreter cant force the Deaf man to do anything. The interpreter may feel
they should be honest with their employer, but confidentiality is an important part of the
interpreting profession. Though outside their control, without having fulfilled their obligations
to the company, is the interpreter justified in billing as normal and accepting the expenses that
have been paid?
We feel that conflict type that best describes the source of conflict in our scenario is the
interest conflict. The Deaf man and interpreter have a good relationship and the problem the
company has with them is not related to their relationship with or feelings about them, so this is
not a relationship conflict. The Deaf man must have known what was expected of him when he
was sent to Hawaii for the conference so this is not best described as a data conflict. Nothing
outside the Deaf mans control was keeping him from attending the conference and fulfilling his
obligations to his company so this cannot be described as a structural conflict. The company does
not object to the Deaf mans actions on moral grounds or because of incompatible beliefs, so the
conflict is more practical than values-based.
The company sent the Deaf man to Hawaii to be at the conference. Clearly, they believe

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his presence there will benefit the company. If he doesnt attend theyre not getting that value.
The Deaf man, however, is more interested in having a good time in Hawaii than attending the
conference. Of course, there is an incredibly simple compromise that could be made if the Deaf
man were to go to the conference and use non-conference time to enjoy himself. However, he
has decided to spend all day on leisure activities, an interest incompatible with the companys
interest in him attending the conference. Making interest the main conflict type related to this
case study.
Here is a brief look at the case study as understood through the lens of the Drama
Triangle that looks at some of the types of power at play. The company holds legitimate power
because they are paying for the trip and they employ the Deaf man and interpreter. The
interpreter holds information power because he knows the Deaf man hasnt attended the
conference. If the interpreter decides to handle the situation alone the Deaf man is not able to
explain himself, taking away his autonomy. This would put the interpreter in the Rescuer role
and the Deaf man in the role of Victim. The Deaf man has expert power because he works for the
company, knows more about whats going on, and knows more about what he needs to be doing.
The company has coercive power over the Deaf man in that they can punish or reprimand him.
While the company isnt wrong in questioning the people theyve sent to Hawaii, they do start
out as Persecutors on the drama triangle because of where they stand in relation to the other two.
Though they could be made into a Victim if the Deaf man or interpreter were to react badly and
they could make themselves into a Rescuer if they save someone from consequences that are
probably deserved.
Depending on the perspective you adopt in analyzing this case study, several different
stereotypes could be at play. Some stereotypes about interpreters include that they may not be

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responsible or that they are opportunistic. One might stereotype the Deaf man as being lazy,
dumb, incompetent, or a freeloader. The company could be stereotyped as overbearing, pennypinching, nit-picky, controlling, and unsympathetic.
Kidders Right vs Right Paradigms offer us another way to analyze this case study. With
a liberal enough interpretation of the paradigms, each one might be seen as applicable.
Individual vs. Community paradigm: The Deaf man is his own person and shouldnt be
kept from making his own decisions and mistakes. However, he is only one part of a larger
whole when it comes to the company he works for and his actions might hurt his peers down the
road (fewer trips, more oversight, less money).
Short Term vs. Long Term paradigm: The interpreter may be able to get him/herself out
of trouble now, but doing so may come at the cost of a good working relationship with the
company or Deaf man in the future.
Justice vs. Mercy paradigm: The company has every right to question the interpreter and
deaf man for the lack of effort they have put into attending the conference. But the interpreter
and employee may deserve some understanding too. The interpreter, especially, is at the mercy of
the Deaf man in terms of whether or not he/she can interpret the conference.
Truth vs. Loyalty paradigm: The company has a right to know what their employee and
his interpreter are doing in Hawaii with their money, so it could be said the interpreter is
obligated to tell the company the truth. But, given their newfound relationship, it might also be
right for the interpreter not to betray the trust of the Deaf man and either take his side or let him
handle things.
Another way of looking at challenges to interpreter ethics is the RID Code of
Professional Conduct (CPC), an ethical guide for interpreters to follow that merits careful

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consideration. The tenets of the CPC that are most applicable here relate to confidentiality,
conduct, respect for consumers, and business practices.
The first tenet of the RID Code of Conduct states that Interpreters adhere to standards of
confidential communication. A case could be made that the interpreter is bound by the RID
Code of Conduct to not disclose information concerning the Deaf client, his activities, or his
communications. However, RID CPC 1.1 says that information can be shared on a confidential
and as-needed basis. Included in a list of people who it might be appropriate to share
information with is hiring entities. Though this may apply more to interpreter referral agencies
than it does to companies/organizations contracting interpreters for employees/participants.
Additionally, interpreters are not expected to keep confidentiality if they were not acting in the
capacity of an interpreter, which the interpreter may not have been doing if the two were just
hanging out in Hawaii together. To avoid a potentially inappropriate breach of confidentiality the
interpreter might have the company speak to the Deaf man before trying to explain him/herself.
The third tenet of the Code of Professional Conduct states Interpreters conduct
themselves in a manner appropriate to the specific interpreting situation. One illustrative
behavior of this tenet is that interpreters avoid performing dual or conflicting roles. At this
point, the interpreter has spent considerable leisure time with their client. The role of buddy or
travel companion could conflict with the role of interpreter. While the interpreter cant force the
Deaf man to attend the conference, skipping it could be considered failure to comply with
established workplace codes of conduct, the fourth illustrative behavior under 3.0 Conduct.
CPC 3.6, refrain from the use of mind-altering substances before or during the performance of
duties may also apply if the interpreter has been drinking with the Deaf man and is later needed
to interpret.

