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Volume 8(2) ~ November 2016

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.

Complete Articles


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


Editorial: Travel, Technology and Professional Connections

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

Advances in technology allow us to connect, share, and collaborate with colleagues from around the world more than ever before. It has never been easier to keep abreast of discussions, debates and new ideas in the field via social media, and to work collaboratively online with colleagues in other countries and other time zones. However, all of us who have attended conferences nationally or internationally recognize the enormous benefits of interacting with (and being inspired by) colleagues face to face. An inspiring array of conferences relevant to interpreter education took place around the world in 2016. We would therefore like to begin this volume by reflecting on the value of conference attendance to strengthening our work as interpreter educators and researchers, as well as our connections to international colleagues.

Grace (2016) reminds us that the importance of such face-to-face professional networking can easily be overlooked, because its outcomes are not necessarily immediate or measurable. We sometimes only recognize the benefits when we look back and realize how much these opportunities to build professional networks have enhanced our research and our knowledge development. For example, an IJIE editor met fellow researcher Eva Ng at a linguistics conference in Cardiff many years ago; little did either realize at the time that the connection would lead to collaboration through co-authorship and, now, conference convening: The First International Conference on Legal and Healthcare Interpreting, Hong Kong, February 2017. Many readers will have similar experiences of professional collaboration opportunities (not to mention new friendships) developing out of conferences.

Earlier this year we were both privileged to be able to travel to the Critical Link (CL8) Conference at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, where we presented our research and connected with signed and spoken language interpreters from many different countries in the world. We enjoyed the high quality of new research and scholarly discussion and debate. It was also wonderful to see how signed language and spoken language interpreting researchers all connected together and learnt from each other. We found this collegial interconnectedness very inspiring.

It is important that we share the benefits of travel with those colleagues who are unable to attend national or international conferences in these times of budgetary and time constraints. As academics from New Zealand, we are often not in a position to travel a long way to attend the plethora of conferences on offer in the Northern hemisphere. Funding issues, travel costs, semester start and finish dates, and workloads may all make it difficult for us to travel as part of our professional development, and this is a predicament shared with many others. Other colleagues may never be able to travel due to financial and other constraints. However, there are other ways of remaining ‘linked in’.

Technology has brought us many other means of keeping connected. These include social media such as Twitter, and Facebook, which allow us to instantly share thoughts, opportunities, and announcements. Webinars for interpreters and educators (such as the Colloquium Lecture Series organized by Gallaudet University) allow for learning and teaching nationally and internationally. Conference reports, such as the one written by Doug Bowen-Bailey in this issue, ensure those who are unable to attend can still get a sense of the important discussions and debates that occurred. Different settings may sometimes lead to us seeing things through a particular lens. As Ralph Crawshaw (1984) wrote,

Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel’s immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way.

Crawshaw’s quote relates to medical doctors travelling and connecting with international colleagues, and we can easily draw parallels to our work in the interpreting field. International collaboration and communication quite literally broaden our horizons. Of course, IJIE itself is a very relevant example of an avenue to connect scholars and educators from around the world and we are feel privileged to be involved in continuing to build on the wonderful groundwork laid by Professor Jemina Napier and the IJIE Editorial Board.

Turning to our 8(2) volume, we are pleased to share contributions from both signed and spoken language interpreter education scholars from around the world, including the U.S., the U.K., Belgium, Mexico, and China. In our first Research Article of this volume, Leah Subak describes a qualitative study in which she examined deaf and hearing interpreters’ perspectives on Deaf-World cultural competence. This topic is of great relevance to particularly signed language interpreter educators, given that only a small minority of interpreting students are native signers (Williamson, 2016). This means that for the majority of students, who are not bilingual and bicultural, Deaf-World cultural competence has to be learned, as students navigate their place in the Deaf world. Subak explores what this means in detail, and suggests that this issue could have a more prominent place in interpreter education programs.

