Volume 1 ~ November 2009

ISSN # 2150-5772 – The articles are the intellectual property of the authors and CIT. If you wish to use an article in your teaching or in another format, please credit the authors and the CIT International Journal of Interpreter Education.

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Editorial: The Real Voyage of Discovery

Volume 1 ~ November 2009

ISSN # 2150-5772 – This article is the intellectual property of the authors and CIT. If you wish to use this article in your teaching or in another format, please credit the authors and the CIT International Journal of Interpreter Education.

Editorial: The Real Voyage of Discovery

Jemina Napier, Editor 1
Macquarie University, Australia

Download PDF of Editorial 

Many readers are familiar with metaphorical descriptions of previous definitions of the interpreter’s conduit role, equating interpreters with telephones, bridges, channels of communication, and so forth (Frishberg, 1990; Solow, 1981). However, they are no longer used, as metaphorical analogies can be restrictive in considering the role of the interpreter (Roy, 1993).

The interpreting process has also been described in analogical terms by mechanistically comparing interpreting practice to machine processing, involving a process of decoding, analysis, and re-coding of language (Moser, 1978). It was later argued that this description was an over-simplistic way of examining the interpreting process, as other psycho-, socio-, extra-, and para-linguistic factors need to be taken into account, along with social, cultural, psychological, environmental, and physiological demands (Pöchhacker, 2004). Although we have “moved beyond the code model” (Turner, 2009), a mechanistic analogy may still be appropriate in representing the complex triad of an interpreter-mediated dialogue, in which the interpreter is involved in co-constructing the meaning of a message. Turner suggests that three inter-dependent cogs of an engine represent the three participants in the triad and illustrates the uptake of meaning by each interlocutor. Although the use of metaphor or analogy may be limited in its usefulness for the analysis of the interpreting role or process, these methods can still be worthy linguistic tools for the reflection and (sometimes humorous!) introspection of the translation and interpretation profession and practice. For example, Turner (2007) used analogy to metaphorically equate signed language translation and interpreting with the Wright brothers’ feat of flying a plane for 12 seconds over 37 meters. In the same way that their aircraft left terra firma, Turner stated that the signed language translation and interpreting profession was being launched into a new era, with the publication of more research in the field.

I have also used metaphor in the title of a forthcoming chapter that I am writing:  If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?  The merits of publishing interpreting research. If researchers are investigating aspects of interpreting, but are not publishing their findings, how can we benefit from the research? Likewise, if interpreter educators are reflecting on and evaluating their teaching, and not publishing their reflections, how can the quality of interpreter education improve?

Furthermore, in an invited oration to the Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association (ASLIA National) conference (Napier, 2006a), I posited that there is an analogy between signed language interpreting and Star Trek, discussing how mentoring is vital to support the “next generation” of interpreters. I used a range of well known quotes from Star Trek episodes to demonstrate (a) how interpreting can be exciting, challenging, and confronting and (b) that the professional interpreting association and experienced practitioners have a role in supporting novice interpreters as they enter into (and as they stay in) the profession.

Essentially, my point is that we all have a responsibility to take newer interpreters by the hand and guide them, encourage them, mentor them. We should have faith in the next generation of interpreters; by educating them, guiding them, and mentoring them, they should be better interpreters than we are, and we should “make it so.” This message applies to translators and interpreters of all languages.

I would also like to apply the same message to translation and to interpreting educators and researchers—that is, encouraging not only newer educators and researchers but also students and practitioners (both novice and experienced) who are interested in self-reflection as an action research process. We are still learning about the processes and products involved in translation and interpreting; thus, we still need further research from all perspectives.

