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Volume 5(2) ~ November 2013

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.


Evidence-Based Pedagogy

Jemina Napier, Editor 
Heriot-Watt University

Correspondence to: CITjournaleditor@gmail.com

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Welcome to the second issue of Volume 5 of the International Journal of Interpreter Education. This issue focuses on evidence-based pedagogy, showcasing a series of papers that were presented at the convention of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT) in Charlotte, North Carolina in October 2012. Each of the articles featured in the research section of this issue demonstrates differing approaches to evidence-based interpreting pedagogy.

We are seeing a growth of evidence-based pedagogy, that is, research taking place in the classroom or in the educational context that provides us with the evidence for effectively making change in education. This growth is evidenced in all disciplines, not only interpreter education. More universities are now encouraging teaching scholarship, a process of examining teaching through a closer lens to promote reflective teaching and critical evaluation of teaching. The systematic examination of teaching enables educators to then explore the impact of making changes in the way we teach (e.g., application of different activities, innovation in use of technology, or updating curricula), through further evaluation of student outcomes, employability, and graduate capabilities. Greater consideration is being given to the impact of research generally (Hale & Napier, 2013), so it stands to reason that the same logic should be applied to educational research.

The growing number of research studies and publications in interpreting as a situated practice has led to calls for more research-based teaching (Roy, 2000), that is, drawing on the available evidence from research on interpreting to inform how we teach interpreting students. This has also led to recognition of the fact that we need more evidence of interpreting pedagogy. As stated almost 10 years ago by Franz Pöchhacker in his book Introducing Interpreting Studies (2004): “Indeed, most authors in interpreting studies are involved in interpreter education, as teachers or as students completing a thesis requirement, and many studies have been carried out on students as subjects. Nevertheless, as a research topic as such, the pedagogy of interpreting has generated little systematic description” (p. 177).

Subsequent to Pöchhacker’s statement, we are now witnessing a growing body of research on interpreting pedagogy that is providing an evidence base for proven effective teaching approaches. The research is “providing interpreter educators and researchers with frameworks to focus on more systematic and critical forms of enquiry in relation to teaching and assessment” (Hale & Napier, 2013, p. 176). Interpreting pedagogy research approaches draw on a range of theoretical frameworks and methodologies, including surveys, qualitative case studies or longitudinal studies, experimental studies, action research, and historical/archival research (Hale & Napier, 2013). In particular, evidence allows for innovation in interpreting pedagogy.

This issue of IJIE includes research papers that demonstrate different methodological approaches to examining interpreting practice with implications for teaching, and also on innovative interpreting pedagogy. The authors have drawn on action research, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic qualitative discourse analyses, and sociological perception-based interviews. As mentioned earlier, the research articles were all presented as papers at the CIT convention 1 year ago. After the conference, delegates were invited to submit their papers to the journal for consideration in the double-blind peer review process. I am delighted that we are able to feature several of the papers that were presented at the conference.

The lead article is an invited feature piece from Mark Taylor, who was the keynote speaker at the CIT convention. He had an unusual 3-hour slot for his plenary presentation, and delegates were pleasantly surprised by how engaging one person can be for that long! Drawing on his own experience, research, and humor, Dr. Taylor spent the first half of the keynote address educating and amusing us with his overview of how adult learning has changed over the years, how closely these changes are tied to popular parenting styles of each decade, and how this impacts on the nature of the learning styles of the students that we have in our classrooms. For the second half of the plenary, he talked in more detail about how we can apply this knowledge specifically in interpreter education. Dr Taylor’s presentation was a real inspiration to the interpreter educators at the conference, and we wanted to ensure that his message got out to the broader (spoken and signed language) interpreter educator audience, hence we invited him to contribute a paper to this issue.

The three research articles cover different aspects of evidence-based interpreting pedagogy. Jemina Napier, Zhongwei Song, and Shiyi Ye describe a participatory action research project conducted with Chinese conference interpreting students to explore how iPads can be used in the classroom to enhance learning and the development of language and interpreting skills. Theirs was a longitudinal study over the course of one semester and involved students and teachers engaging in a cyclical, reflective process of evaluating their learning and teaching through use of the iPads. Marty Taylor (no relation to Mark Taylor!) gives an overview of a study she conducted to examine the perspectives of deaf people and interpreters on leadership. Taking a sociological stance, Taylor interviewed a range of leaders and in her article discusses the implications of her findings in relation to interpreter education. The evidence she has collected reveals the importance of including aspects of leadership education in any interpreter education program, providing some useful food for thought for both spoken and signed language interpreter educators. Peter Llewellyn Jones and Robert Lee present their new model of interpreter role-space by examining the participation of interpreters in various interactions, drawing on sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic theories to exemplify their arguments that interpreters should not “don” their role like a hat, but rather should “enact” roles according to the communicative shifts occurring in the context—as per Shaffer’s discussion of “contextualization” and role (Napier, in press; Shaffer, in press).

