TSID Conference
June 23, 2012
Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
Before we get started I would like
you to take a few minutes to list the
hard and the soft skills you possess.
Hard Skills
• Technical or administrative procedures related
to an organization’s core business.
• The primary skills that are needed to perform
a particular job.
• Specific, teachable abilities that can be
defined or measured.
• Concrete areas of knowledge and abilities
Hard skills
• are acquired through education and training.
• are easier to learn because most of the time
the skills sets are brand new to the learner
and no unlearning is involved.
• also include your academic degrees, pertinent
licensees, certification .
• may make a person a subject matter expert.
Hard Skills
• Technical or administrative procedures
• Office Software (Word, Excel, Access,
• Second Language fluency
• Project Management
• Financial Procedures
• Business Communication/Writing
• Web Design
Interpreting Hard Skills
•ASL / English fluency
•ASL to English and
English to ASL
Soft Skills
• Behaviors and characteristics that employees
demonstrate unconsciously and routinely
(Daytona Beach Community College)
• Learned through practice and experience (DDI
• Personal and interpersonal behaviors that
develop and maximize human performance
• The accumulation of life skills as they apply in
a business environment. (Trios College )
• Workplace standards of behavior needed to
interact and cooperate effectively with coworkers and the general public. (U.S.
Department of Labor)
Soft Skills
• Non- technical skills
• Someone’s personal culture – the framework of
individual beliefs , actions and behaviors.
• Include a wide variety of business skills
interaction with co-workers
professionalism and work ethic
critical thinking or problem solving
Interactions with Co-workers
• Networking
• Communication - sharing information with
• Teamwork/Collaboration
• Demonstrating Empathy
Professionalism and Work Ethic
• Dressing appropriately
• Integrity
• Optimism
• Enthusiasm/Motivation
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
• Ability to pull together data to solve a problem
• To develop a solution to the problem in a
reasonable manner
• To think outside the box to solve a problem
Soft Skills
• Usually learned from one’s parents
• Play an important role in how a person
responds to us.
• Usually fall under the category of “attitude”
• Relatively hard to evaluate and hard to teach.
Soft Skill Traits
•Tone of voice
•Common Sense
•Social graces
•Self discipline
•Self confidence
•Thick skinned
Interpreting Soft
•Positive attitude
•Works well with
their team/partner
•Communicates with
team, interpreter
•Able to effectively
negotiate with deaf
client, hearing client,
Group Activity
• Looking back think of 2 or 3 of your
interpreting/professional/ personal success
• List all the soft skills you used to create that
• Describe briefly the successes and what it
took to achieve it.
• Reviewing past successes is a great way to
help us explore and identify skills we take for
• It will also help us to recognize skills that we
may not be aware of until you see the same
skills appearing over and over again in very
different situations.
What do employers say
• Recent graduates often have strong technical
skills but need more non-technical training
• Lack of soft skills is the primary reason for
employee turnover
• Strong evidence concerning the impact of soft
skills on performance . A person with highly
developed soft skills far exceeds the average
• Emotional intelligence.
• Teams with agreeable and conscientious
workers are more productive.
• We are looking for employees who are fully
engaged in their job.
• The importance of soft skills in the work place
can’t be underestimated.
• Everyone likes to work with people they
What do deaf students say?
“My interpreter is great! Gives me the answers
on tests.”
“The interpreter is very skilled, but tries to be
my advocate. I can advocate for myself.”
“Lousy interpreter. Not warm and friendly.”
What do interpreters say?
Great Interpreter; Would not work
with him and I sure would not
hire him. He has a mean streak.
“She is an incredibly gifted
interpreter. She has great voicing
skills, ASL is superb, her people
skills are excellent, she is
professional and she has a Level
“She is a good interpreter, but she is
rigid about educational
interpreting. She can’t be
“She is always making excuses – it
gets old”
What do Administrators say?
She is a fabulous interpreter.
But, I can’t depend on her.
She is never on time”
“He may not be my most
skilled interpreter, but he is
my most mature one. What
he lacks skill-wise he makes
up for in attitude.”
“Fantastic interpreter. ASL to
English skills are exemplary
but he is known to break
What do Interpreter Coordinators say?
Interpreters that are too
needy, too demanding,
too rigid make me crazy”
“There are interpreters who
are good but just don’t
care - they are not
invested in the process,
the Deaf client or their
“Interpreters who do not
treat other interpreters
respectfully - I don’t want
to use them.”
What do Deaf people say?
• Dependable
• Trustworthy – keep
• Honest
• Friendly
• Sense of Humor
• Ethical
• Punctual
• Professional
• Good Manners
Leaders of all levels rely heavily on
their soft skills by:
Setting an example
Facilitating meetings
Encouraging innovation
Solving problems
Making decisions
Encouraging and
In closing
• People rarely get fired for poor knowledge,
but often people are let go because of a poor
attitude, laziness, or unwillingness to work
with others.
• Hard skills get you the interview
• Soft skills get you the job and the skills to keep
the job!
• What kind of an interpreter/employee are

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