Our European colleagues Heidi Salaets and Laura Theys focus on the note-taking practices of spoken language interpreting students using the consecutive interpreting mode. They describe the relationship between students’ use of link words in note-taking and their interpreting performance, and make practical recommendations for educators teaching note-taking techniques. We are very pleased to be able include work by an emerging researcher like Laura Theys working with a more experienced scholar (Heidi Salaets), and we would like to once again take the opportunity to ask other scholars to encourage their postgraduate students to submit their work to IJIE.

This volume also includes a focus on the use of VoiceThread technology in interpreter education, by Stacey Webb and Suzanne Ehrlich. Many interpreter educators use Blackboard as a learning management system; they may now be using VoiceThread technology as a modality for posting interpreting practice, either in audiovisual or audio mode. In this article, Webb and Ehrlich share their own experiences with using VoiceThread, and they include some practical examples of its use for different types of tasks, as well as their reflections on its use for enhancing dynamic dialogue in the interpreting classroom.

In our second Commentary section article, Brett Best focuses on the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) accreditation for British Sign Language/English interpreters. Using two frameworks for adult learning, she provides a theoretical evaluation of the NVQ and sets out her recommendations for further development of this process. Her theoretical analysis is relevant to readers outside of the U.K. system also, as she explores the concept and implications of viewing interpreting as a practice profession (Dean & Pollard, 2005) as opposed to, or in addition to, a technical and skills-based profession.

In the Open Forum section, Marla Robles and Debra Russell introduce us to Sergio Peña, multicultural and multilingual interpreter and interpreter educator who grew up on the interface among U.S., Mexican and Deaf cultures. Sergio relates his life’s journey, the influences of his Mexican heritage, and how he became involved in the Deaf community. He speaks of cultural diversity and the many different cultural affiliations with which interpreters (as well as the general population) may identify.

The second Open Forum contribution focuses on the value of connecting with each other as interpreter educators and researchers, of sharing knowledge, and finding new inspiration for our teaching and researching. Thus, Doug Bowen-Bailey shares his reflections on the recent 2016 CIT conference in Lexington, Kentucky, in the U.S., enabling readers from around the world to share in topics discussed and inspiration drawn from this conference.

Yanqiang Wang, from the Department of Translation and Interpretation at Fudan University in China reviews the recently published Introduction to Healthcare for Chinese-Speaking Interpreters and Translators by Ineke Crezee and Eva Ng. He reflects on the usefulness of the book to practitioners and educators, and makes some suggestions for future editions.

Our Dissertation Abstract section provides an insight into new post-graduate research work on topics relevant to interpreter education from around the world. In her PhD thesis, Helen Slatyer (Macquarie University, Australia) discusses the reflective and collaborative action research design used to develop a language-neutral interpreting program catering to trainee interpreters from migrant and asylum seeker communities. The final curriculum reflected the views of all stakeholders, including teachers and trainees. For her doctoral study, Vicky Crawley (University of Leeds, England) used a conversation analysis framework to examine the extent and nature of interpreter participation in interactions where there were problems with seeing, hearing, producing or understanding. Yan Ding’s PhD thesis (University of Auckland, New Zealand) describes an experimental study that explored the effect of existing or acquired domain knowledge on student interpreters’ interpreting performance. Finally, for her master’s thesis, Qianya Cheng (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand) identified and analyzed the challenges of remote interpreting, as reported by telephone interpreters in a survey and in one-on-one interviews. Her interviewees also discussed some of the strategies they used to overcome such challenges.

We are very pleased with the high calibre of contributions received for 2016. As the end of the year approaches, we would like to remind our readers that we have a rolling call for manuscripts and we encourage those working in interpreter education to send in submissions for our 2017 volumes. We welcome submissions of research articles, practice-based reflections and discussion papers, book or curriculae reviews, interviews, and summaries of dissertations. IJIE’s Student Work section that may be of interest particularly to interpreter educators who are studying toward doctoral and master’s degrees, but who do not yet have a wealth of publishing experience—this section provides a chance to share student research alongside established scholars in the field.