The paradigm of translation and interpreting is now broader and much more encompassing, incorporating discussion of spoken and signed languages in a range of different contexts, using various research methodologies. We are witnessing more dialogue and collaboration among spoken and signed language interpreter researchers, which should be further encouraged (Shaw, 2006). For example, a recent conference was coordinated by Lessius University College and the University of North Florida and was hosted in Antwerp, Belgium on “Aptitude for Interpreting,” featuring presentations from signed and spoken language interpreting researchers. Speakers from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Austria, the Czech Republic, Belgium and Italy presented information about their own research on various screening tests used with interpreting students to ascertain how linguistic, cognitive or personality factors may predict potential proficiency and success as interpreters. These presentations generated thoughtful and critical debate on research methodology, data, the use of statistics, and the applicability of findings across languages and in interpreter education. 2 We also observed greater collaborations among spoken and signed language interpreter educators in delivering and evaluating interpreter education across languages (Mikkelson & Solow, 2002, 2005a, 2006b; Shaw, Grbic & Franklin, 2004). This partnership is evidenced by a new program that trains translator and interpreter educators in Australia; the program is open to educators of all languages. 3

Burgeoning relationships in interpreter education are conducive to joint research projects that focus on interpreter education and training. Research into interpreting practice and interpreter education go hand in hand. Research informs education, which in turn informs practice (Napier, 2005b). Hence, the International Journal of Interpreter Education plays a significant role in contributing to best practices in interpreter education. If the Wright brothers could take flight again, they would surely do so in a vehicle that incorporated lessons learned from the first flight, an enhanced understanding of aeronautics in general, and consideration of the potential implications for pilot training.

Interpreter education research enables us to explore how findings from interpreting research can be incorporated into the classroom. It provides us with the opportunity to compare educational outcomes with real-world expectations. It presents us with the challenge of identifying what else we need to know about interpreting in order to improve the education of interpreters. Interpreting education research can take many forms. It is a genuine multidisciplinary, multimethod domain of research, drawing on psychological, linguistic, sociological, and educational research disciplines. Educational research comprises (a) case studies, surveys, longitudinal evaluations, and action research; (b) analyses of teaching activities, program delivery, or assessment; and (c) critiques of applications of educational theory. Consideration can be given to, and drawn from, different stakeholders: practitioners, educators, students, researchers, consumers, service providers, societal institutions (e.g., government), and the educational institutions themselves.

To use metaphor once more, I borrow from the work of Angelelli (2004) who reports that some interpreter participants involved in her study likened their role to “diamond connoisseurs,” as they picked through the information (dirt) to discover the most salient and relevant particles (diamonds). As interpreter researchers, educators, and educational researchers, we too can forage through the soil for a range of jewels (skills, attributes, experience, technologies, methodologies) to create the most stunning necklace (ideal program structure/delivery) that other designers will want to replicate.

This new journal, the International Journal of Interpreter Education (IJIE), brings together spoken and signed language interpreter researchers and educators to discuss research, literature, and more important, ideas. The journal is a locus of debate where we can share our jewels and work together to design the perfect necklace. I encourage anyone teaching interpreters to consider submitting an article to the journal, whether it is based on empirical research, reflection or observation.

This particular issue comprises articles by signed language interpreting contributors, primarily influenced by the fact that the journal is published by the Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT), which has its roots in the delivery of American Sign Language/English Interpreting education. The topics discussed are broad ranging, and the editorial board consists of skilled interpreter educators and researchers who represent many different languages and communities. This first issue demonstrates the commitment of CIT, the board, and the editor to make IJIE all-inclusive for spoken and signed language interpreter educators alike. We encourage the sharing of research, ideas, and knowledge, in order to explore new dimensions in interpreter education and to launch the IJIE on a new journey of discovery!

