Donna Bailey

Donna Bailey

Master of Language and Culture student

What exactly is the role of a New Zealand Video Interpreting Service interpreter? That is the interesting topic Donna Bailey is exploring through her Master of Language and Culture.

“I’ve been working as a video interpreter for the New Zealand Video Interpreting Service since 2011, and was interested in doing research related to my field of work to develop my understanding further. This is a unique job, which is so far unresearched in New Zealand, and it made sense to record my experiences for future interpreters to learn from.

“I hope that the findings from my research will provide a deeper understanding and insight about the interpreter role to people who use the service, as well as for interpreters currently working in the field or entering the field in the future.”

Benefits of postgraduate study
She would recommend postgraduate study to anyone wanting further development, says Donna who was awarded a Kate Edgar scholarship for her first year of postgraduate study and a scholarship to attend a Language Analysis Summer School workshop in Christchurch.

“I feel wiser, I have a more in-depth understanding of what I do and I feel that studying has been challenging and stimulating for me. After 20 years of working in the profession, it could be easy to get comfortable and stop developing, so it was great to instead extend my learning.”

Her advice for other students is simple – just commit to it.

“It’ easy to come up with excuses not to do further study, but if you just commit and do it, it’s worthwhile and rewarding.”

Supported to thrive
Combining postgraduate study with the other demands on her life wasn’t always easy, Donna admits.

“For me, the biggest challenge was doubting my own ability. I asked my lecturers when I wasn’t sure, and always found them to be supportive, patient and genuinely wanting me to do well. At times, I found it difficult to manage family commitments, work and study. Fortunately, AUT was flexible and enabled me to study part-time, and take leave when it was needed.”

Expecting to complete her master’s degree at the end of 2020, Donna already has a clear idea what she wants to do next.

“I will definitely continue to work as a New Zealand Sign Language interpreter – I love what I do. I’ve also started working part-time as a lecturer at AUT, which was an opportunity offered to me as a direct result of my study.”