Exploring signed language interpreters’ perceptions of e-professionalism on Facebook

Brett Best

Abstract


This is an exploratory inquiry into signed language interpreters’ perceptions of interpreter e-professionalism on social media, specifically Facebook. Given the global pervasiveness of Facebook, this study presents an international perspective, and reports on findings of focus groups held with a total of 12 professional signed language interpreters from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Denmark, all of whom are also Facebook users. The findings reveal that Facebook is seen to blur the traditional boundaries between personal and professional realms – an overlap which is perceived to be compounded by the nature of the small community in which signed language interpreters typically work –necessitating boundary management strategies in order to maintain perceptions of professionalism on the site. Facebook is considered a valuable professional resource to leverage for networking, professional development, problem solving and assignment preparation, but it is also perceived as a potential professional liability for both individual interpreters and the profession at large. Maintaining client confidentiality was found to be the most pressing challenge Facebook brings to the profession. Educational measures to raise awareness about e-professionalism were generally viewed favourably.

 


Keywords


e-professionalism, Facebook, professionalism, ethics, social media, social networking, sign language interpreters

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