International conferences and visits to other states or other countries enable us to see things through different eyes. In a time of funding constraints, conference and other travel may not always be possible, but we can make the most of other avenues to connect and share our work and ideas with each other. We strive to ensure that this journal is a forum for interpreters and interpreting educators nationally and internationally, and your contribution is welcome. As reminder of the value of our professional connections, we end this editorial with a second quote that embodies the international nature of our journal and the way it supports our interconnectedness with colleagues from around the globe:

“Le vĂ©ritable voyage de dĂ©couverte ne consiste pas Ă  chercher de nouveaux paysages, mais Ă  avoir de nouveaux yeux. ”

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust (1923)


Crawshaw, Ralph S. (1984). Doctors across the sea: A doctor-to-doctor international medical education exchange. Journal of the American Medical Association, 252(22), 3170–3171.

Dean, R. K., & Pollard, R. Q., Jr. (2005). Consumers and service effectiveness in interpreting work: A practice profession perspective. In M. Marschark, R. Peterson, & E. A. Winston (Eds.), Sign language interpreting and interpreter education: Directions for research and practice (pp. 259–282). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Grace, P. M. (2016). Learning the lessons of networking. Science, 352(6286), 738.

Proust, M. (1923). Remembrance of things past: The prisoner, Vol. V. Trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff (1929).

Williamson, A. (2016). Lost in the shuffle: Deaf-parented interpreters and their paths to interpreting careers. International Journal of Interpreter Education, 8(1), 4–22.

[1] Correspondence to: CITjournaleditor@gmail.com

Research Articles

Becoming HEARING: Describing Co-Construction of Expert ASL/English Interpreter Deaf-World Cultural Competence

Leah Subak[1]
Kent State University


This article describes deaf and hearing expert interpreter participants’ perspectives on Deaf-World cultural competence (DWCC). DWCC is a concept explicitly and implicitly embedded in the Conference of Interpreter Trainer’s (CIT’s) mission statement. American deaf and mainstream cultures coexist and interpreters facilitate communication between individuals not sharing a common language. The author completed a qualitative study and dissertation, and relied on expert deaf and hearing participants’ responses given during narrative interviews. Participants described their lived experience entering and maintaining ties to the Deaf-World. The inquiry explored participants’ identity transformations as they came to be described by their deaf-conferred ASL label, HEARING. Salient concepts raised in this article include a proposed description of interpreter DWCC, and a tacit seven-step process of Deaf-World connections, the interpreter affiliation/alliance narrative (IAAN). Being ascribed ASL/English interpreter status includes co-constructed community and cultural connections between two language worlds explained comprehensively via the interpreting spectrum (IS).

Keywords: Deaf-World cultural competence, interpreter affiliation/alliance narrative, co-construction, interpreting spectrum

[1]Correspondence to: lsubak@kent.edu

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Link Words in Note-Taking and Student Interpreter Performance: An Empirical Study

Heidi Salaets[1]
KU Leuven, Antwerp campus 

Laura Theys
KU Leuven, Antwerp Campus


The note-taking technique (NTT) is an essential tool for consecutive interpreting. Several experts developed guidelines to help interpreters develop their own personal note-taking techniques, one of which is noting down link words. In this article, the authors discuss the findings of an empirical study which compared the note-taking and interpreting performance of 13 Belgian spoken-language student interpreters in the first year of their master’s degree in interpreting. The study aimed to explore the effectiveness and influence of (not) noting down links between ideas as per the guidelines in the literature (Jones, 2002; Gillies, 2005; Rozan, 1956) on spoken language interpreting performance. Based on the conclusions of this study, some suggestions are offered as to the teaching of spoken language consecutive interpreting and note-taking.

