Volume 2 ~ November 2010

Creative Commons License - Attribution, Non-Commercial, No-DerivativesISSN # 2150-5772 – All views or conclusions are those of the authors of the articles and not necessarily those of the editorial staff or the publisher. 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.


Click below for an abstract of the articles included in this volume.


Volume 2 ~ November 2010

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: And so it goes….

Jemina Napier, Editor 1
Macquarie University

Download PDF of Editorial (94 KB)

Welcome to the second volume of the International Journal of Interpreter Education. You will see that we have a bumper crop edition that is balanced with contributions from both spoken and signed language interpreter educators from six countries (the U.S., Malaysia, Australia, Ireland, Canada, and France) and a healthy selection of papers in both the Research Article and Commentary sections. After publication of the first volume, I have been promoting the journal as an appropriate vehicle for cross-modality discussion, so it is heartening and exciting to see that promotion come to fruition.

This volume features reports from research that explore varying aspects of interpreter education through different lenses, including:  mental health interpreter training (Zimanyi), a survey of teaching goals for interpreter educators (Fitzmaurice), analysis of universal design concepts in relation to the use of technology in interpreter education (Roush), a competency model for training interpreters working in video relay services (Oldfield), an action research project to evaluate a mentoring program (Pearce & Napier), and a qualitative study of the perceptions of deaf interpreters as a means to informing deaf interpreter education (McDermid). Although the majority of these pieces are from signed language interpreter educators, much of the discussion should be of interest to spoken language interpreter educators and applicable in classrooms teaching any language pairs.

Compared with Volume 1, this volume includes several more commentary papers which focus on actual teaching activities, program overviews, or theoretical discussions of interpreter education. Although these papers do not report on evidence-based research, they draw on the wealth of experience of interpreter educators from both spoken and signed languages, sharing effective teaching practices and highlighting issues of concern. These papers are deliberately included to provoke debate among teacher-researchers, and to inform our discipline of current reflections and achievements. Papers that raise issues for consideration include an overview of interpreting pedagogy issues in Malaysia (Ayob), tensions between educating for best practice and teaching to pass a test (Zong), and the need to provide specialization options in interpreter education (Witter-Merithew and Nicodemus). Two of the papers feature descriptions of interpreter education and training programs, in the form of the new master’s degree in French Sign Language interpreting (Sero-Guillaume) and distance learning for Spanish-English medical interpreter training (Gonzalez and Gany). Finally, two articles provide detailed outlines of effective pedagogical techniques for teaching consecutive interpreting (Russell, Shaw, and Malcolm) and using sight translation to develop simultaneous interpreting skills (Song).

A new feature of this volume is the section that includes the work of aspiring interpreter education scholars—graduate students who have completed research projects related to interpreter education and who are experienced interpreter educators but may not have the experience of writing for publication. This section has been specifically introduced to encourage more interpreter educators who are studying in Master’s or PhD programs to share their work alongside established scholars in the field. I welcome Dr Elizabeth Winston to the editorial board of the journal in her capacity as sub-editor for the Student Work Section. The first contributor to this section discusses the application of cooperative learning in interpreter education (Krouse).

Once again, this journal highlights how the diverse expertise across the world can be harnessed to expand our understanding of interpreter education and training globally and across modalities. I have recently attended the Critical Link: Interpreters in the Community conference at Aston University in Birmingham, UK, and was pleasantly surprised to see a large selection of papers that concentrated on the training and education of interpreters of both spoken and signed languages. Over 300 conference delegates consisted of academics, practitioners, service providers, practitioner-researchers, and educators. What I found interesting was that in discussing issues in relation to working more broadly in the community, the themes were relevant to interpreters of all languages and always had implications for education and training. I have come away from the conference with more ideas, not only about community interpreting research, but also about interpreting education and interpreting education research. Thus, in embracing the diversity in our discipline and sharing our experience and knowledge in conferences or through publication, we can learn from one another and focus on our commitment to teaching in order to achieve best practices in interpreting.

I often like to finish a piece of writing with at least one quote that I feel encapsulates the rhetoric of that piece. This time I have found two quotes from the author Richard David Bach, who is not an interpreter or a teacher, but what he has to say resonates with me as a reflective interpreter, educator, and researcher, and I think his words promote the goals of IJIE.

Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it; teaching is reminding others that they know it as well as you do. We are all learners, doers, and teachers.

You teach best what you most need to learn.

