Logo of the International Journal of Interpreter Education (™)

Volume 7(1) ~ May 2015

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.


From Classroom to Professional Practice: The Challenging Nature of Our Work

Ineke Crezee and George Major

Auckland University of Technology

We are very happy to present Volume 7(1) of the International Journal of Interpreter Education to you. As incoming editors we are aware of having some very big shoes to fill, and are grateful for the ongoing support from Jemina Napier, as the outgoing editor, as well as Serena Leigh Krombach, Kimberly Hale, Doug Bowen-Bailey, and the Editorial Board. As the field of interpreting research advances internationally, this journal plays a crucial dual role: first, in examining the application of new theory to interpreter education, and, second, in reflecting on best practice for interpreter education. Our vision for the future of the journal is to continue to build on these existing strengths and to ensure that the strong international focus is maintained and enhanced, with contributions from spoken and signed language interpreter educators, researchers, and practitioners from all over the world. We will continue to push for an evidence-based approach to interpreting pedagogical practice, and welcome submissions on new research that has very clear applications to the educational setting. At the same time, we will strive to always include the voices of practitioners, research students, and consumers of interpreting services, by welcoming commentaries, interviews, and dissertation summaries. In this way we hope to maintain a healthy balance between research and reflection, as we continue to explore together the fulfilling but challenging work that we do, from the interpreting classroom to professional practice and development.

This volume has a number of articles focusing on the challenging nature of our work as interpreting practitioners and interpreter educators, in both signed and spoken languages. A closer examination these articles shows how connected interpreter educators are in their efforts to bridge the gap between classroom and the challenges of interpreting practice. This thread is apparent throughout the volume.

Miranda Lai, Georgina Heydon and Sedat Mulayim surveyed 271 practicing interpreters in the state of Victoria, Australia, around the extent of their exposure to traumatic material and their way of coping with the ensuing vicarious trauma. They also investigated how institutional care and self-care were administered. Danny Wang and Lynn Grant examine issues encountered by practicing court interpreters in New Zealand and participants’ reflections on whether training prepared them for such challenges. Binhua Wang’s article explores another potential gap between interpreter education and the demands of the profession. He describes an e-learning environment set up at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to provide student interpreters extended opportunity to not only analyze professional interpreters’ skills and strategies, but also give them scope for practice, instructor feedback and self-reflection. A thought-provoking paper by Stacey Webb and Jemina Napier explores some preliminary doctoral research findings on job demands and resources faced by interpreter educators. They explore initial feedback from a small sample of educators and the many and conflicting demands that they face.

In the Teaching Forum, Janice Humphrey’s article reports on supported fieldwork to increase the work-readiness of student ASL–English interpreters. Humphrey provides some clear teaching models which may be replicated by other educators wishing to address the gap from interpreter classroom to the demands of community.

The Commentary (by Ineke Crezee, David Atkinson, Robyn Pask, Patrick Au and psychiatrist Dr Sai Wong) picks up on the issue of self-care and proposes ways of incorporating elements of this in interpreter education and professional development programs.

The Dissertation section includes a summary of work by Jan Cambridge. Practicing interpreters, interviewed by Cambridge for her doctoral research, questioned the appropriateness of the ‘impartial’ model of interpreting within mental health settings.

Debra Russell introduces us to Dr Jessica Dunkley, a Deaf medical doctor currently in her second year of residency in Alberta, Canada. Dr Dunkley provides a fascinating and unique perspective on the types of skills, attributes and knowledge she expects from interpreters working with her in the very complex medical (training) and professional context. Future volumes of the Journal will continue to incorporate the perspective of a variety of interpreting consumers, as we believe this is crucial in guiding and inspiring us as practitioners, researchers and interpreter educators.

The book review focuses on Sandra Hale and Jemina Napier’s (2013) Research Methods in Interpreting, a book which will have been welcomed by all interpreter educators, thesis supervisors, postgraduate students and interpreting scholars. Much of the advice given by Hale and Napier is of great relevance to researchers and students even beyond the field of interpreting and translation; the chapter on how to write a literature review being only one example.

