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Teams in Action

Highly Effective Court Interpreting Teams in Action is a workbook and video series developed by the University of Northern Colorado's Mid-America Regional Interpreter Education Center (UNC-MARIE) in 2014. UNC-MARIE was a grant funded center of excellence in legal interpreting.

The Case

Teams in Action documents a petition for child custody within a civil trial. Both parents are Deaf and each wants primary custody of their Deaf child. Also involved in the case are two non-Deaf witnesses - a psychologist and a Guardian ad Litem. 

Because of UNC-MARIE's work, the workbook and videos improve the understanding of best practices in court interpreting through the exploration, analysis, and application of practices and protocols of the work of the interpreters and the teaming of Deaf and hearing interpreters in a legal setting.

The Interpreting Teams

Four teams of interpreters were utilized in the filming of Teams in Action. A team consisted of two to third interpreters and included a mix of deaf and hearing interpreters. The goal was for the interpreting process to be as authentic as possible in order to allow the teams to work naturally among themselves, with members of the court, and within the setting. 

The Workbook

The workbook was developed for educational purposes and designed to promote collegial discussion about interpreting performance. By using the workbook, an increased understanding of the following will occur: 1) the complexities of the interpreting process, 2) techniques and strategies used by experienced legal interpreters in managing the demands of the interpreting process, and 3) the contribution of Certified Deaf Interpreters to effective delivery of interpreting services in legal settings.

An additional part available for analysis is an exploration of interpreter-initiated utterances that occur during the interpreting process and insight into the purpose, function, and manner in which such interventions occur. 

The workbook has 13 units. They are: 

  • Unit 1: Critical Analysis of Interpreting Performance: Why and How?
  • Unit 2: Meeting between Guardian ad Litem and Deaf Child: Team Process and Dynamics Part 1
  • Unit 3: Meeting between Guardian ad Litem and Deaf Child: Team Process and Dynamics Part 2
  • Unit 4: Meeting between Guardian ad Litem and Deaf Child: Linguistic Strategies Used by Deaf Interpreters
  • Unit 5: Meeting between Guardian ad Litem and Deaf Child: Panel Discussion with the Interpreters
  • Unit 6: Team Preparation: Self-Analysis and Application
  • Unit 7: Team Preparation: Approaches to the Work and Roles and Responsibilities
  • Unit 8: Team Preparation: Division of Labor and Formulation of Agreements
  • Unit 9: Team Preparation: Panel Discussion with the Interpreters
  • Unit 10: Team Interpreting: Deaf Witness Testimony
  • Unit 11: Team Interpreting: Expert Witness Testimony
  • Unit 12: Team Interpreting: Application
  • Unit 13: Team Interpreting: Next Steps and Resources for Continued Professional Development

The workbook also includes activities using consecutive interpreting and note taking as well as how to interface with court personnel as part of the management of the interpreting process.

Teams In Action Workbook

The Videos

The videos include scenes of court proceeding involving witnesses testimony with direct and cross examination. A meeting between the Guardian ad Litem and the Deaf child is also included. 

The Teams In Action workbook and videos are organized around the specific aspects of the court proceeding that were filmed. The interpretation of the court proceeding is not provided in its entirety. Instead, each video and the corresponding workbook unit focuses on the work of multiple teams engaged in interpreting the same scenario. Thus, learning is promoted, not only from an analysis of each team individually, from the analysis of all teams collectively.

The Teams In Action materials are not intent to provide model interpretations for a court proceeding. The goal is to show how experienced practitioners interpreted different scenarios, and to examine the strategies they used to manage the demands of the interpreting process.

Meeting: Guardian ad Litem & Deaf Child (Interpreting Team 1)

Interpreting Preparation Meeting: Team 1

Deaf Witness Testimony: Father (Interpreting Team 2)

Deaf Witness Testimony: Mother (Interpreting Team 1)

Expert Witness Testimony: Psychologist (Interpreting Team 1)

Expert Witness Testimony: Psychologist (Student View)

Expert Witness Testimony: Psychologist (Interpreting Team 4)

Expert Witness Testimony: Psychologist (Interpreting Team 3)


University of Northern Colorado - Mid-America Regional Interpreter Education Center. (2014). Institute on legal interpreting (ILI): Highly effective court interpreting teams in action workbook

Grant Recognition

The contents of the Project CLIMB website was developed under a grant (#H160D160001) from the Department of Education. The contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education. Do not assume endorsement by the Federal government.

As of December 31, 2021, this grant project is no longer active or soliciting applications.
This website will remain available as a resource.

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