1 Correspondence to: CITjournaleditor@gmail.com

Research Articles

Training for Interpreting in Mental Healthcare in Ireland

Krisztina Zimány,1
Dublin City University

Interpreting in mental healthcare is a very specialized activity, and given the comparatively low demand, few interpreters receive full-time, area-specific training. As part of a larger research project completed in Ireland, mental health professionals who have worked with interpreters as well as interpreters with experience in working in mental health care shared their views on the subject. The interviews reveal what is available as well as what is lacking in terms of training for this specialised sub-domain of community interpreting. The findings, in general, suggest that there is room for improvement. In addition, there appears to be a difference between various types of services, both as regards to their attitude toward training needs and their awareness of such issues. The division lines seem to form between mainstream mental health services and those specializing in working with immigrants and/or refugees and asylum seekers on the one hand, and therapeutic services and those of a more logistical nature on the other.

Keywords: community interpreting; mental healthcare; Ireland; training; interview data

1 Correspondence to: krisztina.zimanyi2@mail.dcu.ie

Teaching Goals of Interpreter Educators

Steve Fitzmaurice,1
Clemson University


Angelo & Cross (1993) found substantial differences in the teaching goals of faculty from different disciplines, yet they found no differences for educators based on their employment status or the type of institution in which they worked.  The current quantitative study compared the teaching goals of interpreter educators with those of educators from other disciplines.  Respondents were asked to rate the importance of 52 goal statements from Angelo & Cross’ Teaching Goal Inventory (TGI) in terms of what they aim to have students accomplish in their courses.  The data suggest that interpreter education constitutes a separate discipline from the nine disciplines identified by Angelo & Cross.  Interpreter educators place far more emphasis on the development of higher order thinking skills than do educators from most other disciplines.  There appear to be no differences in the teaching goals of interpreter educators employed in a full-time or adjunct capacity, nor for interpreter educators employed at two-year and four-year institutions.  In sum, there is consensus among interpreter educators that conveying higher order thinking skills is the most important teaching goal.

Keywords: interpreter educators; teaching goals; TGI; higher order thinking

1Correspondence to:  sfitzma@clemson.edu 

Universal Design in Technology Used in Interpreter Education

Daniel R. Roush,1
Eastern Kentucky University


Interpreter educators need to consider whether the educational technology they use is maximally accessible and usable. This paper discusses the application of universal design (UD) principles to educational technologies that have been adopted for use in interpreter education.  Particularly, the focus is on the design of video annotation software features used in the assessment of interpretations.  Some features currently being used meet minimal standards of accessibility but do not fully comply with principles of UD.  This paper provides an overview of a pilot study of the development of prototype annotation features that would not only accommodate specialized needs for users who are deaf, but would actually be more usable by all levels of users.  As part of this study, preliminary survey and discussion forum results are reported.

Keywords: interpreter education; technology; universal design; accessibility; video annotation; American Sign Language; English

1 Correspondence to: daniel.roush@eku.edu

A Competency Model for Video Relay Service Interpreters

Norma Lee Oldfield,1
Performance Improvement, LLC


The development of Video Relay Services (VRS) has resulted in a new specialization in the field of sign language interpreting.  However, the supply of highly skilled practitioners falls short of the increasing demand.  Though interpreters are being placed in VRS call centers, there is no standardized model by which to measure VRS interpreter performance.  This study uses a classic competency model design to guide the development of a competency model that identifies and describes sign language video interpreter competencies related to VRS work.  A VRS competency dictionary and rating tool were created and used to measure current practitioners, and both were successfully validated.  Further research for future development of VRS interpreters is specified.

Keywords:  sign language interpreting; video relay services; VRS; competency studies; expert development; assessment; training; performance improvement 

1 Correspondence to: normaleeoldfield@hotmail.com

Mentoring: A Vital Learning Tool for Interpreter Graduates

Tamara Pearce
Australian Sign Langauge Interpreters Association (Victoria)

Jemina Napier 1
Macquarie University


In 2007, the Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association [Victoria; ASLIA (VIC)] and the Victorian Deaf Society (Vicdeaf) ran a twelve-month pilot mentoring program for new graduate sign language interpreters who lived in the state of Victoria, in collaboration with Macquarie University and the Centre of Excellence for Students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing at the Northern Melbourne Institute of Technical and Further Education (NMIT).  Fourteen mentees and matching mentors participated in the program.  Both ASLIA (VIC) as a professional body, and Vicdeaf as an employer, shared a commitment to professional development for practitioners and also a keen desire to stem the attrition of experienced interpreters from the industry.  This article details the evaluation of the program and the key outcomes for the participants. The evaluation was based on qualitative action research principles and involved formative and summative evaluation. The mentoring program, guided by the principle of lifelong learning, resulted in significant personal and professional gains for the participants. As a result of the pilot program and the evaluation, an ongoing program is planned for 2011.

