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That Was Awkward: Exploring the Impact of Prescriptive Strategies

What if the reason that felt awkward was due to us,

the interpreter acting in good faith based on how we've been trained?

The purpose of providing an interpreter has always been to facilitate an interaction between two individuals who do not share the same language. We, as the interpreter, have the responsibility to support the exchanges between and the connectedness of the participants. Generally, the interpreter assumes certain "breakdowns" are caused by one of the consumers (typically the hearing, English speaking consumer) and our default strategies are to be "hands off" or to educate. What if the interpreter is undermining one or both participants with their default (prescriptive) strategies and doesn't realize it? What if the real problem, the cause of the awkwardness, is us?


That Was Awkward is a two part workshop for working and student interpreters who want to explore the work of interpreters. Based on Llewellyn-Jones & Lee’s Role-Space framework, this workshop explores a) social norms in monolingual (spoken English, hearing culture) interactions, b) default interpreter interactions and the use of these prescriptive strategies to support or undermine our consumers, and c) new way to solve some of our work's breakdown. 

What if we could ditch those awkward breakdowns while working, without being rebels, without throwing the Code of Professional Conduct out the window, and without needing to master another interpreter specific skill? This is a solutions based conversation sure to have an immediate impact on your work.

That Was Awkward: Exploring the Impact of Prescriptive Strategies is a facilitated workshop by Shannon Townsend and Amy KrollBy the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Compare social norms, prescriptive strategies, and their impact between monolingual (spoken English, hearing culture) participants in exchanges without interpreters.

  • Report prescriptive strategies and their impact to exchanges where you are a participant and/or an interpreter.

  • Examine how interpreters use prescriptive strategies to support or undermine exchanges between participants.

Workshop Specifics


This workshop will be run May 18, 2019 to May 25th. As an extended workshop, there are three mandatory parts to earn CEUs: 

1) In-person Meeting (Saturday, May 18th from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM)

2) Independent reading, observation, & reflection (Sunday, May 19th to Friday, May 24th)

*Supported by an online meeting on Monday, May 20th from 7:00-8:00 PM

3) In-person meeting (Saturday, May 25th from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM).


In-person meetings will be held in the 2nd floor conference room at the Palmer Gardens Shopping Center (150 E. 29th St., Loveland, Co 80538).


This workshop is $75 for working interpreters and $50 for student interpreters. Fee is payable to Amy Kroll. Payment options will be presented with confirmation of your registration.

Cancellation Policy:

A full refund will be offered for cancellations made while registration is open. Once registration has closed, no refunds will be offered for cancellations. Your registration can be transferred to another interpreter. Send an email to Amy Kroll ( for cancellation and transfer requests.


Submit your registration form by 8:00 AM on May 15, 2019. 

Requests for reasonable accommodations can be made on the registration form. Please note that this workshop will be presented in spoken English and is non-interpreted. If interested in having this workshop focused on ASL monolingual interactions and presented in ASL, send an email to Amy Kroll (

Referral Program:

Refer a co-worker and earn a $10 discount on a future CEU fee. Your co-worker will need to provide your name on the registration form.



Amy Kroll is an Approved RID CMP Sponsor for continuing education activities. This profession studies program is offered for 1.0 CEUs at the Little Content Knowledge Level.



The workshop space is founded in…​

  • Social learning - Identify with, develop, challenge, and apply ideas together respectfully.

  • Safe and brave interactions - Assume positive intent and be free of bias while seeking greater knowledge and understanding.

  • Reflective practice - Talk about the work with colleagues in a structured manner for the purpose of growth.

  • A group of equals - Everyone adds value through different backgrounds and unique life experiences. 

  • Maintained confidentiality - Shared understanding between professionals that discussion of the work will occur in appropriate situations and in an appropriate manner (Dean & Pollard, 2013).

    • "Shared understanding" is the discussion and application of ideas leading to (the goal of) improved effective practice. 

    • "Appropriate situations" is the discussion occurring in a closed environment.

    • "Appropriate manner"  is the discussion of work involves a) identifying what needs to be revealed and what does or should not be shared and b) prioritizing the most important information to share.

    • Hippocrates stated “That whatever I shall see or hear that concerns the lives of my patients which is not fitting to be spoken, I will keep forever secret” (Dean & Pollard, 2013, p. 142). If a listener happens to make connections, they will maintain confidentiality.



Dean, Robyn K., & Pollard, Robert Q. (2013). ​The Demand Control Schema: Interpreting as a practice profession. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

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