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The fourth tenet admonishes interpreters to demonstrate respect for consumers. 4.4
further states that interpreters facilitate... and support the full interaction and independence of
consumers. This means that the interpreter is in no place to speak for the Deaf person to the
company, make decisions for the Deaf person, or coerce them in any way. We all get to make
our own decisions: even if theyre not that great and even if were Deaf.
The sixth tenet of the Code of Conduct states that interpreters should maintain ethical
business practices and CPC 6.2 states that interpreters honor professional commitments. This
interpreter was hired to interpret for a conference and this has not happened. The interpreter
cannot force the Deaf man to go however. So while the interpreter may not be in the wrong for
not going to a conference with no Deaf client, it might be reasonable for them to face
consequences for actions not related to the Deaf man deciding not to go to the conference - such
as their expenditures. The interpreter knows the company told them it would pay for all of their
expenses on the trip, but needs to decide if billing for the beach and bar activities is judicious.
There are many ways to look at this study and many possible solutions, but here are three.
First, the interpreter could be honest and tell the company they havent been going to the
conference. A positive consequence could be that the interpreter doesnt lose their job. A negative
consequence could be that the company fires the Deaf man. Second the interpreter could respond
to the accounting office by saying, the company said all expenses were paid. A positive
consequence could be that the company agrees and lets it go. A negative consequence could be
that they get upset and say that they feel they are being taken advantage of and will not pay the
interpreter. Third, the interpreter might decide to direct the accounting departments call to the
Deaf consumer, who is their regular employee as well as the one who has decided not to go to
the conference. This solution allows the Deaf man to explain himself directly to his company and

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avoids putting the interpreter in a Helper role - speaking for the Deaf person without their input
or protecting them when they are fully capable of taking the heat themselves. This solution
supports the full interaction and independence of the consumer (CPC 4.4), though he may get a
few slaps to the wrist. A downside to this approach may be that the interpreter is perceived as
trying to avoid blame for their own part in shirking the conference or perhaps damage to the
relationship between the interpreter and their Deaf consumer.
So what is the right course of action? What would you do and why? Each member of our
group has responded in turn.
Paige: The problem is that the companys purpose of sending you to accompany their
Deaf employee was to attend the conference. Since you both decide not to attend the company
sees where you have been and start to question whats going on. I would explain to the company
that I am just doing my job by accompanying the Deaf employee. Im not going to force him to
go to the conference because I need to do my job by accompanying him for whatever he needs.
Morgan: The Deaf man, and the interpreter by extension, have failed to fulfill their
obligations to the company they are working for by treating this business trip like a vacation and
skipping the conference. The Deaf mans actions are outside the control of the interpreter
however and interpreters cant be held accountable for what their clients decide to do. If I were
the interpreter in this situation, I would explain that I had done my best to be there for the Deaf
employee and turn the call over to him as soon as possible. This is his business trip and his
conference, not mine. I would take responsibility for anything Id done wrong, but its definitely
not my place to explain the actions and motivations of someone else.
Krysta: I understand the companys concern for the situation. The interpreter and the deaf
man did receive a free trip to Hawaii, but on the condition that they go to the conference. If they

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are not attending the conference they arent holding up their end of the deal. However, the
interpreter is not necessarily an employee of the company. They are getting paid to simply
accompany the deaf man. I would tell the company that I was attending to the deaf man, as I was
told, and whether he chooses to spend his time on the beach or in a meeting is up to him. I am
not there to keep tabs on him. I am there to facilitate communication, which I have been doing.
Not to shaft this Deaf guy, but we all agree that this conflict centered on his decision not
to attend the conference. Further, not one of us believes we could have forced him to go. Were
all in favor of explaining an interpreters role and our inability to force action to the company
and we all agree that were not going to hold ourselves responsible for interpreting the
conference if the Deaf guy isnt there. And one of us gets the Deaf employee on the phone with
his company so he can explain himself.

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References
Stewart, Kellie Mills., and Anna Witter-Merithew. The Dimensions of Ethical Decision-making:
A Guided Exploration for Interpreters. Burtonsville, MD: Sign Media, 2006. Print.
"NAD-RID CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT." RID.org. Registry of Interpreters for the
Deaf, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.