Keywords:  mentoring; sign language interpreting; action research; lifelong learning

1 Correspondence to: jemina.napier@mq.edu.au

Culture Brokers, Advocates, or Conduits: Pedagogical Considerations for Deaf Interpreter Education

Cambpell McDermid1
George Brown College


In a qualitative review of interpretation and Deaf2 studies programs in Canada, some educators described their experiences teaching Deaf students. Most of the Deaf instructors had worked as Deaf interpreters (DIs). Given the challenges they faced as a DI, and in light of research concerning interpreters from other minority cultures, the conceptualization of their subjectivity should consider their ethnicity; perhaps the role of culture broker or advocate is appropriate in some settings. The inclusion of Deaf students in the programs led to many benefits, as described by the participants, including a heightened awareness of power, Freire’s (2004) conscientização, through awareness of praxis. Examples of Freire’s philosophy of education as being dialogic were also noted, as the Deaf students took on the role of teacher. However, educators might wish to reconsider practices that promote massification (Freire, 1974), such as assignments only in English and the Deaf interpreter serving in the role of a conduit.

Keywords: Deaf; interpreter; epistemology; audism; advocate; oppression; praxis; identity; culture; power; pedagogy

1 Correspondence to: cmcdermid@rogers.com

2 Editor’s note: Although the convention for this journal is to use the lowercase ‘d’ when referring to deaf people, the author has expressed his wish to use the uppercase ‘D’ convention to imply a linguistic and cultural minority.


Issues in Interpreting Pedagogy

Leelany Ayob1
Universiti Sains Malaysia


This paper attempts to uncover some of the issues that are relevant to the training of interpreters:  (a) optimal training at the undergraduate or postgraduate level; (b) training consisting of teaching language, as opposed to teaching translation only; (c) theoretical input as a means to assist and improve translation and interpreting; (d) text typologies as a pedagogical tool; and (e) evaluation and errors. These issues are also discussed in the Malaysian context.   By uncovering the issues pertaining to the training of interpreters, steps can be taken to allow further improvements to be made, not only for training purposes, but also to elevate the status of the profession.

Keywords: interpreting pedagogy; translation teaching; language training; text types; skills; assessment

1Correspondence to: leelany@usm.my

Effective Strategies for Teaching Consecutive Interpreting

Debra L. Russell1
University of Alberta
Risa Shaw
Gallaudet University
Karen Malcolm
Douglas College


Current research in the field of spoken and signed language points us in the direction of using consecutive interpreting; however, signed language interpreter education programs report inconsistent approaches to incorporating this research (Russell 2002b). This paper describes a frame of reference used to shape learning activities that help students to acquire the competencies required for proficient use of consecutive interpreting. This framework includes guidelines for structuring observation and analysis of interpretations. In addition, we present a typical progression of skill sequencing and material selection criteria.  Finally, we suggest that programs that structure the teaching of consecutive interpreting from a holistic integrated approach across their curricula and throughout the entire program contribute to shifting practices in our profession toward incorporating research and best practices.

Keywords: consecutive interpreting; simultaneous interpreting; blending consecutive and simultaneous interpreting; discourse analysis; teaching approaches

1Correspondence to: debra.russell@ualberta.ca

Skill Transfer from Sight Translation to Simultaneous Interpreting: A Case Study of an Effective Teaching Technique

Stanley Zhongwei Song 1
Macquarie University


In this article, a case study is presented that demonstrates the potential of a new sight translation (ST) teaching technique for simultaneous interpreting (SI) training. By using animated, time-controlled PowerPoint presentations instead of texts on paper, this method induces constraints such as time pressure and attention splitting, thus making ST essentially an on-line information processing activity, closely resembling SI. Apart from reviewing how to design the method, the author compares it with the two existing methods (i.e., ST with prior reading and ST without prior reading), makes some hypothetical analysis of its functionality in SI training, and discusses some preliminary research findings from using the technique. The author argues that the simulated SI-related constraints, which the traditional ST methods cannot provoke, are helpful in enhancing students’ awareness and acquisition of SI-related skills and strategies for SI training, hoping that the case study can arouse more interest in future empirical investigation.

