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My decision making process is built upon the use of Dean & Pollards demand control

schema (DCS). Demands are the challenges, decisions and ethical dilemmas that interpreters
encounter through the course of their work, while controls are the tools and strategies an
interpreter can use to respond to a demand.
Demands are connected to the situation and are classified into 4 categories:
environmental, interpersonal, paralinguistic, and intrapersonal. Different interpreters in the same
situation may experience demands differently or not notice certain demands because of the
controls the interpreter brings to the situation. More experienced interpreters may be able to
implement controls with less cognitive energy, so much so that the demand is not recognized as
something that needs to be consciously addressed.
Controls exist on a spectrum from liberal to conservative. A conservative control is
defined as one that involves taking less action or staying more rigidly within the role of
interpreter. A liberal control has an interpreter taking more action or stretching the boundaries of
the interpreters role. Considering controls from across the spectrum helps the interpreter to
make competent, well-thought out decisions. Additionally, controls are interpreter-specific, and
not all interpreters will have the same controls in their mental toolkit. Interpreters develop more
control options through experience and analysis of previous demand-control decisions. The
implementation of a control will have consequences and possibly create resulting demands. A
consequence is an outcome that does not require further action by the interpreter, while a
resulting demand does require a control.
Through the use of DCS to evaluate demands I have faced in the past, I build on my set
of skills to draw from when demands arise in the future. Using DCS after an assignment to

review my decision making process provides a way to analyze my choices as well as list other
possible controls I could have used and analyze their potential effectiveness. Engaging in this
process post-assignment allows me to make conscious ethical decision in the moment at
subsequent assignments because I have practiced considering and analyzing a range of control
options. DCS encourages teleological decision making over deontological, so the intent behind
the decision is less important than the consequences of the decision. This resonates for me
because it encourages thinking and engagement in ethics rather than rule-following.
Below is an example of a post-assignment DCS reflection. Two other students and I
analyzed this situation, thought of possible controls and the consequences of each control. We
finished by stating which control we thought was the best practice for this situation.
Dilemma: At an off-campus college site, a group of high school students are in a forklift training
offered by a college. Near the end of the day, a student tripped over a cord lying across the shop
floor and twisted his knee. An ambulance was called, and while they are waiting, the interpreters
tried to figure out what they should do. An MIS interpreter was called to meet the student at the
hospital, the dilemma for the college interpreters was the in between time of waiting for an
ambulance to arrive, the journey to the hospital, and then the wait for the MIS interpreter to
arrive (because it might take a little while as the interpreter won't be dispatched until the
ambulance arrives and decides which hospital they are taking the student to)
The 2 college interpreters are not medical interpreters, and both interpreters have already
worked 8 hours that day. There is also an EA from the high school with the students.
We have classified this demand as Environmental.
Control Options:

1. All s stay with the student and go to the hospital with the student (this is a more liberal
control as they are stepping out of their role as college interpreters, and going into
overtime)
Positive consequences: no break in interpreting service, lots of interpreter support
for each other, consistency - interpreters have been there from the beginning of
the situation, if something more serious develops on the way - there is an

interpreter
Negative consequences: lots of overtime, the college interpreters are not medical

interpreters, the interpreters get over-tired, no proper breaks


2. The interpreters stay until the ambulance arrives, interpret until they are on their way, but
don't go to the hospital (this is a somewhat conservative control as they are leaving
medical interpreting to properly trained medical interpreters, but still following school
policy)
Positive consequences: less overtime, leaving medical interpreting to trained

interpreters
Negative consequences: no interpreting service during the ambulance ride or at

the hospital until the medical interpreter arrives, possible EA interpreting


3. One of the interpreters stays with the student and goes to the hospital with the student
(this is a liberal control as they are stepping out of their role as college interpreters, and
going into overtime (but less overtime))
Positive consequences:no break in interpreting service, only one interpreter going
into overtime, consistency - interpreter has been there from the beginning of the

situation
Negative consequences: interpreter working alone, tired, not trained for medical

interpreting
4. The interpreters leave at the time they are scheduled to leave, leaving the student with the
EA until they meet the medical interpreter at the hospital (this is a very conservative
control as they are not stepping out of college interpreter role at all)

Positive consequences: no overtime, interpreters get to go home, medical


interpreter will be called, the student learns how to get along in tough situations

without an interpreter
Negative consequences: no access, probable EA interpreting
5. Ask the Deaf student what they want to have happen (this is a slightly liberal control)
Positive consequences: respecting the students autonomy, being open to

possibilities
Negative consequences: possibly violating school policy, adding to the students
stress by making them decide, if the student decides and you disagree with the
decision you have a resulting demand, maybe the student is not in the right
headspace to make decisions

We would have one interpreter stay and go to the hospital. Some resulting demands from this
control could be:

fatigue and havent eaten for 5 hours


maybe your supervisor will be mad about overtime or stepping out of VCC bounds

Other things we thought about: Would this be different if it was an older adult rather than a teen?