The Commentary section offers two articles by authors who report on their particular teaching practices in the interpreting classroom, which are based on existing solid theoretical and evidence-based frameworks. Neither of the papers was presented at the CIT 2012 conference, but they have been presented in other interpreter education contexts, such as the Australian Sign Language Interpreters’ Association Interpreter Trainer Network Symposium. Suzanne Ehrlich, Funda Ergulec, Janet Mannheimer Zydney, and Lauren Angelone share their use of protocols to improve discussion in online and face-to-face courses, and Mary Thumann and Kendra Smith describe how they teach about mental health discourse to interpreting students.

This issue also features student work from three PhD candidates at Gallaudet University who presented their predissertation preliminary research at the CIT conference, under the guidance of Cynthia Roy. Erica Alley, Danielle Hunt, and Roberto Santiago give brief descriptions of their research studies, methodologies, and preliminary findings.

Finally, in the Open Forum section, Eileen Forestal and Debra Russell review and highly recommend Sherry Shaw’s book Service learning in Interpreter Education. “Service learning” is a popular concept in signed language interpreter education, as evidenced by the growing number of publications on the topic (see for example, Monikowski & Peterson, 2005; van den Bogaerde, 2007), and it is being promoted as a pedagogical strategy to enable interpreting students to align with the minority communities with whom they work. This concept is also being applied in language teaching (see for example, Weldon & Trautmann, 2003) and in higher education more generally (see Bryant, Schönemann, & Karpa, 2011). Service learning introduces students to experiential as well as classroom learning, whereby they are expected to participate in community activities and are encouraged to be engaged and ethical citizens; so students learn about “the significance of membership in a community while reflecting on the importance of reciprocity and the symbiotic nature of learning and living” (Monikowski & Peterson, 1995, p. 195). Sherry Shaw is now one of the leading experts in service learning in interpreter education, and her book gives an excellent overview of how to apply and embed service learning principles within interpreter education programs—a useful resource for interpreter educators of any language.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue and take away further food for thought in terms of your own evidence-based interpreting pedaogogical practices.


Bryant, J. A., Schönemann, N., & Karpa, D. (2011). Integrating service learning into the university classroom. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada: Jones and Bartlett Publishing.
Hale, S., & Napier, J. (2013). Interpreting research methods: A practical resource. London, UK: Bloomsbury.
Monikowski, C., & Peterson, R. (2005). Service learning in interpreting education: A sense of place. In M. Marschark, R. Peterson, & E. A. Winston (Eds.), Interpreting and interpreting education: Directions for research and practice (pp. 188–207). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Napier, J. (in press). Examining the notion of interpreter role through a different linguistic lens. In E. A. Winston & C. Monikowski (Eds.), Evolving paradigms in interpreter education: Impact of interpreting research on teaching interpreting. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.
Pöchhacker, F. (2004). Introducing interpreting studies. London, UK: Routledge.
Roy, C. (2000). Training interpreters—Past, present and future. In C. Roy (Ed.), Innovative practices for teaching sign language interpreters (pp.1–14). Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.
Shaffer, B. (in press). Evolution of theory, evolution of role: How interpreting theory shapes interpreter role. In E. A. Winston & C. Monikowski (Eds.), Evolving paradigms in interpreter education: Impact of interpreting research on teaching interpreting. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.
van den Bogaerde, B. (2007). Interpreter training from scratch. In C. Wadensjö, B. E. Dimitrova, & A. Nilsson (Eds.), Critical Link 4: Interpreters in the community (pp. 283–296). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.
Weldon, A., & Trautmann, G. (2003). Spanish and service-learning: Pedagogy and praxis. Hispania, 86, 574–585.


Feature Article

Teaching for Effective Learning in Interpreter Education

Mark Taylor
Taylor Programs


This article is based on the keynote presentation given at the convention of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers in Charlotte, North Carolina, in October 2012. It draws upon key principles for consideration in educating the next generation of interpreting students in further and higher education.

