Logo of the International Journal of Interpreter Education (™)

Volume 9(2) ~ December 2017

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.

Complete Articles

Abstracts and PDFs

Click below for an abstract of the articles included in this volume as well as a link to download the article in PDF format.


Editorial: Interpreter Education Within and Outside of the Classroom

Editorial: Interpreter Education Within and Outside of the Classroom

George Major and Ineke Crezee, Co-Editors[1]
Auckland University of Technology

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Interpreting is “a living, evolving, and changing entity” which does not take place in a vacuum (Napier, 2005, p. 135). As interpreter educators, we should constantly be seeking new and innovative ways to expose students to situations that are as close as possible to real-life interpreting scenarios, with all of the contextual and discursive challenges that entails. In this second issue of Volume 9 of the International Journal of Interpreter Education, we explore the theme of situated learning, with a focus on the interpreting classroom.

Researchers across the education sector have been calling for less reliance on content transmission from lecturer to student, and more student-led learning opportunities that replicate real-life scenarios both within and outside of the classroom (Metzger, 2000; Roberts & Sayer 2017). Interpreters in their everyday work are akin to discourse analysts, who need sophisticated skills to assess context (language, participants, relationships, etc.) in order to guide their decision-making process (Major, Napier, & Stubbe, 2012).

In their 2016 specially themed issue of the Interpreter and Translator Trainer dedicated to situated learning approaches, María González Davies and Vanessa Enríquez Raído write: “Situated learning is generally understood as a context-dependent approach to translator and interpreter training under which learners are exposed to real-life and/or highly simulated work environments and tasks, both inside and outside the classroom” (p. 1). Similarly, Sawyer (2004, p. 60) includes “knowledge of the profession/professional identity” among four basic categories of skills to be included in interpreter education curricula. This fits the framework of situated cognition (Sawyer, 2004), which reflects the view that “all knowledge is fundamentally situated in the environment in which it was acquired” (Derry & Lesgold, 1996, p. 791). Arjona (1984, p. 4, as cited in Sawyer, 2004, p. 57) agrees and includes an “understanding by the student of issues and problems he/she is called upon to address in real life situations” as the first of four professional objectives of a course of study.

In our experience, many interpreter education programs already value learning in the community, for example through participation in community events, and practicum placements where student interpreters learn alongside professional interpreters, using and reflecting on their skills in a new environment. González Davies (2004) has long been a strong advocate of situated learning approaches in translator education, with students working on real life projects. Chouc and Conde (2016) reported on students responding to the experience of being placed in the interpreting booth during a live session of the Scottish parliament. Metzger (2000) outlines the use of role-plays in the interpreting classroom as a valuable approach to learning dynamic aspects of interpreter role, such as interactional management. Replicating real-life interactional and interpreting demands for student learning is not exactly a new idea, but interpreter education researchers (such as those with contributions in this volume) certainly suggest it could be explored more, and in new creative ways.

This issue contains several contributions describing a form of situated learning. We begin with articles describing opportunities for interpreting students to experience placements in the community, and to reflect on their role as future practitioners.

In our first research article, Carmen Valero-Garcés presents a case study on the internships undertaken by translation and interpreting students in the office of the Oficina de Asilo y Refugio (OAR) or Asylum and Refugee Office in Spain. She describes 125-hour internships completed by students in the OAR supervised by an academic and an institutional adviser. This form of situated learning allows students to gain first-hand experience of the type of professional activities and tasks translators and interpreters working at the OAR are involved in. Such internships may be organized in a range of work settings for interpreting students, such as educational settings, social work settings or specialized health settings, for example, with speech pathologists (cf. Crezee, 2015).