Key words: sight translation; simultaneous interpretation; skill acquisition; skill development; skills transfer; deliberate practice

1Correspondence to: zhongwei.song@mq.edu.au 

Intentional Development of Interpreter Specialization: Assumptions and Principles for Interpreter Educators

Anna Witter-Merithew1
University of Northern Colorado
Brenda Nicodemus
San Diego State University



Specialization of interpreting practice exists in the field of interpreting and interpreter education through de facto and de jure processes. Interpreters are de facto specialists when they self-designate as having specialized competence for working in a particular setting, with certain populations, or within unique functions. Conversely, interpreters may be designated as specialists through external (de jure) processes such as adhering to national standards, completing advanced educational programming in specialty areas, and achieving specialty certification. There are a variety of factors that have shaped the evolution of specialization in the United States—several of which have application to the specialization of practice regardless of locale.  This article addresses the implications of specialization for the fields of interpreting and interpreter education with specific attention to necessary elements associated with the preparation of practitioners for specialist practice.  These elements are framed within the context of assumptions that currently exist in interpreting literature and/or current practices related to the training and certification of specialist practitioners. This framework offers sound rationale for the establishment of structured mechanisms to guide the intentional development of specializations within signed language interpreting.

Keywords: specialization; patterns of practice; de facto process; de jure process; decision latitude; relational autonomy

VITAL: Virtual Interpreting Training and Learning

Javier González and Francesca Gany1
Center for Immigrant Health


This paper describes a distance learning solution for the training of medical interpreters: the Virtual Interpreting Training and Learning (VITAL) Program. VITAL was developed to offer an effective, efficient, and scalable learning alternative to conventional models. The main objective of VITAL is to increase the pool of trained medical interpreters, while providing the same quality of training as in-person programs. Currently, VITAL is used in training bilingual (i.e., English and Spanish) individuals to perform as medical interpreters. An expanded pool of trained medical interpreters will ultimately lead to enhanced communication between providers and their patients and reduce the occurrence of medical errors.

Keywords: distance learning; interpreting; linguistic access; immigrant health

1Correspondence to: c.javier.gonzalez@nyumc.org

The Master’s Degree in French/French Sign Language Interpreting at ESIT

Philippe Séro-Guillaume1
École Supérieure d’Interprètes et de Traducteurs, Université Paris III –Sorbonne Nouvelle


This paper presents the master’s degree in French/French Sign Language Interpreting at  École Supérieure d’Interprètes et de Traducteurs (ESIT) at  Université Paris III–Sorbonne Nouvelle. First, it describes the situation of deaf people, sign language, and spoken language interpreting practice and training in France. Second, the paper explains the specifics of the ESIT master’s degree.

Keywords: French Sign Language (LSF); spoken language; LSF interpreting; pedagogy; theory

1Correspondence to: ph.sero-guillaume@wanadoo.fr

Struggling Between Aspirations to Innovate and the Tyranny of Reality

Yong Zhong1
University of New South Wales


In this paper, I reflect on over twenty years of teaching interpreting, evolving from a “listen and interpret” teacher to an aspirant for innovation. There are discussions of how I broke out of the comfort zone of notions of “accuracy” and “correct interpretation,” but the focus of the paper is on how a broadened vision enabled me to formulate my own teaching philosophies and on how I am teaching interpreting in an evolved regime. I will also discuss the outcomes of the innovations. As will be shown, there are positive outcomes for the students, the innovator, and the university. But there are also disappointing outcomes, including emerging signs of the unsustainability of the innovations vis-à-vis the commercial reality of interpreter education programs in Australia. I concede that I have not been able to reconcile the innovative teaching of interpreting and the pressure of commercial forces. However, I would like to think that if discussions and debates can be generated, more ideas may emerge that will eventually make innovations more acceptable. This paper is intended to stimulate such discussions and debates.

Keywords: innovative teaching; plan-based teaching; leadership; justification; self-directed learning; listen and interpret

1Correspondence to: Y.Zhong@unsw.edu.au

Open Forum

Volume 2 ~ November 2010

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.

