Do We Play Well with Others? Personalities and Interpersonal Interactions Among Signed Language Interpreters

May 21, 2013


The aim of this study was to collect information from spoken/signed language interpreters about their own personalities and what personality traits they appreciate and do not appreciate in other professionals. By asking respondents about their feelings toward working with others, this research will take a pulse of the current morale in the field. Initially, the hypothesis was that the morale of the profession is negatively affected by the interpersonal communication conflicts interpreters experience as a result of different personality styles not meshing well. Data was collected through a questionnaire in which 127 responses were obtained from all over the United States, as well as a few respondents from two other countries. Research revealed that interpreters dislike common traits in peers, but because there is no standard approach to deal with tension between colleagues as it is a sensitive subject, the morale of the field is at a tipping point. Since
there is very little research about interpersonal relationships between team members in the signed/spoken language interpreting and spoken language interpreting professions, literature was reviewed that focused on personality characteristics that make for good interpreters, interpersonal communication, and tension. The data collected from the questionnaire, as well as the literature reviewed, suggest that while there is a diverse range of personalities and preferences within the signed/spoken language interpreting field, and some of the diversity is appreciated, some is detrimental to work and esteem. Also, the results of this study suggest that interpreters may not be self-aware in regard to how we come across to others.


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Hewlett, Sarah L., “Do We Play Well with Others? Personalities and Interpersonal Interactions Among Signed Language Interpreters” (2013). Master’s Theses. Paper 7.

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(New York)