Key Words: digital education, flipped classrooms, technology, interpreter education

Correspondence to: mark@taylorprograms.com


Research Articles

Innovative and Collaborative Use of iPads in Interpreter Education

Jemina Napier
Heriot-Watt University and Macquarie University
Zhongwei Song
Macquarie University
Shiyi Ye
Macquarie University


This article reports on findings from a collaborative action research project that was conducted to investigate the use of iPadsin teaching interpreting students. Action research is well documented as a method for encouraging innovation and change in education, and it has been applied in translation and interpreting educational research. The goal of the project was to investigate how iPad technology can be used to enhance the learning experience for interpreting students in a master’s-level Conference Interpreting program, with an evaluation of the benefits of using the iPad generally and in relation to the development of interpreting skills, as well as through one particular iPad application (AudioNote). The project incorporated periodic cycles of evaluation to reflect on the effectiveness of the use of iPads in this teaching context, for instructors and students to share information about what applications they had found, and to design learning and teaching activities together using those applications. The iPad applications downloaded by students can be categorized into three main areas of learning: general study, language enhancement, and interpreting skills. Recommendations are made about how iPads can be used innovatively and creatively in educating interpreting students of any language combination.

Key Words: interpreter education, innovation, collaboration, action research, iPads

Correspondence to: j.napier@hw.ac.uk 

Leadership: Perspectives From Deaf Leaders and Interpreter Leaders

Marty M. Taylor
Interpreting Consolidated


This article examines leadership from the perspectives of 50 deaf leaders and interpreter leaders from Canada and the United States. This qualitative research study contributes to knowledge about what leaders value and what are important leadership practices to each group of leaders. Data were collected through individual interviews using semistructured open-ended questions. Twenty most frequent themes were identified in the interview data. The values of respect and communication were strongly related among and within the two groups. When participants were asked about the differences and similarities between deaf leaders and interpreter leaders, five themes were identified: importance of relationships, importance for all to understand, valuing all input, the knowledge of how systems work, and the speed of decision making. Implications for interpreter education and for practitioners as it applies to leadership are discussed. Recommendations for further research are offered.

Key Words: American Sign Language, Deaf, leadership, interpreters, leaders, ASL-English, sign language interpreter, sign language

Correspondence to: mtaylor@ASLinterpreting.com

Getting to the Core of Role: Defining Interpreters’ Role-Space

Peter Llewellyn-Jones 
SLI Ltd., UK

Robert G. Lee
University of Central Lancashire, UK


This article describes a new model of interpreted interactions that will help students as well as experienced practitioners define and delineate the decisions that they make. By understanding the dimensions that comprise the concept we call role, interpreters can more effectively allow participants to have successful communicative interactions.

Key Words: interpreter role, role space, interaction, alignment



In Pursuit of Meaningful Dialogue: Using Protocols to Improve Discussion in Online and Face-to-Face Courses

Suzanne Ehrlich 1, Funda Ergulec 2, Janet Mannheimer Zydney 1, and Lauren Angelone 1
University of Cincinnati1, Indiana University2


The purpose of our article is to discuss the use of a discussion strategy called protocols, which can be used in both online and face-to-face environments. Protocols provide a structured way of having a discussion that empowers all students to contribute their ideas in a safe environment by providing specific rules and clear roles for guiding the discussion. First, we provide a brief background on protocols and our experience with using protocols within an online course titled Orientation to Deafness. We then provide readers with a variety of example protocols that can be used in both face-to-face and online environments. We also provide example ground rules, which provide instructors with the necessary information to implement these protocols. The article concludes with the implications of using these protocols within the field of signed and spoken language interpreting.

Key Words: teaching, online instruction, discussion, protocols, interpreting

Correspondence to: Suzanne.Ehrlich@uc.edu

Teaching Mental Health Discourse

Mary Thumann and Kendra Smith
Gallaudet University


In this article we present an approach to teaching a course on Interpreting Mental Health Discourse, based on our experiences in developing and teaching this course at Gallaudet University. We report on how faculty from two departments, Interpreting and Counseling, worked together with the goal of providing students in the Interpreting program with knowledge and skill-building opportunities for interpreting mental health discourse. We include examples from the course content and format, and suggestions for using available resources, as well as a discussion of what worked well and what did not. The article is a valuable resource for interpreter educators who are considering developing a similar course, and also for interpreters who are interested in improving their understanding of interpreting mental health discourse.