Book Review: Basic Concepts and Models for Interpreter and Translator Training, Revised Edition

Sherry Shaw1
University of North Florida

Download PDF of  book review 


The new and improved edition of Daniel Gile’s (1995) seminal work on training interpreters and translators through a process-oriented approach is a must-have for every interpreter trainer/educator. From a strictly aesthetic perspective, the volume takes on more of the appearance of a textbook than a handbook, and although it is intended for teachers of interpreting and translation in higher education settings, it definitely deserves consideration as a textbook for advanced students. If you are familiar with the first edition, you will instantly notice that this edition underwent a serious rewrite for flow, readability, economy of expression, and clarity (and changed from American English to British English spelling). Format modifications (e.g., spacing, fonts) make the text a comfortable read. In fact, it is such a “comfortable read” that it is difficult to put down, no matter how many times you might have reread the first edition. If it has been a while, you might just find yourself becoming so engrossed in Gile’s discussions that the work impacts you again with all of its practical applications to your work as an interpreter trainer.

Upon examination of the revised edition (Gile, 2009), one immediately is struck by the fact that the volume is packed full of new references and topics that speak to trainers 15 years after the original version was published. This is indicative of Gile’s attempt to incorporate such current topics as inference and anticipation (Chernov, 2004), physiological stress responses (Kurz, 2002), sociocultural aspects (Pym, Shlesinger & Jettmarová, 2006), working memory (Timarová, 2008), and lexical processing demands (Prat, Keller & Just, 2007). In the event that you share my tendency when reviewing new materials to turn directly to the reference list, you likely will discover that therein is an adventure in exploring the sources that support Gile’s assertions. These sources come from a variety of perspectives on interpreting and translation training, especially when Gile taps into the fields of cognitive psychology (which he dubs “the most relevant reference discipline,” p. 187) and psycholinguistics (unfortunately for me, not all are available in English). Gile has made every effort to review original examples for content obsolescence and acknowledges when something is outdated but still relevant (for instance, a source text in an example, p. 49). The 2009 edition is so current as to include reference to this journal (IJIE), which is one of many allusions to signed language interpreting and its relevance to the discussion of interpreting models and concepts. Although the new edition continues to focus primarily on translation and conference interpreting, Gile acknowledges that the principles are applicable to signed language interpreter trainers. In fact, he opens the door for further development of these models and other conceptual frameworks that are specific to “public service” and signed language interpreting students (p. 23). On numerous occasions throughout the book, signed language is included when referring to such topics as executing the interpretation, general and thematic knowledge bases, interpreter role, sight translation, and language availability (informed by Carol Patrie through personal communication, p. 179). It is evident throughout the reading of this book that Gile’s perspective on the profession has broadened markedly since the first edition.

Primary distinctions between the first and the revised editions

In addition to the technical improvements, Gile made several content-related changes and replaced a previous chapter on interpreter/transliterator training with an introductory chapter on translation theory. (Keep in mind that Gile does not claim to be a theorist, but rather presents his models as strictly didactic and pragmatic to skill acquisition.) The purpose of the second edition, in the author’s own words, is to “correct and hopefully improve my ideas, models, and methods” (p. xiii). This is accomplished by distinguishing macro-level and micro-level communication aims (Chapter 2), adding the cultural component to linguistically induced information and expanding the fidelity discussion (Chapter 3), analyzing decision-making for gains and loss risk (Chapter 5), incorporating internet use in acquiring ad hoc knowledge (Chapter 6), and extensively developing the Effort Models to include working memory and the Tightrope Hypothesis, as they relate to cognitive psychology. A bonus to the text is the incorporation of a glossary, a name index, and a revised concept index. Additionally, what were initially identified as chapter main ideas are now highlighted in a contrasting font as What students need to remember items at the end of each chapter.

The old and the new premises

There are several key premises that stem from the vast experience Gile brings to his conceptual framework for teaching translators or interpreters. First and foremost is that his models are continually refined to be useful and are simplified to represent the theoretical components that directly affect the interpreting process. Another is that students initially improve their translation and interpreting skills through a process-oriented approach, in which the teacher focuses on the reasons for student decisions during the interpreting process. Guidance provided to the student from this perspective ultimately results in an improved product, and students learn how to “use appropriate strategies and tactics” (p. 17) in new situations during their career. Throughout the text, Gile repeatedly brings the reader back to this purpose: using the models for process-oriented teaching (if the reader does not understand the term didactic, he or she will certainly be familiar with it by the time this book is completely digested).