In her very first editorial for IJIE, Jemina Napier wrote:

If researchers are investigating aspects of interpreting, but are not publishing their findings, how can we benefit from the research? Likewise, if interpreter educators are reflecting on and evaluating their teaching, and not publishing their reflections, how can the quality of interpreter education improve? (Napier, 2009)

We feel extremely privileged to take on the role of co-editors of this pioneering journal, and we look forward to working with the contributors and readers of this journal to reflect on and advance interpreter education. Rolling calls for manuscripts will be sent out regularly, and we again wish to stress that we welcome submissions from interpreter educators, graduate students and scholars from across the world. Jemina Napier used to end her editorials with a quote, and we would like to continue that tradition. The quote below reflects our vision for the future direction of the journal, maintaining its strong international and cross-modal (signed and spoken language) and cross-disciplinary (research and educational) focus.

There is more that binds us together, than holds us apart. (Robert F. Kennedy)


Napier, J. (2009). Editorial: The real voyage of discovery. International Journal of Interpreter Education, 1, 1–6.

Research Articles

Vicarious Trauma Among Interpreters

Miranda Lai, Georgina Heydon, Sedat Mulayim
RMIT University, Melbourne


Public service interpreters in Australia work in a range of areas including welfare, health, education and criminal justice. Some of their assignments contain traumatic client material, which may be confrontational, upsetting or off-putting for an interpreter, potentially impacting on their perceived cognitive processes and emotions during and after the interpreting assignment. Through a large-scale online survey of 271 practicing interpreters in Victoria, Australia, the authors explore the extent of exposure to traumatic client material, interpreters’ ways of coping with such material, and how institutional care and self-care are administered, if they are at all. The findings of the survey are presented in this article and the implications for public service interpreters are discussed from an occupational health and safety perspective. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are outlined.

Key words: vicarious trauma; public service interpreter; community interpreter; occupational health and safety

Job Demands and Resources: An Exploration of Sign Language Interpreter Educators’ Experiences

Stacey Webb[1]
Heriot-Watt University

Jemina Napier
Heriot-Watt University


This article presents preliminary research regarding sign language interpreter educators’ experiences of job demands and job resources. The study draws on job demand–resources theory (Bakker et al, 2014), where job demands have been identified as leading causes of burnout leading to poor health and negative organizational outcomes, and job resources are the main drivers of work engagement leading to increased well-being and positive organizational outcomes. In considering the ‘readiness to work’ gap evident in graduating sign language interpreting students (Anderson & Stauffer, 1990), not enough attention has been paid to interpreter educators’ ability to deliver what is needed. By examining the balance (or lack thereof) between job demands and job resources, we may have a better understanding of the pressures that sign interpreter educators face in delivering the level of education needed to prepare sign language interpreting students. This article provides an overview of a qualitative scoping study, which involved conducting semistructured interviews with eight sign language interpreter educators in four different English-speaking countries, and the key themes that emerged in terms of the job demands experienced by, and job resources available to, sign language interpreter educators, with suggestions as to the potential relationship to student readiness to work as interpreters.

Keywords: Job Demands-Resource Theory, Interpreter Education, Burnout, Student Readiness.

Challenges Faced by New Zealand Court Interpreters: Implications for Interpreter Education

Danny Ding-Yi Wang, Lynn Grant


This article aims to examine the findings of a research study into challenges faced by court interpreters in New Zealand. Despite the research being conducted on court interpreters who were based in New Zealand, implications of this article may also be applicable to overseas court interpreter educators and practitioners. The research included an online survey followed by interviews with practicing court interpreters. A total of 30 court interpreters throughout the country participated in the survey, and 11 volunteered to be interviewed. Survey respondents were asked about challenges encountered at work, including legal terminology, terminology in other domains, tag questions, and so on. Based on the survey results, five questions were generated as an outline for semi-structured interviews. The authors report on the lexical and discursive aspects of these challenges established from the online survey and the interviews. It is hoped that the findings of this study can be used to improve court interpreter education and practice, and promote equal access to legal rights for limited English proficient (LEP) individuals residing in not only New Zealand but also other English-speaking countries.

Keywords: court interpreters, challenges, interpreter education, tag question, speech style

Bridging the Gap between Interpreting Classrooms and Real-Life Interpreting

Binhua Wang[1]
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Developing students’ interpreting competence requires not only systematic training of interpreting skills but also sufficient authentic and deliberate practice, as well as acquisition of professional interpreting strategies and norms. To this end, students need to be encouraged to do more autonomous, situated, and self-reflective learning in addition to classroom learning. This article reports on an interpreting-corpus-based blended-learning project of interpreter training, which, by complementing in-class instruction with out-of-class online practice, was designed to enhance students’ awareness of interpreting strategies and to develop their professional competence. The design, implementation and effectiveness of the project are described and an experiential learning model with an “Experiencing – Observation – Reflection – Discussion” cycle proposed.