Key Words: interpreting, mental health discourse, collaboration in interpreter education

Correspondence to: Mary.Thumann@gallaudet.edu


Student Work Section

Research Studies in Interpretation from Gallaudet University Doctoral Students

Cynthia Roy and students
Gallaudet University


The following three studies were presented at the Conference of Interpreter Trainers Conference in October 2012. The studies were undertaken as predissertation work by students in the first cohort of the doctoral program in the Department of Interpretation at Gallaudet University. In the first study, Erica Alley addresses the population of students of American Sign Language–English interpretation in the United States who are employed in the video relay service (VRS) industry while pursuing their degree. It is proposed that VRS is changing from a specialization to an introduction to the field of interpreting and that students may find comfort in the highly structured environment of VRS, which diminishes the need for autonomous decision making. In the second study, Danielle Hunt explores how two signed language interpreters currently working in the field experience and understand what it means to be an interpreter. As phenomenological study, she strives to identify the essence of interpreting through the eyes of these interpreters. This essence is what should be passed on to future generations of interpreters through educational programs. The interpreters are profiled for a deeper understanding of how they make meaning of their work, what their work has entailed, and what outside forces have impacted their work. In the third study, Roberto Santiago examines how research into the cognitive function of co-speech gesture may have practical applications to the teaching of interpreting. The study examines the gesture rate of an interpreter compared to rates found in similar bilinguals in previously published research.

Key Words: ASL–English interpreting research, phenomenology, video relay service, co-speech gesture


Open Forum


Volume 5 (2) ~ November 2013

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
Service Learning in Interpreter Education: Strategies for Extending Student Involvement in the Deaf Community

Eileen Forestal
Union County College

Debra Russell
University of Alberta

Download PDF (143 KB) | Back to Table of Contents

Shaw, S. (2013). Service learning in interpreter education: Strategies for extending student involvement in the Deaf community. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. ISBN: 978-1-56368-555-2 (hardcover), ISBN: 978-1-56368-556-9 (e-book).

As a deaf person who has been an interpreter educator and coordinator of an interpreter education program for many years (Forestal), I read Service Learning in Interpreter Education as both reaffirming our program’s philosophy of students engaging in community service and redefining service learning. This book has a fresh and reviving approach, as it is student focused as well as Deaf community focused. I have observed for quite some time that many students are losing connection with the Deaf community; they do not have a meaningful depth of exposure to the infrastructure of the Deaf community or Deaf culture, let alone exposure to sign language and its discourse structure. While reading the book, I was struck by the key words: “re-centering” (p. 155), “re-enfranchising” (p. 29), “partnerships” (p, 16), “equal partners” (p. 139), collaboration, and many similar concepts emphasized throughout the book. Service learning, as portrayed in the book, is “community-based learning” (p. 4): It promotes a view students and the Deaf community learning together and working toward reciprocity, a critical aspect of the Deaf community (Holcomb, 2012), and considering each other as equal partners—rather than a view of the Deaf community as dependent, with studentsvolunteering a one-way street.

The central and crucial concept of this book is outlined in Chapter 8, “The Deaf Community Perspective: Reciprocity and Collaboration.”  Shaw addresses the widening gap between interpreter education programs and the Deaf community and offers ideas about how to make programs more inclusive for community-based learning. This chapter was like a breath of fresh air; one does not often read about a community’s perspective—and particularly not about the Deaf community—that is the target of service learning, other than participatory-action research. Mertens & McLaughlin (2004) underscored incorporating the perspectives of the community under study as vital role to qualitative research, including the views and experiences of a specific population. Shaw interviewed members of the Deaf community about their perceptions of the impact that various service learning programs had on them and on their community. The interviews reflect the participants’ excitement and the value they saw in such programs: The Deaf members and organizations observed that students were developing Deaf-centric cultural values, and they were more than willing to continue supporting these programs. Shaw also integrates the students’ perspectives, gained through interviews, into the following chapter as well. These perspectives are critical components of a transformative paradigm of service learning, in which “knowledge [and understanding] is influenced by human interests [as it] reflects the power and social relationships within society [and] that an important purpose of knowledge construction is to help people improve society” (Mertens & McLaughlin, 2004, p. 3).

