Rebecca Buchan, an American Sign Language (ASL) professor, gave a workshop last Saturday about how the Myers Briggs personality test improves ASL interpretation.

After each of the 67 participants in the workshop had taken a self-selecting Myers Briggs personality test and the 16 different personality types were explained, Buchan charted new territory. She explained that understanding the different personality types has many benefits.

Understanding personality types and how that connects with interpreting improves the relationships of those in an interpreting team. This happens when the teammates are able to recognize the tendencies (both the strengths and weaknesses) of the team and how they can better work together.

Naturally, interpretation comes more easily for some than others. By understanding her own personality type, Buchan said that she is able to be a more successful interpreter.

Often interpreters have a mentoring relationship with an older, more experienced interpreter. These mentoring relationships are often enhanced when each of the participants, especially the mentee, understand their personality type.

Buchan previously worked for a video relay company for the Deaf community called Sorenson Communications. She always had an interest in the Myers Briggs personality types. When Buchan found an article that connected her interpretation work to Myers Briggs, she wrote a proposal for her company, became certified in teaching Myers Briggs, and has been developing workshops ever since. Buchan is one of the first in her field to make this connection. “I feel like a pioneer,” she said.

For those interested, Buchan will offer this workshop next fall at the Region III Indiana Chapter Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (ICRID).