Source Attribution in ASL-English Interpreter Education: Testing a Method

Laura Maddux, PhD
Lamar University

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Abstract

In interactive signed/spoken language interpreting situations, participants in the conversation learn who is speaking if the interpreter identifies the “source” or initiator of each utterance. This interpreting technique is referred to as source attribution (SA). Although attributing interpreted utterances is a critical skill for interpreters, this is the first study to test a method for teaching SA techniques to signed language interpreting students. Using a mixed-method approach involving an experimental group and a control group, data was collected using a pretest/instruction/posttest method, along with journals, questionnaires, and interviews. The experimental group improved significantly more than the control group after the targeted instruction, suggesting that the proposed method of teaching SA provides beneficial instructional results for students’ SA skills. The results of this study may also inform the broader interpreting research field by demonstrating an effective method to conduct research on teaching methods for interpreting students.

Keywords: Sign language interpreters, organizational change, job satisfaction, working conditions, job insecurity