In the second research article, “Conquering the Interpreter’s Operational Space: Sign Language Interpreting Students and their Acculturation to Deafblind Clients,” Gro Hege Saltnes Urdal describes a form of situated learning involving undergraduate signed language interpreting students in Norway. Her artcle outlines focus group discussions during which students discussed how they felt working with deafblind clients influenced their evidence-based practice. This article supports the importance of reflective practice as discussed by Schön (1987), Dangerfield and Napier (2015), and Crezee and Burn (forthcoming). Placements of this nature, which combine situated cognition and reflective practice, require thorough preparation, university ethics committee and institutional review board approval, and consultation and collaboration with all concerned, but students benefit enormously from such approaches.

The Open Forum section contains two interviews and a book review. Phyllis Perrin Wilcox, professor emerita at the University of New Mexico (UNM), was instrumental in establishing a Baccalaureate degree program in signed language interpreting at UNM. In an interview with Anita Nelson-Julander, she describes her experiences in seeking to attain Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) accreditation for the program at UNM, the impact of accreditation, and advice she has for other interpreter educators who may be considering this goal. Our second interview in this issue focuses on the work of experienced conference interpreter and interpreter trainer Maya de Witt, particularly at an international level. Maya is based in the Netherlands and was interviewed by Esther de Boe. Maya shares her journey to becoming an interpreter and interpreter trainer, as well as her experience working in international sign and her role in curriculum development in Europe.

Debra Russell presents a review of the book Consecutive Notetaking and Interpreter Training, edited by Yasumasa Someya and published by Routledge. The book collects papers from a 2015 symposium dedicated to the theory and pedagogy of note-taking. The book includes Michaela Albl-Mikasa’s cognitive-linguistic model of consecutive interpreting, which was previously published only in German and is now accessible to a more international audience.

The Dissertation Abstracts section includes summaries of theses on topics of interest to both signed and spoken language interpreters/translators and educators. Marina Sánchez-Torrón’s PhD thesis reports on two empirical studies involving professional English to Spanish translators. Rachel Mapson’s PhD thesis explores the way in which im/politeness is interpreted from British Sign Language into spoken English, and how contextual considerations influence interpreters’ decision making. Finally, Delys Magill’s MA thesis examines New Zealand Sign Language interpreters’ perspectives on the challenges of healthcare interpreting.

This issue of the International Journal of Interpreter Education brings together the work of interpreter educators, scholars, and practitioners, with a focus on exploring new ways for situated learning in interpreter education and furthering “learners’ capacity to think and act like professionals” (González Davies & Enríquez Raído, 2016, p. 1).

Thinking ahead to our two volumes planned for 2018, we would like to remind our readers that IJIE has a rolling call for manuscripts. We welcome contributions any theme relevant to interpreter education, so the journal can continue to provide a platform for sharing insights with colleagues globally. We invite a range of contributions for research articles and commentary, dissertation abstracts, book reviews, interviews, and teaching reflections. Please also alert your research students to the possibility of submitting a manuscript to the student work section of IJIE.

Emma Roberts and Karen Sayer (2017) encourage us to rethink our approaches to university teaching, so as to enable students to develop the skills to resolve new problems in an increasingly unpredictable world, while at the same time allowing them to be in greater control of their own learning. While their comments apply to education in general, we feel they are extremely relevant to interpreting students’ preparation for the dynamic realities of professional interpreting practice:

Higher education in the 21st century needs to prepare students for solving new problems in an unpredictable world rather than simply acquiring knowledge” (Roberts & Sayer, 2017, p. 298).


Arjona, E. (1984). Issues in the design of curricula for the professional education of translators and interpreters. 1-35. In M. L. McIntire (Ed.), New dialogues in interpreter education. Proceedings of the Fourth National Conference of Interpreter Trainers Convention, pp. 1-35. Silver Spring, MD: RID.

Chouc, F. & Conde, J. M. (2016). Enhancing the learning experience of interpreting students outside the classroom. A study of the benefits of situated learning at the Scottish parliament. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 10(1), 92-106.