Keywords: note-taking technique, links, consecutive interpreting, interpreter education

[1] Correspondence to: heidi.salaets@kuleuven.be


Dynamic Dialogue in Interpreter Education via Voicethread

Stacey Webb[1]
Heriot-Watt University

Suzanne Ehrlich
University of North Florida


This paper provides a glimpse into the use of interactive dialogue to increase and improve interactivity among interpreter education students via Voicethread. The focus of the paper is primarily drawn from experiences in the education of signed language interpreting students, however, it is also relevant to spoken language interpreting students. While this article aims to explore the use of Voicethread (also known as MyThread) as a dynamic digital tool to enhance dialogue, the concepts highlighted go beyond tools to demonstrate how improved connectivity and dialogue can serve as a strong foundation for community building in eLearning environments. Both theory and application of the ways in which dynamic dialogue can be integrated will be addressed throughout the paper. Exemplars are provided to guide educators through use and implementation of Voicethread to improve dialogue in the classroom.

Keywords: discussion, dialogue, pedagogy, technology, online instruction, interpreting, sign language

[1] Correspondence to: Stacey Webb, sw288@hw.ac.uk

Thinking Outside the Black Box: A Theoretical Evaluation of Adult Learning and the NVQ Pathway to Interpreter Qualification

Brett Best[1]

London, United Kingdom


This article utilizes two popular theories of adult learning as analytical lenses to evaluate the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) process of accrediting British Sign Language (BSL)/English interpreters in the United Kingdom. Although an NVQ is an assessment, learning opportunities are inherent in the assessment process and in the training which typically precedes it. Behaviorist and constructivist theoretical orientations are applied in this analysis as both are applicable and relevant to the NVQ process. The Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting framework exemplifies a behaviorist orientation, although it also blends in elements of constructivism. It is suggested that training which further incorporates constructivist learning opportunities be made a requirement as this may prove beneficial for a more holistic approach to interpreter qualification via the NVQ pathway. This analytical exploration is relevant to interpreter educators and researchers in other countries and other language combinations because, although interpreting has been traditionally viewed as a technical, skills-based profession, thereby lending itself well to a behaviorist learning orientation, it has also been identified as a practice profession (Dean & Pollard, 2005) where determinations for the work product are imbued with situational nuance, a reality to which a constructivist approach is particularly well suited.

Keywords: NVQ, behaviorism, constructivism, interpreter qualification, adult learning, interpreter training

[1] Correspondence to: brett@bestvisualinterpreting.co.uk

Open Forum

The Value of Knowledge and Relationships

Doug Bowen-Bailey[1]
Digiterp Communications

The 2016 CIT Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, has just come to a close and the editors of the IJIE asked for some highlights in light of consideration of the value of travel to attend conferences. (As I drove 16 hours back to my home in Minnesota, I had some time to ponder these questions.)  Here are some of my reflections.

In our data-driven society, value is often seen in terms of quantifiable amounts.  So I offer some of the numbers related to our conference:

  • More than 300 people attended the pre-conference session, conference, or both.
  • More than 50 people volunteered to help organize and support the running of the conference.
  • 4 plenary sessions
  • 36 workshop sessions
  • 11 poster presentations

Yet for those who attend conferences, I think the real benefits are qualitative in nature and not so easily described with numbers. So, here are some more qualitative themes.

Knowledge:  Research, Learn and Collaborate were three aspects of this year’s conference theme.  Conference participants had the opportunity to learn from the research and work of a tremendous cohort of presenters from around the globe.   Christian Rathmann opened the conference with presentation on current trends in interpreting education, drawing on his experiences as an educator and researcher in Germany.  Amy Williamson, a PhD candidate at Gallaudet University, shared her research on heritage learners of sign language and their position in our field.   David Quinto-Pozos from the University of Texas shared his research on the state of trilingual interpreter education focused on ASL, English and Spanish.  Finally, Brandon Arthur, who started StreetLeverage, shared his thoughts on the ways that interpreter educators play a critical and creative role in the overall profession of interpreting.

These plenary sessions are just the tip of the iceberg for research and teaching practice that was shared.  As a co-chair for registration, I was not actually able to attend many of the sessions myself, but I saw many conversations and comments about the quality of workshops and ideas.