Another premise that has been historically central to Gile’s models is that processing capacity is constrained by certain factors, and teaching students how to eliminate strains and maximize capacity through the allocation of resources is imperative to avoiding interpreting failure. This premise guides the reader through the expansion on the Effort Models of interpreting in Chapter 7 and presentation of the Gravitational Model of Linguistic Availability in Chapter 9. A final, overarching premise is that students must learn to face, and cope with, the inevitable, inherent difficulties associated with comprehending and reformulating messages as part of their learning sequence. In so doing, students perform crisis management tactics that do not involve what Gile calls “the wrong laws” of self-protection or least effort (p. 217).

Within Gile’s discussion of the Effort Models, a new term for an old concept emerged in the revised edition. The Tightrope Hypothesis characterizes what many practitioners and interpreter trainers have identified as a state of saturation in which simultaneous interpreters work with diminished processing capacity, whether as a whole or specific to a certain effort. Although Gile allows that the hypothesis is minimally substantiated by empirical evidence, he suggests that there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to warrant applying the hypothesis to his discussion of processing capacity constraints and coping tactics for failure prevention. The Tightrope Hypothesis is helpful in guiding students to identify their cognitive “problem triggers” or causes for saturation (p. 192) in the hope that they can reduce their processing capacity requirements.

In Chapter 3, regarding fidelity, Gile adds a cultural component to the term Linguistically Induced Information, so that the new term becomes Linguistically/Culturally Induced Information. This addition is particularly germane to today’s climate in which recognition of the cultural role is essential for effective communication, and the reader is assured that Gile is making every effort to bring the book up-to-date. Another addition is presented in a discussion of the Sequential Model of Translation in Chapter 5.

Applications to signed language interpreter training

As with the first edition of the book, Gile’s work can be applied to signed language interpreter training, although he suggests that someone with more expertise should further develop his models to directly apply to that area. Whether the topic is efforts, language availability, fidelity, coping, loyalty, knowledge, plausibility testing, quality, or theory, there is plenty within this volume that needs to be incorporated into training programs— regardless of modality. “Public service” interpreters and trainers/educators, such as those of us who work in signed language interpreting programs, will find boundless opportunities to filter this information through our own experiences and adapt the concepts, as necessary, so that our students can benefit from the content of this book. There is a lot to learn within the 263-page volume. We learn from Gile how to focus on the student’s process rather than the product and how to explain the importance of maintaining terminology and concepts within the active range of language availability. We learn about the difference between primary and secondary information within a message and how to instill the basic principles of fidelity in our students. Gile provides us with metaphors that can be used with students to clarify concepts, such as a road map with road signs that “point toward a destination,” (p. 73) or guide us in making linguistic and cultural choices when we interpret. Not only does he provide us with models, he elaborates on how to teach students about the models, which is particularly helpful.

The back cover of the revised edition of Basic Concepts and Models for Interpreter and Translator Training touts the book as a “systematically corrected, enhanced and updated avatar of a book (1995) which is widely used in T & I training programs worldwide.” In that regard, the revision certainly manifests Gile’s commitment to linking the literature and his best thinking to the fundamentals of interpreting and translating. The term avatar is a coincidentally appropriate descriptor, considering that Avatar, an Academy-Award-winning film of 2009, was an action adventure film making technological breakthroughs in cinematography, just as Gile takes us on our own action adventure of self-discovery about our capacity to do the work of an interpreter. For its stimulating and comprehensive presentation of models and concepts that are explained so that they will make sense to students and teachers, the revised edition is a welcome addition to any interpreter trainer’s (and student’s) personal library.


Chernov, G. V. (2004). Inference and anticipation in simultaneous interpreting. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Gile, D. (1995). Basic concepts and models for interpreter and translator training. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Gile, D. (2009). Basic concepts and models for interpreter and translator training (Rev. ed.). Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Kurz, I. (2002). Physiological stress responses during media and conference interpreting. In G. Garzone & M. Viezzi (Eds.). Interpreting in the 21st century (p. 195–202). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Prat, C. S., Keller, T. & Just, M. A. (2007). Individual differences in sentence comprehension: A functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation of syntactic and lexical processing demands. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19(12), 1950–1963.
Pym, A., Shlesinger, M. & Jettmarová, Z. (Eds.). (2006). Sociocultural aspects of translating and interpreting. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Timarová, Š. (2008). Working memory and simultaneous interpreting. In P. Boulogne (Ed.), Translation and its others. Selected papers of the CETRA Research Seminar in Translation Studies, 2007. Retrieved from http://www.kuleuven.be/cetra/papers/papers.html  (Accessed day 27 September, 2010).