Crezee, I. & Burn, J. (forthcoming). Action research and its impact on the translation and interpreting classroom. In R. Tipton and L. Desilla (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Translation and Pragmatics. London, England: Routledge

Crezee, I. (2015). Semi-authentic practices for student health interpreters. Translation and Interpreting 7(3), 50-62

Dangerfield, K. & Napier, J. (2016). Tracking the development of critical self-reflective practice of a novice sign language interpreter: A case study. Journal of Interpretation, 25(1), 1-27.

González Davies, M. & Enríquez Raído, V. (2016). Interpreter and Translator Trainer

Derry, S. & Lesgold, A. (1996). Toward a situated social practice model for instructional design. In D. C. Berliner and R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of Educational Psychology, pp. 787-806. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster Macmillan.

González Davies, M. (2004). Multiple voices in the translation classroom: Activities, tasks and projects. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Major, G., Napier, J. & Stubbe, J. (2012). “What happens truly, not textbook!”: using authentic interactions in discourse training for healthcare interpreters. In L. Swabey & K. Malcolm (Eds.), In our hands, pp. 27-53. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Metzger, M. (2000). Interactive role-plays as a teaching strategy. In C. Roy (Ed.), Innovative practices for teaching sign language interpreters, pp. 83-108. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Napier, J. (2005). Linguistic features and strategies of interpreting: From research to education to practice. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Roberts, E. and Sayer, K. (2017). Introducing “The Matrix Classroom” University course design that facilitates active and situated learning through creating two contemporary communities of practice. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 29(2), 293-299.

Sawyer, D. (2004). Fundamental aspects of interpreter education. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Schön, D. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

[1] Correspondence to: CITjournaleditor@gmail.com

Research Articles

Training Interpreters and Translators in Spain’s Asylum and Refugee Office (OAR): A Case Study

Conquering the Interpreter’s Operational Space: Sign Language Interpreting Students and their Acculturation to Deafblind Clients

Open Forum

Interview with Dr. Phyllis Perrin Wilcox: The Accreditation Process

Interview with sign language interpreter and trainer Maya de Witt

Book review: Consecutive Notetaking and Interpreter Training

Dissertation Abstracts

About This Section

In this section, we feature abstracts of recently completed doctoral or master’s theses. If you have recently completed a master’s or PhD thesis in this field and would like it to be included, please send an abstract of 200–300 words to citjournaleditor@gmail.com. We urge all academic supervisors to encourage their students to submit abstracts of their completed dissertations for inclusion in the next issue of the journal, in order to help disseminate new research relating to interpreter and translator education.

Download PDF of all abstracts

Interpreting Linguistic Politeness from British Sign Language to English

Interpreting Linguistic Politeness from British Sign Language to English

Rachel Mapson
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom:

Degree: PhD, University of Bristol

This thesis explores the way im/politeness is interpreted from British Sign Language into spoken English. This aspect of interpreting may significantly impact the dynamics of interpreted interactions, due to differences in the way im/politeness is both produced and received in the varied situations in which interpreters work. The study draws on rapport management theory (Spencer-Oatey 2005, 2008) and the concept of social networks (Watts, 2003) to frame the complex and multiple considerations involved.

Qualitative data were generated through a series of semi-structured group discussions centred on interpreting im/politeness, involving eight highly experienced professional BSL/English interpreters. Data were analysed thematically to identify how interpreters recognise im/politeness in BSL, the key influences on the way they interpret im/politeness and the interpreting strategies they might employ. To underpin this study, foundational research to explore how politeness is expressed in BSL was conducted, involving interviews with five Deaf participants.

Analysis reveals that interpreters’ knowledge about politeness in BSL and interpreting politeness is generally tacit and hard to articulate, and suggest the benefits of explicit tuition on the subject. The multiple influences on interpreters’ evaluations of im/politeness are dynamic, and coalesce differently in each interpreted interaction. Context emerges as a multi-layered influence that relates to not only the environment but also the characteristics, language use, goals and expectations of the people involved. Interpreters’ strategies may involve smoothing their interpretation to better ensure that the interactional goals are met and to manage rapport between clients. Interpreters’ familiarity with the context, and their clients, is a valuable resource that supports interpreters’ decision-making and strategy choices; a particular benefit given the temporal pressure of simultaneous interpreting.