The one session I did attend, on facilitating “courageous conversations” in the classroom, was held on a Thursday evening.   Because it was after a break for the evening meal, the presenters, Risa Shaw and Mary Thumann, did not expect to have a large audience. However, the room was full as they shared ways that they address issues related to social justice and oppression in the context of interpreting education.  In fact, even after the 8:30 pm end time, attendees lingered in small group discussions continuing on consideration of the topics that had been presented.

Networking: Amy Williamson, in her plenary presentation, touched on the importance of relationships between interpreters and the communities they served.  Conferences give people the opportunity to practice nurturing these relationships.  Richard Laurion, who works at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, shared these thoughts:

[Networking] is a hard reason to convince administrators and bosses because they see it as fluff-time.  However, our networking is far from superfluous – our field is young and this is a way we share teaching strategies and improve our work.

In addition to our field being young, interpreter education (particularly for sign language interpreters) must also contend with being a low-incidence field.  There are not that many programs and we are spread out across the country, so having a chance to come together and engage in discussion with other educators with similar challenges and concerns is vital.

Inspiration: Finally, conferences provide inspiration and energy to try new practices to take our teaching and mentoring to new levels.  Whether it is learning about new apps that can be incorporated in the classroom to engage students, new linguistic research about how head nods are used in ASL, or recent research undertaken by PhD students, these fresh perspectives have the potential to infuse energy into our own teaching and interpreting practice.

At CIT, this is augmented by the international flavor of the conference.  This year, a contingent of educators came from Japan.  So, in many of the workshops, participants were able to see a team working to interpret from ASL into Japanese Sign Language.  We also had presentations from educators from Scotland, Germany, and Canada.  So although the focus of the conference is on education for ASL–English interpreters in the United States, the conference serves as an important reminder that we are connected to other interpreter educators around the globe, in both spoken and signed languages.

Making Our Case

On my final day at the conference, I had a conversation with a colleague who has recently retired from teaching.  She asked for my perspective on this conference compared to previous ones.  Our attendance numbers were down. In conversations with me during the registration process, some people reported that in the current economic environment, academic institutions are more hesitant to support travel to conferences, particularly ones that go out of state.  We are also in the situation where the federal grant which supported the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC) is now complete, and the new grant replacing it is not in effect.  This grant has supported the attendance of many educators in the past, so this also had an effect.

What it made me consider, though, is that in the midst of the numbers games of finances in educational institutions, it is important for us as educators to be able to articulate the ways that attending conferences bring value to our work in both quantitative and qualitative ways.   Our administrators may want to see the numbers, but it is the knowledge and networking that truly inspire us to move forward on our professional paths.

[1] Correspondence to: dbb@digiterp.com.

Interview with Sergio Peña, Multicultural and Multilingual Interpreter and Educator

Marla Robles[1]
University of North Florida, U.S.

Debra Russell
University of Alberta, Canada

Sergio Peña
Universidad AutĂłnoma de Baja California, Tijuana, Mexico


Sergio Peña is a certified interpreter in ASL, English, Spanish, and Mexican Sign Language (LSM). He is the co-author of Lo que hace a un interprete ser interprete. TĂ©cnicas y herramientas para los intĂ©rpretes de lenguas señadas y español [What makes an interpreter be an interpreter: Techniques and tools for interpreters working with signed language and Spanish]. Claire Ramsey and he also co-authored “Sign Language Interpreting at the Border of the Two Californias,” which was included in Interpreting in Multilingual, Multicultural Contexts.” (Locker McKee & Davis, 2010). He holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from San Diego State University with a specialization in linguistics. He is a coordinator and teacher in the Interpreter Trainer Program at Universidad AutĂłnoma de Baja California under the school of languages in Tijuana, B.C., Mexico. The following interview was conducted as part of a graduate course experience in which students conversed with educators outside of North America.