1Correspondence to: sherry.shaw@unf.edu

Student Work Section

Cooperative Learning Applied to Interpreting Education

Lauri Krouse1
Northeastern University


This action research project explored whether employing cooperative learning activities would improve participants’ perceptions of working in small groups. The action research model used in this study is based on a sequence of planning, implementation, observation, and reflection (Dana & Yendol-Silva, 2003; Hopkins, 2002; McLean, 1995). Action research is conducted by educators in their own classrooms and can lead to changes in curriculum, activities, or teaching methods. This style of research allows educators to reflect upon their teaching in a structured way, supported by valid research methods. Cooperative learning techniques (Johnson and Johnson, 1998) were applied in two interpreter education courses in order to facilitate student learning. A pre- and post-course survey of student attitudes toward working in small groups was used to measure student perceptions of working in small groups. Participants in both courses showed a shift to more positive perceptions of working in small groups with a stronger positive response in the non-graded summer intensive course with working interpreters.

Keywords: cooperative learning, action research, interpreter education, interpreting

1Correspondence to: lskrouse@earthlink.net

Dissertation Abstracts

Volume 2 ~ November 2010

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

Download PDF of 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.

Conference Interpreting in Malaysia: Professional and Training Perspectives

Noraini Ibrahim-González

Universiti Sains Malaysia Email: noni@usm.my

Degree:PhD dissertation, Universidad de Granada, 2008

The primary aim of this research is to provide an exhaustive description of the situation of conference interpreting in Malaysia, from two different but very closely related perspectives: professional practice and interpreter education and training. This description may serve as a compass that helps relevant parties such as the interpreting service providers, the practitioners, the educators and trainers and the training institutions take crucial steps in order to move forward.

This research consists of three studies in three distinctive areas: (1) Conventions and Meetings industry, (2) the practice and market of conference interpreting, and (3) interpreter education and training. In the first study, the principal objective is to identify the major players that are directly or indirectly related to the field of conference interpreting in Malaysia and provide a map of interconnection among them. In the second study, the prime objective is to describe the practice and profession of conference interpreting in Malaysia. This is a comparative study between the local conference interpreters and professionally trained conference interpreters who are members of the International Association of Conference Interpreters practicing in the Malaysian market. The third study aims to provide a description of interpreter education and training in Malaysia for future interpreters and already practising interpreters in the Malaysian conference market. The research strategy adopted for this research is the survey approach, combining multiple sources of data; review documents, observation, questionnaires, and interviews.

The main conclusions drawn from this research are: (1) the Conventions and Meetings industry in Malaysia has shown positive growth and conference interpreting as an important service that can further boost the industry’s growth should take advantage of this situation, (2) the absence of a professional association for interpreters, code of ethics, standards or guidelines on working conditions and remuneration scale, as well as the lack of training and continuing education show that interpreting cannot be considered just yet as a true profession in Malaysia, (3) the current interpreter education programme in Malaysia does not meet the criteria of an interpreter training program and the graduates it produces are not qualified to present themselves as professional conference interpreters.

Thinking Through Ethics: The Processes of Ethical Decision-making by Novice and Expert American Sign Language Interpreters

Liz Mendoza, Ed.D.

University of California, San Diego Email: mendozaliz@cox.net

Degree: Ed.D dissertation, University of California, San Diego, 2010

In the course of their work, sign language interpreters are faced with ethical dilemmas that require prioritizing competing moral beliefs and views on professional practice. There are several decision-making models, however, little research has been done on how sign language interpreters learn to identify and make ethical decisions. Through surveys and interviews on ethical decision-making, this study investigates how expert and novice interpreters discuss their ethical decision-making processes and prioritize prima facie duties, also called meta-ethical principles (Ross 2001).

The survey participants included 225 novice interpreters who have three or fewer years experience as a nationally certified interpreter, and 168 expert interpreters who have ten or more years as a certified interpreter. Three novice and three expert interpreters were chosen to participate in the face-to-face interviews. The findings show that both novices and experts similarly prioritize the prima facie duties of ‘fidelity,’ ‘do good’ and ‘reparation.’ The variability between the groups indicate that novice interpreters’ responses include citing their professional ethical code, rubric decision-making guidelines, and using low-context discourse to analyze individual-focused responses. Expert interpreters, conversely, drew upon tacit knowledge built upon a foundation of Code of Professional Conduct, used high-context discourse to develop a collective-focused response.

