Future Spanish sign language interpreters’ ethical training

Between deontology and teleology





sign language interpreting, ethics, deontology, teleology, training


Spanish Sign Language (LSE) interpreters’ professionalization is relatively recent. Since its inception, ethics and its regulation via codes of practice has been essential (De los Santos y Lara Burgos, 2004). At an international level, new models for analysing interpreters’ work, such as the Demand-Control Schema (Dean y Pollard, 2011, 2013) and the Role Space (Llewellyn-Jones y Lee, 2014), have had an important impact on academia, reshaping the ethical analysis framework and, thus, entailing that these professionals’ training is undergoing an upheaval. (efsli, 2013). Those models adopt a teleological approach to professional ethics, challenging the traditional deontological approach (Calle-Alberdi, 2015). This study examines the only university-level training programme for Spanish Sign Language interpreters in Spain, the Spanish Sign Language and Deaf Community Degree, at Rey Juan Carlos University. For this purpose, three case studies including ethical dilemmas have been proposed. These ethical dilemmas are related to the essential pillars of the deontological code created by the Spanish Federation of Sign Language Interpreters and Guide-Interpreters (FILSE, 2002), and have been presented to the aforementioned students. Semi-structured interviews were carried out and, bearing in mind their professional ethics reasoning patterns, conclusions have been drawn, presenting the way students apply the deontological code when making decisions. This initial study allows us to conclude that, in specific situations, students generate a dilemma between deontology and teleology, the latter being the approach suggested by the latest analysis’ frameworks. Nevertheless, it appears there is a need to foster deeper understanding of the new models during the training of future LSE interpreters.


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27. 12. 2021

How to Cite

González-Montesino, R. H., Calle-Alberdi, L., & Saavedra-Rodríguez, S. (2021). Future Spanish sign language interpreters’ ethical training: Between deontology and teleology. Verba Hispanica, 29(1), 53-76. https://doi.org/10.4312/vh.29.1.53-76