This editorial provides me with the opportunity to establish a convention regarding the writing style of the journal. Many readers will be familiar with the fact that in deaf/signed language linguistics and interpreting literature the “D/d” convention is used to distinguish between members who use the signed language of a linguistic and cultural minority community (Deaf) and those who have a hearing loss but do not use sign language or identify themselves with this linguistic minority (deaf). 4 In developing a policy for this journal, I have decided not to adhere to this convention. Given the evolving nature of the deaf community due to medical advancements and changes in educational policy, 5  greater numbers of deaf people come to the community as late learners of signed language. Thus, definitions of deaf community membership are changing. In order to be inclusive rather than exclusive, the focus of this journal will be on the languages used and interpreting as social practice with empowered and disempowered communities in both conference and community contexts. No judgment is made about the hearing and linguistic identity or status of people who use a signed language. If articles are submitted that refer to deaf people or the deaf community, all references to deafness will be edited so as not to distinguish between Deaf/deaf.

I would like to acknowledge the work of the CIT journal committee in laying the groundwork for the establishment of this journal and for bringing me on board as editor. These people include Annette Miner (CIT Board Liaison), Suzanne Ehrlich-Martin and Len Roberson (Co-Chairs), Kimberly Hale, Brenda Nicodemus, and Sherry Shaw. I would like to recognize the hard work of Annette Miner, the CIT Director of Research and Publications, in organizing the logistics of the journal publication and for her liaison between myself and the CIT board. Doug Bowen-Bailey deserves special thanks for his support in working on the IJIE homepage and developing the online version of the journal, including library subscriptions.

This is the inaugural volume of IJIE, and we welcome feedback from our readers as to the style, content, and scope of the journal. Future plans for the journal include publication on an annual (rather than biennial) basis, and a section dedicated to the emerging research of new interpreter educator scholars. As demand increases, we hope to publish more often, with special volume themes. There is now a rolling call for manuscripts, so please consider submitting an article and assisting us on the journey of discovery regarding interpreter education.

Revisiting the Star Trek theme and their voyage of discovery. . . . What is our final frontier? We should boldly go and disseminate, discuss, and dissect interpreter education and research. There are always new ways of looking at things. This relatively new field of research requires us to open our eyes and really look at what we are doing. So I would like to end with a quote from Marcel Proust (1871?­1922), which I feel sums up this new journey:

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”


Angelelli, C. (2004). Revisiting the interpreter’s role: A study of conference, court, and medical interpreters in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Bauman, D. H-L. (Ed.), (2007). Open your eyes: Deaf studies talking. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Frishberg, N. (1990). Interpreting: An introduction (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: RID Publications.
Johnston, T. (2006). W(h)ither the Deaf community? Population, genetics and the future of Auslan (Australian Sign Language). Sign Language Studies, 6(2), 137?­173.
Johnston, T., & Schembri, A. (2007). Australian Sign Language (Auslan): An introduction to sign linguistics. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Lane, H., Hoffmeister, R., & Bahan, B. (1996). A journey into the DEAF-WORLD. San Diego, CA: Dawn Sign Press.
Mikkelson, H., & Solow, S. N. (2002). Report from the front-lines: Multilingual training-of-trainers for refugee interpreters. Paper presented at the New Designs in Interpreter Education: Proceedings of the Fourteenth Convention of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers, Minneapolis St Paul, MN.
Moser, B. (1978). Simultaneous interpretation: A hypothetical model and its practical application. In H. W. S. D. Gerver (Ed.), Language interpretation and communication (pp. 353­­?368). New York, NY: Plenum Press.
Napier, J. (2005a). Training sign language interpreters in Australia: An innovative approach. Babel, 51, 1­17.
Napier, J. (2005b). Linguistic features and strategies of interpreting: From research to education to practice. In M. Marschark, R. Peterson & E. Winston (Eds.), Sign language interpreting and interpreter education: Directions for research and practice (pp. 84?­111). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Napier, J. (2006a, August). Mentoring: Exploring perceptions and possibilities. Keynote J. W. Flynn ration presented to the Conference of the Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association, Perth, Western Australia.
Napier, J. (2006b). Educating interpreters in Australia: A blended approach. In C. B. Roy (Ed.), New approaches in teaching interpreters, p. 67-103. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.
Pöchhacker, F. (2004). Introducing interpreting studies. London: Routledge.
Roy, C. B. (1993). The problem with definitions, descriptions, and the role metaphors of interpreters. Journal of Interpretation, 6, 127?­154.
Senghas, R. J., & Monaghan, L. (2002). Signs of their times: Deaf communities and the culture of language. Annual Review of Anthropology, 31, 69?97.
Shaw, S. (2006). Launching international collaboration for interpretation research. Sign Language Studies, 6(4), 438-453.
Shaw, S., Grbic, N., & Franklin, K. (2004). Applying language skills to interpretation. Interpreting, 6(1), 69?100.
Solow, S. N. (1981). Sign language interpreting: A basic resource book. Silver Spring, MD: National Association of the Deaf.
Stewart, D., Schein, J., & Cartwright, B. E. (1998). Sign language interpreting: Exploring its art and science. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Sutton-Spence, R., & Woll, B. (1998). The linguistics of British Sign Language. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Turner, G. H. (2007). 37 Metres in 12 Seconds: Sign language translation and interpreting leave “terra firma.” The Sign Language Translator and Interpreter, 1(1), 1?14.
Turner, G. H. (2009, July). Navigating our way out of conflict: Exploring the pragmatics of dialogue interpreting between speech and sign. Paper presented on behalf of G.H. Turner, K. Pollitt, G. Quinn, B. Davies, & A. Merrison at Mediation and Conflict: Translation and Culture in a Global Context: Third Conference of the International Association of Translation and Interpreting Studies, Melbourne, Australia.

