Case Conference Guidelines

Suggestions for Preparing a Case

These are suggestions based on my experience of helping to facilitate case conferences.  It is based strongly on the Demand-Control Schema as developed by Robyn Dean and Robert Pollard.  (See more on the DC-S here.)


General Principles:

  • Case conferencing is about improving our practice.  While it may be interpreters talking to each other, we need to keep at the forefront or discussion how this benefits the people with whom we work.
  • Describe the case in a non-evaluative manner.  Share the facts of what happened and specific observations. Do not include judgements and conclusions.
  • Be as discreet as possible in sharing identifying information.  If possible, check with those involved to ask for their permission in sharing the case as a situation from which to learn with colleagues.
  • Be accountable.  This process is not only about looking at our role, but also our responsibilities.  (Dean & Pollard, 2011)  The person presenting the case is the one who determines where dilemmas exist.  You will learn from your colleagues in the discussion, but it is vital for the discussion that you acknowledge that you have the greatest insight into the situation because you were there.  This is not about simply looking at the choices of the interpreter but also looking at the consequences for all participants.

What to Consider:

  • The Participants:  Share who was involved in the case.  If relevant, include:
    • Demographic information:  age, gender, race, ethnicity, hearing status/identity, language, education
    • Relationship between participants, including balance of power
  • The Purpose/Goal(s) of the interaction
    • Recognize different participants may have different purposes or goals for being present
  • The Setting:
    • Description of the physical environment and the logistical set-up;
    • Any other stimulus (e.g. visual aids, music, background noise) that affects the dynamics
  • Duration and frequency of interaction

What to Present:

  • Demands, Controls, Consequences & Resulting Demands
  • Share the points in the interaction that represented the dilemma for you as the interpreter
  • Use DC-S dialogic work analysis (Dean & Pollard, 2011)
    • What were the constellation of demands?  (Identify both main & concurrent)
      • Environmental, Interpersonal (most commonly main), Paralinguistic, or Intrapersonal
    • What controls were used?
      • Where did they fit on the conservative to liberal continuum?
    • What were the consequences?
    • What were the resulting demands?

Your Reflections:

  • What role-space was occupied implementing different controls?
  • How did you align with the participants?
  • What degree of influence did you exert over the interaction between participants?
  • What level of presentation of self did you use?
  • What questions were generated by your experience in this case?
  • What is your sense of the perceptions of the participants about the interaction?
  • What did you learn from this case that you will apply to your future practice?
  • What information can your colleagues provide you that can help clarify the issues in this case?


  • Dean & Pollard, 2011.  “Context-based Reasoning in interpreting” in The Interpreter and Translator Trainer 5(1), 155-182.
  • Lee & Llwellyn-Jones, 2014. Redefining the Role of the Community Interpreter:  The concept of role-space.  Lincoln, UK:  SLI Press.

Posted in: "Exploring Emerging Paradigms" Resources, Case Conferencing Resources