The study contributes theoretically to im/politeness research and interpreting studies, and has practical value for interpreting professionals in both initial interpreter training programmes and continuing professional development.

Keywords: im/politeness, rapport management, interpreting, British Sign Language

Spencer-Oatey, H, (2005). Rapport management theory and culture. Interactional Pragmatics, 2(3), 335–346.

Spencer-Oatey, H. (Ed.) (2008). Culturally speaking: Culture, communication and politeness theory (2nd ed.). London, UK: Continuum.

Watts, R. (2003) Politeness. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Productivity in Post-Editing and in Neural Interactive Translation Prediction: A Study of English-to-Spanish translators

Productivity in Post-Editing and in Neural Interactive Translation Prediction: A Study of English-to-Spanish translators

Marina Sánchez Torrón
School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics. Email: msnc017@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Degree: PhD thesis, University of Auckland

Machine translation (MT) generally cannot produce high-quality texts, so humans often intervene in the translation process. One such intervention is post-editing (PE), in which a human translator corrects the errors in the MT output. In interactive translation prediction (ITP), a more recent process, an MT system presents a translator with translation suggestions they can accept or reject, actions that the MT system then uses to present them with new, corrected suggestions.

In this thesis I present two empirical studies with professional English/Spanish translators investigating a number of translation productivity aspects of two such types of translation scenarios. Both studies use qualitative data used, where possible, to interpret quantitative findings. I found that in the traditional PE setting, decreases in MT quality are associated with increases in technical effort and processing time; whereas using ITP with an underlying neural machine translation system may be a viable alternative to PE. A number of translation productivity indicators collected over time, as well as translators’ qualitative feedback, validates these findings.

Key words: post-editing, neural machine translation, statistical machine translation, translation productivity

Healthcare Interpreting From a New Zealand Sign Language Interpreters’ Perspective

Healthcare Interpreting From a New Zealand Sign Language Interpreters’ Perspective

Delys Magill

Email: delys.magill@gmail.com

Degree: MA, Auckland University of Technology

This research[1] examines healthcare interpreting from the perspective of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) interpreters. Healthcare interpreting is a growing topic of research globally. However, little focus has been given to the interpreters’ own perspectives. Interpreters who provide communication access to healthcare professionals and deaf clients encounter challenges ranging from interpersonal demands between the interpreter and the other participants to linguistic demands dealing with unfamiliar terminology. The aim of this study was to identify challenges encountered by NZSL interpreters working in healthcare settings and examine the coping strategies they employ. To the best of my knowledge, this research is the first of its kind in New Zealand.

The research was carried out using a mixed-methods approach with a quantitative online survey and qualitative interviews. A total of 28 NZSL interpreters responded to the survey and eight NZSL interpreters volunteered to be interviewed. The results indicated that the main challenges encountered in healthcare settings included a lack of understanding of the interpreter’s role by healthcare professionals, difficulty in dealing with unfamiliar healthcare terminology and in some cases interpreters’ belief that the deaf clients did not receive adequate access to full healthcare information. The participants shared coping strategies they use to deal with unfamiliar terminology. These strategies were discussed from a perspective of where the onus of decoding the message was placed.

The study suggests that NZSL interpreters working in healthcare situations should be more assertive in terms of their professional relationship building, give thought to moving the onus of providing clear information back to the healthcare professional and ensure that all participants are aware of the role of the interpreter. If consumers of healthcare interpreter services are educated on how to work effectively with interpreters, communication will be more effective and the risk to deaf clients will be reduced.

Keywords: Healthcare interpreting, NZSL, interpreter role

[1] A ten-minute summary of Delys’ study can also be accessed here, starting at 30:34: https://livestream.com/accounts/5183627/events/7944731/videos/166352481 (accessible in New Zealand Sign Language and English)

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.