1 Correspondence to: CITjournaleditor@gmail.com

4 See for example, Bauman (2007); Johnston and Schembri (2007); Lane, Hoffmeister and Bahan (1996); Senghas and Monaghan (2002);  Stewart, Schein and Cartwright (1998); Sutton-Spence and Woll (1998).

5 See articles Johnston (2006) and respondents in a special edition of Sign Language Studies

Research Articles

The Ontological Beliefs and Curriculum Design of Canadian Interpreter and ASL Educators

The Ontological Beliefs and Curriculum Design of Canadian Interpreter and ASL Educators

Campbell McDermid1
George Brown College, Canada


This study involved interviews with Canadian educators in the fields of interpreter training and American Sign Language (ASL), which were conducted within a qualitative framework to explore their ontological beliefs concerning curriculum design. Questions posed included how their curriculum was fashioned and the nature of course delivery. Eisner’s (2002) three curricula (i.e., explicit, implied, and null) were used as a framework to interpret the findings. The educators typically designed their curricula in-house and followed a “Designing a Curriculum” methodology (Mitchell, 1983). Most educators, however, did not mention the inclusion of representatives from the field, a curriculum expert, or a literature review, all of which are recommended by Sinnett (1976). Because some participants described a lack of documentation or the need to redesign resources, there existed an ad hoc quality to curriculum construction that made a scaffolding approach to teaching and learning problematic. The continued existence of disparate teaching resources, subject specialization, and lack of curricular integration could lead to educational silos and having separate language and interpretation programs in one department.

Keywords: education; curriculum; ontology; ASL; sign language; Deaf

1 Correspondence to; cmcdermid@rogers.com

Characteristics of an Interpreted Situation with Multiple Participants

Characteristics of an Interpreted Situation with Multiple Participants: Implications for Pedagogy

Masato Takimoto 1
Monash University, Australia

By examining a naturalistic interpreted situation with a number of participants, this paper identifies and considers the distinctiveness of such a context. With an increased number of participants, the interaction becomes highly complex, and an interpreter is required to undertake functions that may be considered additional to or different from an interpreter-mediated interaction with two primary interlocutors. Such additional tasks consist of the management of information, including reporting and summarizing, and monitoring the participants’ information needs. In order to analyze the complex nature of the interaction, the notion of footing is employed as a theoretical framework. These findings have important implications for interpreting pedagogy. Recommendations for interpreter education and training include the promotion of students’ awareness of similarly complex interpreting situations.