Keywords: trilingual, multilingual, Spanish, English, American Sign Language, Lengua de Señas Mexicana

[1] Correspondence to: marlasophia629@gmail.com

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Book Review: Introduction to Healthcare for Chinese-Speaking Interpreters and Translators

 Download PDF of Article

Yanqiang Wang

Crezee, I. H. M., & Ng, E. N. S. (2016). Introduction to healthcare for Chinese-speaking interpreters and translators. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins. ISBN 978-90272-1235-1 (Hb), 978-90272-1236-8 (Pb). EBook: 978-90272-6684-2412pp.

Settings, as the “social context of interaction” (Pöchhacker, 2004. p. 13), not only constitute the social context of professional interpreting, but also place certain constraints on interpreting performance. Interpreters do not work in a vacuum; they work in specific settings, where they need to be equipped with certain background knowledge, playing particular roles, in order to interpret with accuracy by using text-specific discourses. The more context knowledge they have in a certain field, the better they perform in the real world of interpreting and translation.

Introduction to Healthcare for Chinese-Speaking Interpreters and Translators, is based on the popular international publication (Crezee, 2013) is a knowledge-based guidebook and reference for interpreters and translators working in English–Chinese healthcare settings. This is the first book of its kind, with its innovative localization focus and language-specific design, and may greatly benefit the targeted audience, namely, medical interpreters with little experience or knowledge of medicine, and the medical interpreting and translation learners working with the English-and-Chinese language combination.

The authors aim for the book to serve as a brief medical encyclopedia for English-Chinese language professionals working in this field and for learners/trainees as well. It will allow interpreters and translators to familiarize themselves with anatomy, physiology, medical terminology and frequently encountered conditions, diagnostic tests and treatment options, and so forth, providing English and Chinese medical glossaries pertaining to a cross-section of modern medicine. The book also provides explanations relating to body systems and medical procedures commonly encountered in healthcare settings, which makes it more like a subject-oriented course text for interpreting training programs. Interpreters in the medical setting must do more than just familiarize themselves with technical glossaries; must gain an overall understanding of the working processes in the setting.

The book contains 28 chapters, divided into three parts, in line with the learning process of the medical interpreting trainees, to meet the needs of both trainers and trainees. Part I provides a brief introduction to healthcare interpreting, covering issues such as healthcare interpreting systems worldwide; medical interpreting challenges and skills needed to fulfill assignments; the code of ethics for medical interpreters; and the culture-specific nature of medical interpreting. The importance of understanding the culture is highlighted throughout Part I, and especially in Chapter Three. This part concludes with the introduction to the structure of medical terminology in both Western and Chinese medicine.

Part II gives an overview of a range of healthcare settings, providing a general map of primary care, specialty care, inpatient care and emergency care and introducing the professionals who work in these settings. The authors briefly explain the common protocols and procedures of different countries from the US and UK to China. In each section, readers will find a list of questions that interpreters may encounter in various healthcare interactions, which will be extremely valuable to novice interpreters. Part II also describes other areas of the medical system, such as obstetrics, neonatal care, pediatrics, speech therapy, mental health care, and oncology.

Part III introduces readers to healthcare specialty areas. Each chapter provides the following information specific to a particular specialty around the main body systems: Latin and Greek roots, anatomy, physiology, health professionals, common disorders, medications and procedures. Each chapter presents the English–Chinese glossary in the specific area, including regional variations (both traditional Chinese, as used in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and simplified Chinese, as used in Mainland China). The authors cover most of the principal specialty areas, including neurology, cardiology, pulmonology, hematology, orthopedics muscular and motor systems, the sensory system, immunology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, urology/nephrology, and the reproductive system. Other information sources and a list of most useful websites are included as annexes to the book for readers to further explore this field.

Introduction to Healthcare for Chinese-Speaking Interpreters and Translators was created by healthcare professionals, practicing interpreters and educators, and is different from general textbooks for interpreting and translation in many ways. First, the book will be a great tool for the medical interpreting educator. The easy-to-understand descriptions of almost all the medical subsystems in plain language and the well-structured format will help learners gain a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare interpreting setting and be better prepared for the real world. The samples and explanations of typical illnesses, diagnoses, tests, medical procedures, treatments and descriptions of common equipment used in hospitals are equally relevant and practical in medical interpreting training. Each of the book’s 41 illustrations (by Jenny Jiang) contains English and Chinese labels to support interpreters preparing for an interpreting assignment or during the assignment itself.

