E-Professionalism and Signed Language Interpreters: Considering Social Media, Online Disclosure, and Small World Ethics

January 1, 2016


This article explores the concept of e-professionalism—an expansion of the professionalism paradigm to include behaviors and attitudes displayed in online environments—as it may relate to signed language interpreters. The rising importance of e-professionalism is illustrated by examining research showing increasing participation in online social networking activities across all generations of society and the possibility of a shifting cultural landscape online. The concept of small world ethics is applied to the Deaf community, and it is argued that the new cyber culture is rendering an already small community metaphorically even smaller via social media. It is argued that there is a need for more formal research into how social media is impacting the interpreting profession, and there is a call for interpreter educators to proactively incorporate e-professionalism into interpreter training and continuing professional development programs. The article concludes with considerations to foster professional usage of SNS and a reminder that while the avoidance of unprofessional online behaviors is one component, e-professionalism awareness should also incorporate knowledge of how the power of social media can be effectively harnessed to an individual’s professional advantage.


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Citation: Best, Brett A. (2016) “E-Professionalism and Signed Language Interpreters: Considering Social Media, Online Disclosure, and Small World Ethics,” Journal of Interpretation: Vol. 25 : Iss. 1 , Article 2.

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(New York)