Keywords: interpreting; multiparty interpreting; footing; third person; reporting; pedagogy

One Interpreter Education Program, Two Sites: A Comparison of Factors and Outcomes

One Interpreter Education Program, Two Sites: A Comparison of Factors and Outcomes

Karen Petronio 1 and Kimberly Hale
Eastern Kentucky University, United States

The past decade has seen an increase in the number of 4-year signed language interpreter education programs in the United States. However, there has been no corresponding increase in research that investigates the factors contributing to student success in these programs. As a start in examining possible factors, this article provides a longitudinal case study of 1 program that ran concurrently at 2 sites over a 10-year period. Although both sites used the same curriculum, had qualified faculty, and required the same prerequisites, the data show that 1 site had consistently higher graduation rates and a higher percentage of graduates achieving national signed language interpreter certification. In comparing the 2 sites, several factors are described that may be related to higher student outcomes. We conclude by proposing that the higher outcomes at the 1 site are influenced by not just 1 factor, but by a combination of factors that together provided students with a more intense experience with a higher degree of engagement.

Keywords: interpreter education program; interpreter training program, 4-year degree; bachelor’s degree; longitudinal case study; student outcomes; signed language interpreting

1Correspondence to: Karen.Petronio@eku.edu.


The Experiential Learning Theory and Interpreter Education

The Experiential Learning Theory and Interpreter Education

Jessica Bentley-Sassaman 1
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, USA

Learning to become an interpreter is a hands-on and interactive experience. Students entering an interpreting program have a wide variety of language skill levels and backgrounds. In the context of American Sign Language (ASL)/English interpreter education, some students arrive at an interpreting program with no knowledge of ASL, whereas others have more experience and some proficiency with the language. Even though some of the students may be familiar with ASL, the process of interpreting is often a new skill set. As students learn how to interpret through hands-on practice, they follow a 4-mode learning cycle that is based on their experiences. D.A. Kolb (1984) developed the experiential learning theory (ELT), which is grounded in the experiences of the learner. This article focuses on how interpreting students learn, using the experiential learning cycle. Although this commentary is directed at students, the learning cycle can be applied to mentoring programs, and working interpreters can use it for life-long learning.

Keywords: experiential learning theory; interpreting students; learning cycle; reflective practice; mentoring; interpreter education program

1 Correspondence to: jbentley@bloomu.edu

Modifying Instruction in the Deaf Interpreting Model

Modifying Instruction in the Deaf Interpreting Model

Carla M. Mathers 1
Hyattsville, Maryland, USA

While there is much current discussion of the use of deaf interpreters, in practice, deaf interpreters in the United States are generally used for a small segment of the population and typically confined to legal settings. The use of a deaf interpreter paired with an interpreter who can hear, in an ancillary or supporting role, is a reasonable accommodation in a variety of settings, for a variety of deaf individuals, and with a variety of interpreters who can hear. Interpreter education programs need to develop or revise their curricula to incorporate the discrete tasks as performed by deaf interpreters. Research-based curricula need to address how to instruct deaf interpreters in the mechanics of interpreting and instruct non-deaf interpreters in how to acknowledge the contributions of, and negotiate for, deaf interpreters. The statutory scheme in the United States provides a model that can be incorporated into education programs to effectively advocate for including deaf interpreters as an integral part of the interpreting team accommodation.

Keywords: deaf interpreters; court interpreting; reasonable accommodation; statutory standards; common law standards

1 Correspondence to: Carla.Mathers@gmail.com.

Accessibility to Theater for Deaf and Deaf-Blind People

Accessibility to Theater for Deaf and Deaf-Blind People: Legal, Language and Artistic Considerations

Brian R. Kilpatrick1
Lone Star College System, North Harris, United States

Jean Andrews
Lamar University, United States

Without accessibility, theater can be meaningless to the deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind consumers. As part of a larger study conducted by B. Kilpatrick (2007), the authors interviewed 38 participants who have been professionally involved in deaf children’s theater as to their opinions related to theater accessibility options. Their responses bring forward for discussion options ranging from English text-based accessibility, the closest to the English language, to shadow interpreting, which provides accessibility closest to the play being delivered in full in American Sign Language. Using historical research methods, semi-structured and structured interviews, open-ended questions, archival materials, and published documents on theater interpreting, the authors provide a descriptive commentary about accessibility options based on legal, language and artistic considerations. Following these descriptions, the authors recommend that interpreter training programs include theater interpretation techniques.