Second, the authors dedicate a section to the cultural aspect of the medical interpreting. As language and culture are intertwined, the cultural differences between East and West—in particular, different attitudes toward health and lifestyle based in different philosophical traditions—can greatly influence communication in healthcare settings. Even immigrants who feel that they have assimilated to their new country in many ways may return to their original cultural attitudes when faced with ill health. The explanations of the differences between Chinese and Western healthcare cultures will be very helpful to the translators and interpreters working in this language combination. In addition, a number of interpreting anecdotes together with practical advice from the authors address ethical dilemmas with interpreters may face. In “Notes for Interpreters and Translators,” the authors draw on their considerable real-world medical interpreting experience to explain, for example how to relay the doctor’s questions to the patient effectively and how to be aware of the various ways in which patients may respond to bad news.

In spite of the complexity of medical systems and the many divergent terms in the medical field, the authors of this book manage to incorporate the most essential knowledge and the commonly used terminology, keeping the book to a practical size. Future editions might cover the names of some frequently used medicines in each area; but given the fact that brand names and drugs of choice vary a lot between countries, this may be impractical. Language professionals working in the medical field must be able to understand medical forms and other documents such as forms for registration, examinations and the patient’s consent, to be able to assist patients effectively; although such documents vary among institutions, it may be helpful to include some samples. Future editions of this book might also include a chapter on dermatology, a specialty in almost all major Chinese hospitals.

Significantly, the book introduces the basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and some TCM principles, such as the concept of ying and yang. In light of the important role of the TCM in China and its increasing popularity in countries with English-speaking populations, including more detailed introductions to the holistic health approach of the TCM as well as to commonly adopted therapies, medication procedures and terminologies (such as herbal medicines, and acupuncture), would assure the book’s contemporary relevance.

In an era of mass immigration activities and cross-border medical service provisions, there may be an increase in demand for English-Chinese medical interpreting and translation worldwide. The timely publication of the first English-Chinese medical interpreting textbook will benefit all medical interpreters, novices in particular, increasing their health literacy and enhancing their ability to understand the discourse of the medical setting. As the first English–Chinese medical interpreting training course book, Introduction to Healthcare for Chinese-Speaking Interpreters and Translators will surely promote the importance of modern medical interpreting training in this language combination.


Crezee, I. (2013). Introduction to healthcare for interpreters and translators. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Pöchhacker, F. (2004). Introducing interpreting studies. London, England: Routledge.

Dissertation Abstracts

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

Multilingual Interpreter Education: Curriculum Design and Evaluation

Slatyer, Helen
Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University, Australia.
Email: helen.slatyer@mq.edu.au
Degree: PhD dissertation, Macquarie University

Australia, as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees (1951) recognizes the importance of providing language services to support the successful settlement of asylum seekers and migrants who don’t speak the mainstream language. The quality and availability of interpreting services depends on the availability of suitable educational opportunities for interpreters from the same communities. However, the recruitment, training and testing of interpreters is often problematic in these emerging languages due to the difficulty of locating suitable teachers and assessors, and the financial implications of running courses for specific languages with small numbers of students are prohibitive. The resulting lack of educational opportunity creates a gap in the provision of services and leads to disparate levels of quality in the services that are provided.

This thesis reports on a study that set out to design, trial and evaluate a curriculum model suited to the education of interpreters from emerging and low-demand language communities in Australia. Drawing on constructivist and transformationist models of education, the curriculum model was developed from a reflective and collaborative action research orientation. The interdisciplinary research design draws on interpreting studies, education, evaluation and applied linguistics to inform the design and evaluation processes.

