Let’s have a Fika – Culture in a Cup

Shaurna Dickson Interpreting and Training Manager at Deaf Action and Paul Belmonte Senior Interpreter at Deaf Action were delighted to present at the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters (EFLSI) 2019, in MALMÖ, Switzerland.

This year’s conference which ran from 7th – 8th September was about ‘Interpreting in, between and about cultures. Shaurna Dickson stated: ‘It was a fantastic event to be part of, that brought people from all over Europe to share ideas, experiences and best practices’.


Abstract from Deaf Action presentation:

While the training of interpreters has improved over the years, most new interpreters find themselves facing a skills gap when they start work.  Despite having completed their training, there is often a deficit between the nascent skills they possess and the abilities they need to function successfully as a professional interpreter.

As a Deaf-led organisation including a long-standing interpreting agency, Deaf Action in Scotland has recognised this gap and the culture of suspicion and criticism that can sometimes meet new practitioners entering the field. This is in part due to perceived differences between the vocational and academic routes into the profession.

This presentation will use real case studies to explain some of the issues new interpreters face as they enter the profession, either as an employed member of staff, or as a freelance practitioner. We will discuss the ways in which we have supported many interpreters to bridge the skills gap, creating opportunities and safe spaces for them to develop their coping strategies, reflect on their practice and make wise choices as to the assignments they undertake. We will explore ways in which our profession can create a culture of nurture and support, thereby developing the skills of individuals and improving the quality of interpreting in the field.