Keywords: theatrical interpreting; script translation; interpreter training; interpreter certification; deaf studies; accessibility; theater; sign language; deaf theater; deaf-blind.

Sign Language Interpreting: A Human Rights Issue

Sign Language Interpreting: A Human Rights Issue

Hilde Haualand 1
Fafo Institute of Labor and Social Research, Norway
World Federation of the Deaf and the Swedish National Association of the Deaf

Viewed as isolated cases, sign language interpreters facilitate communication between 1 or more people. Viewed broadly, sign language interpreting may be seen as a tool to secure the human rights of sign language using deaf people. To fulfill this goal, interpreters must be provided with proper training and work according to a code of ethics. A recent international survey of 93 countries, mostly in the developing world (H. Haualand & C. Allen, 2009), found that very few respondents had an established sign language interpreter service, formal education and training opportunities for interpreters, or an endorsed code of ethics to regulate the practice of interpreters in their country. As a consequence of these limitations in the interpreting field around the world, there is potential for deaf people’s human rights to be violated. In this article, the accessibility and training of sign language interpreters are discussed from a human rights point of view within the context of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and a snapshot of the previously unexplored interpreting scene in various countries around the world is given.

Keywords: human rights; Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities; accessibility; interpreter education; code of ethics;  developing countries

1Correspondence to: hilde.haualand@fafo.no.

Open Forum

Interview with a Scholar: In Conversation with Risa Shaw

Interview with a Scholar: In Conversation with Risa Shaw

Debra L. Russell1
University of Alberta, Canada
Risa Shaw2
Gallaudet University, USA

This open forum article consists of an interview with Risa Shaw, a signed language interpreter educator, in which she reviews her doctoral research. Her study examined narratives and retellings, in both English and American Sign Language, of disclosures to family members of sexual assault. The findings reveal the importance of context in creating meaning and in shaping narrative structure in discourse. In addition, the work highlights the manner in which interpreters must prepare for the work in order to effectively interpret in the diverse settings where narratives are retold. This interdisciplinary study has implications for interpreters and interpreter educators, across languages and cultures, in terms of how the task of interpreting is conceptualized and taught. Finally, the article draws attention to some of the crucial issues that researchers must attend to when conducting linguistic studies that draw on knowledge from non-dominant linguistic communities.

Keywords: interpreters and interpreter education; meaning-in-context; narratives and retellings; American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English; sibling sexual abuse

1 Correspondence to: debra.russell@ualberta.ca

2 Correspondence to: Risa.Shaw@Gallaudet.edu

Dissertation Abstracts

Dissertation Abstracts

Volume 1 ~ November 2009

ISSN # 2150-5772 – This article is the intellectual property of the authors and CIT. If you wish to use this article in your teaching or in another format, please credit the authors and the CIT International Journal of Interpreter Education.

Dissertation Abstracts

In order to inform our readers of current research on translator and interpreter education and training, we will regularly feature abstracts of recently completed doctoral theses in each issue. If you have recently finished a master’s or PhD thesis in this field and would like it to be included, please send an abstract of 200-300 words, along with details of the institution where the thesis was completed, the year in which it was submitted, and a contact email address. Submissions should be sent to Dissertation Abstracts Section Editor, Carol Patrie, at carol.patrie@gmail.com.