More than Meets the Eye: Revealing the Complexities of K-12 Interpreting

Melissa B. Smith

University of California, San Diego, Email: mbsmith@palomar.edu

Degree: Ed.D dissertation, University of California, 2010

Although many deaf and hard of hearing children access education through interpreters, research on educational interpreters is scant and has focused on inadequacies of under-qualified interpreters rather than examining exactly what it is that qualified interpreters do. To determine the skills and knowledge interpreters need to work in K-12 schools, it is crucial to identify current practices of educational interpreters. For this research, three interpreters working in fifth and sixth grade classrooms at three school sites were videotaped and interviewed to explore what interpreters do in the course of their work, and to illuminate the factors that inform their decisions.

This study reveals not only five primary tasks that interpreters perform, but describes in detail what interpreters do as they strive to optimize visual access, to facilitate the learning of language and content, and to cultivate opportunities for participation. Data indicate that even qualified interpreters are not always well-equipped to meet the essential needs of deaf and hard of hearing students in K-12 settings. Results of this study contribute to our understanding of the complexities of interpreters’ decisions in light of multiple and competing demands. Findings highlight the need for further research and serve as a call to action to improve the educational experiences of mainstreamed students.

Studies in Swedish Sign Language: Reference, Real Space Blending, and Interpretation

Anna-Lena Nilsson

Stockholm University Email: annalena@ling.su.se

Degree: PhD dissertation, Stockholm University, 2010

This thesis comprises four separate studies of the same material: a ten-minute Swedish Sign Language monologue. Study I describes the form, meaning, and use of the sign index-c, a pointing toward the chest traditionally described as a first person pronoun. It is argued that index-c is used not only with specific reference to the signer or a quoted signer, but also with non-specific reference. Contrary to what has been reported, index-c is used not only for constructed dialogue, but also in constructed action. The analysis reveals two separate forms, as well, labeled as reduced index-c and distinct index-c, respectively.

Study II describes the activities of the non-dominant hand when it is not part of a two-handed sign. A continuum is suggested, moving from different rest positions that do not contribute to the discourse content, via mirroring of the dominant hand, for example, to instances where the non-dominant hand produces signs of its own while the dominant hand remains inactive, i.e. dominance reversal. Several of the activities of the non-dominant hand, including the four types of buoys that are described, help structure the discourse by indicating the current topic.

Study III uses Mental Space Theory and Conceptual Blending Theory to describe the use of signing space for reference. A correlation is shown between discourse content and the area in the signing space toward which signs are meaningfully directed, and also between these directions and which types of Real Space blends the signer mainly uses: token blendsor surrogate blends.

Finally Study IV looks in more detail at three segments of the discourse and their Real Space blend structure. An initial analysis of eight interpretations into spoken Swedish is also conducted, focusing on whether preselected content units (discourse entities and relations) are identified. A large number of Real Space blends and blended entities are argued to result in less successful renditions measured in terms of preselected content units.

Meaning in Context: The Role of Context and Language in Narratives of Disclosure of Sibling Sexual Assault

Risa Shaw

Gallaudet University, Email: Risa.Shaw@Gallaudet.edu

Degree: PhD dissertation,Union Institute & University, 2007

This sociolinguistic study explored how female survivors of brother-sister incest talked about disclosing that abuse to family members. It examined how contextual factors influenced discourse usage and narrative structure in American Sign Language (ASL) and American English across two contexts – a conversation between two survivors, and an interview between a survivor and a person with no history of sexual abuse – allowing comparison across languages and across contexts.
The data included a first-time-told and first-time-retold narrative. The first-time-telling lacked cohesion and clarity, which increased significantly on retelling. The data show the vocabulary choices the participants used to index the perpetrators, themselves, and the abuse were highly context dependent. The ASL disclosure narratives revealed ways in which audism and linguicism exacerbated the traumatic experiences of the Deaf participants. The data also uncovered backchanneling that functioned to display shared identity. This study suggests that non-verbal information captured through video-taping is essential to understanding spoken language interactions as well as signed language interactions.

The sociolinguistic and trauma findings suggest implications for the field of interpreting regarding how one conceptualizes the task of interpreting, the meaning of context, where meaning lies, and how an interpreter can gain access to the meaning in a particular interaction.

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.

Volume 2 – November 2010