Paul Panusky is an American Sign Language/English Interpreter, Georgia registered civil and domestic neutral, national presenter, and law student at Georgia State College of Law, graduating May 2019.
After graduating from Temple University in 2003 with a bachelor’s in psychology, Paul began to learn American Sign Language and earned an associate’s in applied science in ASL/English Interpreting from the Community College of Philadelphia. Paul then began interpreting in a variety of settings including, business meetings, medical and mental health appointments, and political rallies. In 2008, Paul earned a specialist certification in legal/court interpreting (SC:L) and is one of only 338 interpreters in the country, and one of only eleven in the state of Georgia to hold an SC:L.
Paul’s main areas of focus are courtroom interpreting, attorney/client meetings, and consultation. He has interpreted for a variety of criminal and civil cases at both the state and federal level. He has presented at national interpreter conferences, the Department of Justice, and national conferences for attorneys on legal topics ranging from the interpreter’s role to discourse analysis.
This discussion will begin with general points and examples about ethical considerations and boundaries that apply to all fields of interpreting: medical, educational, legal, etc. It will then pivot to focus on the serious issues relating to the field of legal interpreting and the changing nature of the role of interpreters and the need for proper staffing of multiple interpreters.
A common issue faced amongst interpreters when staffing a court assignment is the pushback from consumers and the court. This push back often includes a phrase almost all interpreters struggle to overcome, “but that’s not how other interpreters do it.” This can be quite difficult to deal with when those other interpreters are ones of the same medium, i.e. spoken language and spoken language or sign language and sign language. It complicates matters even further when the comparison is of interpreters outside our medium, i.e. a sign language and spoken language. While the languages and mediums may differ, the ethical and consequential considerations of our work are very much the same.
Proper staffing of assignments is crucial to ensuring the consumers have access to each other. This is especially true in the courtroom where defendants, witnesses, attorneys, and jurors may require different considerations when being provided an interpreter. The importance of the role of Interpreter for Counsel formally known as a Table Interpreter is one that seems to allude many interpreters, both spoken and signed languages alike. This presentation will explain the key differences between a Proceedings Interpreter and an Interpreter for Counsel, as well as the ethical considerations which require their delineation.