The Use of Prosodic Markers to Indicate Utterance Boundaries in American Sign Language Interpretation

Brenda Nicodemus, PhD
San Diego State University, USA. Email: bnicodemus@projects.sdsu.edu
Degree:PhD dissertation, University of New Mexico, 2007

This study examines the characteristics of prosodic markers used at phrasal and sentence boundaries in American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation. Five highly skilled interpreters were videotaped as they interpreted a spoken English lecture into ASL. Fifty deaf participants viewed one of the videotaped interpretations and indicated perceived boundaries in the interpreted discourse. These identified points were then examined for the presence of prosodic markers that might be responsible for the perception of a boundary. This dissertation reports on the characteristics of the markers including their frequency, number, duration, and timing. The examination suggests that the production of markers is limited to a specific inventory of behaviors that occur with varying degrees of frequency. The production of multiple prosodic markers at the boundary locations was the most common pattern and may occur in order to accommodate the perceptual needs of the viewer. Given that often seven or more markers were produced within a two-second interval and that the duration of each was approximately one-half to one second, it was anticipated that most of the markers would be produced in a simultaneous or overlapping manner. In fact, nearly one-third of the markers were produced sequentially, but the precise timing of the production of the markers enabled multiple markers to occur in a short space of time. The duration of the most frequent markers from each prosodic category was from approximately one-half to one full second. The duration may reflect the size of the musculature being used during production or the salience of each marker in cueing the viewer to the location of a boundary. This study provides further evidence that there are universals in prosodic systems across language modalities by demonstrating that chunking language into phrasal and sentence units occurs in a visual language modality, as it does in spoken languages. The “amodal” nature of boundaries across languages provides additional insights into language processing, memory, and the importance of prosodic structure.

Sign Language Linguistic Proficiency Testing: The Possibilities for Libras Interpreters

Maria Cristina Pires Pereira
Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Brazil. Email:
Degree: Masters dissertation, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, 2008

This is a dissertation on language proficiency testing as applied to hearing, signed language interpreters at the beginning of their professional careers. Due to the diversity of instruments, proceedings, and conceptions of what must be assessed in signed language interpreters (SLI), an investigation of language proficiency testing and the distinction between translation proficiency and professional certification is needed, as well as when it is the most appropriate time to apply specific testing during the various phases of the interpreters’ training and professional practice. The theoretical basis of this work includes (a) the distinction between language proficiency and language fluency, (b) the evolution of the proficiency concept, (c) language testing, and (d) a general view of signed language translation and interpreting. The signed language testing that is examined in this study comprises those explicitly labeled as “proficiency tests” and professional/selection tests that comprise signed language proficiency features, even if they are not named as such.  With this in mind, two selection tests used in signed language interpreting training courses have been analyzed.  These selection tests were administered in Rio Grande do Sul, and included the National Libras Proficiency Examination from the Education Ministry (Prolibras), and the Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) from the United States of America. To investigate the competencies of signed language interpreters that would be evaluated, considering test raters points of view, a signed language selection simulation was done. That simulation pointed to the attributes that potential deaf and hearing raters considered to be relevant in signing as the best proficiency boundary for the beginning of signed language interpreters’ professional careers, as well as the features that disqualify test takers based on language performance. Based on the data obtained, proposals are made for the improvements in current signed language testing.

The History of American Sign Language Interpreting Education

Carolyn Ball
William Woods University, USA. Email: cball@williamwoods.edu
Degree: PhD dissertation, Capella University, 2007

The American Sign Language interpreter education field has a rich history that is largely undocumented. Although other educational programs, such as nursing and teaching, have recorded histories, American Sign Language interpreter education in the United States does not. This study provides a chronological history, drawn from the records of several organizations and dating back as far as the eighteenth century, as well as information obtained during interviews with key practitioners. It also provides the profession of interpreter education a full review of the key theories and practitioners, as well as the social, political, and legal perspectives that have influenced the development of the interpreter education field. Recommendations for changes in curricular design are included.

Complete Version of the Journal

The listing below has the complete articles as well as an opportunity to download a PDF version of each article or the complete journal.