In these two chapters, Shaw reinforces the key themes, mentioned earlier, that arise throughout the book, validating the worthiness of interpreter education programs’ expanding or implementing a service learning program. Shaw also informs readers that service learning is new to the Deaf community. I found this fact striking; it underscores how important it is for interpreter education programs (IEPs) to revisit the Deaf community and to, for example, hold a forum involving representatives of the IEP and members of local and state organizations to discuss the rationale, approaches, and strategies of a service-learning program.  The forum could include discussions of how the Deaf community could support the IEP’s students, with the Deaf community being on the receiving end of reciprocity. Such a forum would be also beneficial in eliciting input and ideas from the leaders and members of the Deaf community, effectively making a “re-entry” into IEPs, because, as Shaw indicates, many IEPs seem to have moved away or grown apart from the Deaf community.
As a non-deaf interpreter educator (Russell), I found similar gems in this book, beginning with the content that situates the concept of service learning within a framework of social capital and spatial theory. The discussions of power dynamics and privilege, positioning, shared space, boundaries, and social capital challenge educators to purposefully examine the roots of their service learning approaches to ensure that these concepts serve as the foundation of all decisions that follow. Shaw then stresses in the next chapter that “
service learning must complement existing curriculum rather than stand out as an afterthought” (p. 35).  There are examples of other professions that are grappling with embedding service learning into their curricula, and these are contrasted with suggested objectives for interpreter education programs.

The practical nature of Chapter 3, “Implementing Service Learning,” is a gift to any educator because it offers sample objectives, structured activities, and sequences for assignments. Shaw walks the reader through the elements required for effective pedagogy, while building a case for partnerships that are sustainable and positive for Deaf communities and programs, which is contrasted well with the material on dealing with student engagement.  Shaw draws readers’ attention to multiple intelligences, portrayed in the original work of Gardner (1983) and Kolb (1984) in order to adapt these intelligences to apply to interpreting.  She contrasts a fixed-versus-growth mind-set, and this material could be easily incorporated into pre- and postlearning survey tools, leading to program evidence upon which to assess the impact of service learning on student dispositional traits and mind-sets.

Both reviewers noted that Shaw includes assessment and evaluation of the service learning experience as key elements of the service learning program framework, providing useful arguments for convincing administrative levels and curriculum committees of the importance of service learning. In addition, Shaw describes how academic reflection, an indispensable by-product of service learning,  can be taught, so that students become interpreter practitioners, who are “reflective in action” (Schön, 1983, p. 119). Shaw explores what constitutes reflection and how students can develop reflective skills and become critical thinkers. She includes excerpts of students’ journals, providing substantive evidence to support the value of service learning to student learning. Not only has service learning made an impact on students, faculty members, IEPs that offer service learning opportunities, and Deaf community members, its benefits extend exponentially as the students become “evolved” members of the Deaf community as allies.

We appreciate how Shaw has woven Deaf community perspectives and experiences with local IEPs as a foundation for working with the students, resulting in a book that is well organized.  Shaw builds a coherent argument for service learning, providing the premises and theories of service learning, before moving on to approaches for implementation of a course to offer service learning, and strategies to imbed service learning in an IEP. She has framed the foundation of her book on current research and praxis outside of interpreter education and the Deaf community, providing a global view of service learning. Most chapters end with recommended readings; both reviewers have taken advantage of these and found them very useful.

We both highly recommend Service Learning in Interpreter Education: Strategies for Extending Student Involvement in the Deaf Community for all interpreter education programs, including online programs.This text is also an excellent source for interpreter organizations to design a community service program to connect with the Deaf community in meaningful ways.  It also can be a guide for planning for continuing education units (CEUs) for interpreter organization members to ensure that all interpreters, seasoned or novice, continue to develop their connections with the Deaf community. Because interpreter educators continually seek to bridge research and practice in linguistically and culturally sensitive ways, the production of a summary of several of the chapters within this book in American Sign Language would make a positive contribution. We look forward to seeing in what direction Sherry Shaw, a model of exceptional scholarship and critical thinking, takes our field next.
Finally, we note that this text also has valuable material for spoken language interpreter education programs, and translation studies.  Students can gain so much from being actively engaged in the linguistic communities in which they will work, regardless of whether the students will become translators, community based interpreters or conference interpreters. Shaw’s work will resonate across our shared approaches to educating interpreters and translators.


Gardner, H. (1983), Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York City, NY, USA: Basic Books, Inc.
Holcomb, T. K. (2012). Introduction to American Deaf culture. New York City, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Kolb, D.A. (1984): Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA: Prentice Hall.
Mertens, D. M., & McLaughlin, J.(2004). Research and evaluation methods in special education. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: Corwin Press.
Schön, D.A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York City, NY, USA: Basic Books, Inc.


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.