What is professional supervision?
Professional supervision provides a safe space for an individual or a group of individuals to reflect on their work in a confidential environment. It should be led by the supervisee with the supervisor facilitating the session to enable them to explore different perspectives, to gain an understanding of why choices were made in a particular situation, and to explore their role within that dynamic and the effect it had on them and/or others.
Often after an assignment, you may feel like you are left with something you can't quite understand and feel quite heavy from it, possibly questioning decisions made (with positive or negative results), often leading to these emotions being taken home and affecting your home life. Supervision is a space where you can bring those feelings to offload, explore and unpack. Supervision is also a place to bring the positives and to gain praise and insight from exploring these issues.
Supervision is on an ongoing basis (usually every 4-6 weeks) and tends to look more at the decisions made, along with the inter- and intra- personal relationships and dilemmas that can occur when interpreting. It is not focussed on the skills of interpreting, which would be more of a mentoring role.
How can I access professional supervision?
Members can access professional supervision from qualified supervisors. Ensure you ask about a contracting meeting to explore if your supervisor is right for you and if you feel comfortable with that supervisor ahead of beginning sessions. Bear in mind that if you want a professional supervisor who is an interpreter of colour, the choices are limited at this time but we are hoping this changes in the future. Refer to for a comprehensive list of interpreter supervisors.
You may want to look outside the profession, in which case is a resource for Supervisors who come from the counselling profession.
Training as a professional supervisor
There is currently a lack of qualified professional supervisors in the interpreting profession who identify as a person of colour. It is one of our aims to find out why this is the case, as well as endeavour to promote inclusivity and representation of the reality of the multicultural society we live in.
IOCN is keen to support our experienced members to train as professional supervisors so that future generations of interpreters of colour have access to appropriate support within the profession.
If anyone is interested in or has any more questions about professional supervision or training as a professional supervisor, IOCN can put you in contact with someone to answer those queries.