Key words: interpreter training; blended-learning project; experiential learning model

[1] Correspondence to: wangbinhua@hotmail.com


Teaching Interpreters Self-Care

Ineke Crezee[1]
Auckland University of Technology

David Atkinson
Xi’an International Studies University (XISU)

Robyn Pask
Chief Executive Interpreting New Zealand

Patrick Au
Chinese Mental Health Consultation Services

Sai Wong
Chinese Mental Health Consultation Services


Personal factors as well as the nature of certain assignments may negatively impact interpreters and cause stress. The authors sought to examine the various stressors that affect interpreters. They argue that if interpreters are able to identify a potential stressor early on, they may be able to address it through self-care. In the worst-case scenario, ongoing and unaddressed negative impact may result in burnout, at which stage professional assistance will be required and there may be long-term consequences. The authors propose an approach aimed at helping interpreters recognize signs of being negatively impacted, as well as teaching them self-care techniques, so as to reduce the deleterious effects of the stressors they face.

Keywords: interpreter self-care toolkit, negatively impacted, interpreter burnout, interpreter work stress

[1] Correspondence to: icrezee@aut.ac.nz

Open Forum

Interview with a Trailblazer: Dr. Jessica Dunkley

Debra Russell and Jessica Dunkley


Jessica Dunkley is a Deaf medical doctor currently in her second year of residency with the University of Alberta in Canada. In this interview she describes her experiences of accessing medical school with interpreting services. She discusses the skills, knowledge and attributes she seeks in the interpreting team working with her in this complex medical context, and she describes her needs and preferences for the working norms that the designated team must adopt. Her experiences offer interpreters and educators opportunities to examine their own interpreting assumptions and to learn about the ways in which Deaf doctors and medical practitioners perform their work in order to produce effective interpreting services.

Keywords: interpreters and interpreter education; Deaf doctors; medical discourse; decision making; team interpreting; American Sign Language (ASL); power and privilege.

From the classroom to the community: Supported fieldwork for ASL-English Interpreters

Janice Humphrey


This article aims to describe an approach to supervised mentorship that can help close the current readiness-to-work gap among graduates of both 2 and 4-year interpreter education programs, expand student confidence, prepare students for transition to work or additional education and partially restore the role of Deaf community members as cultural guides and gatekeepers. This sequence of mentorship settings can also be used to guide instructors in determining a student’s readiness for practicum or internship placement, identifying the most appropriate fieldwork setting for each student, and alerting students and potential employers of their readiness to work.

Keywords: Classroom-based scenarios; Cultural guides, Cultural gate keepers; Fieldwork; Internship; Practicum, Readiness-to-work gap

Interpreter Output in Talking Therapy: Towards a Methodology for Good Practice

Jan Cambridge


This thesis investigated current praxis among professional interpreters working in psychiatric outpatient clinics. Four clinical encounters were filmed and analyzed using thematic analysis, and post hoc satisfaction questionnaires were completed after the interviews. Two clinicians and eight certified and registered interpreters (working between English and either Punjabi or Urdu) were interviewed with part of the interpreters’ interview consisting of responses to dilemma vignettes. A Delphi process validated responses to these vignettes. Four clinical encounters at routine appointments in psychiatric outpatient clinics were filmed and analysed using thematic analysis; post hoc satisfaction questionnaires were used after the filmed interviews. The complexity of interpreters’ work was revealed in the breakdown of the components forming the impartial interpreting model. Taking the model as the cognitive framework for observation of practice provided depth of insight into the whole communication event. A tension between doctors’ and interpreters’ understandings of each other’s roles and professional needs revealed that each believed themselves to be helping the other, when in fact they were working against each other. The impartial model was seen to be in use, but only in part, and interpreting practitioners were revealed to consider close interpreting and the full impartial model as not appropriate for mental health clinics, but only for courts of law. There were noticeable gaps among the interpreters in their education and training for this work. The clinicians declared a lack of training on working with interpreters, and this was evidenced in the course of their interviews. This thesis highlights the complexity of need that faces the profession of public service interpreting especially in terms of standardizing both training and praxis.

Book Review: Research Methods in Interpreting

Jo Anna Burn

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.