The thesis situates the curriculum within the social, political and professional context of community interpreting in Australia and describes the collaborative processes set up for the design and evaluation of the model. The evolution of the curriculum is tracked through the different design, implementation and evaluation phases where data informed each step in the process. The final curriculum model reflects the needs of key stakeholders (interpreters, employers, educators and professional bodies) and the views of the participants in the study. A new model for an integrated curriculum development and evaluation process is also proposed.

Keywords: interpreter education, curriculum design, curriculum evaluation

Achieving Understanding Via Interpreter Participation in British Sign Language / English Map Task Dialogues: An Analysis of Repair Sequences Involving Ambiguity and Underspecificity in Signed and Spoken Languages

Vicky Crawley
York St John University, York, UK.
Email: v.crawley@yorksj.ac.uk
Degree: PhD dissertation, University of Leeds, 2016

Research into the role of the interpreter in dialogue interpreting has so far established that the interpreter participates in the interaction just as much as the two primary participants, particularly in the area of turn-taking.  Less has been written about the nature of participation by the interpreter.  This thesis has contributed to knowledge through research into the extent and manner of interpreter participation when there are problems due to seeing/hearing, producing or understanding. Such interpreter participation is often described by practitioners as “clarifying”, while Schegloff , Sacks and Jefferson (1977) refer to it as “repair” (1977).

Using a map task to distract participants from their language use, the actions of the interpreter were examined through a conversation analysis lens.

The findings were that the participation by interpreters was for the most part due to what the researcher defines as “ambiguity” and “underspecificity”, and that interpreters were changing stance from “other” to “self”.  This action was examined, positing a model “stop – account – act”; responses from the participants when the interpreter changed from “other” to “self” and back were also explored, to see whether clients understood the interpreter’s change of stance.

Understanding is known to be collaboratively achieved in interpreted interactions just as it is in monolingual conversations.  The thesis findings strengthen this understanding through empirical research.  Interlocutors do not present an absolute meaning in one language which is then reframed in another language. Rather, meanings are differentiated collaboratively through further talk. The thesis findings show that interpreters are tightly constrained in their participation, and that their overriding job of interpreting dictates the reasons for their participation.  The interpreter seeks not “what does that mean?” but rather “what do you mean?”

The Role of Subject-Area Knowledge in Consecutive Interpreting

Ding, Yan
University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Email: lydia_307908554@qq.com
Degree: PhD dissertation, University of Auckland.

Theoretical models of interpreting competence emphasize the need for interpreters to have a wide range of knowledge, as they encounter a broad spectrum of subject areas in their work. Nevertheless, there is little empirical evidence to show how existing or acquired domain knowledge contributes to the final interpreting performance. This thesis aimed to address this research gap by investigating the effect of domain knowledge on both the interpreting product and the interpreting process. A consecutive interpreting experiment was designed involving 54 student interpreters from three different programs where consecutive interpreting courses were offered: the three samples. The same experiment was replicated for each of the three samples. In each sample, student interpreters were divided into two groups, and both groups were provided with a list of core terminology for the source speech. In addition, the experimental groups in all three samples received a portfolio of parallel texts pertinent to the subject area and topic of the source speeches. Participants in the experimental groups were able to study these before carrying out the interpreting.

The hypothesis was that domain knowledge acquired through reading the portfolio would, first, help student interpreters obtain higher scores in interpreting quality assessments, and second, help them apply higher-level interpreting strategies, which are also more likely to be successful in solving interpreting problems. A number of complementary data-collection tools were used in the experiment, including background questionnaires, pretests and posttests, retrospective reports and interviews. The data collected were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods. Of these methods, propositional analysis proved to be a very effective tool. The thesis presents the results from the first two samples only, as these are more comparable in nature.

The results confirmed the two hypotheses of the study. First, participants in the experimental groups, who read the portfolio, obtained higher scores in interpreting quality assessments than those in the control groups, who did not read the portfolio. Propositional analysis showed that participants in the experimental groups performed better than those in the control groups especially in reproducing predicates and difficult propositions. This result suggests that participants in both groups did perform well with easy propositions, yet reading the portfolio helped participants in the experimental groups to perform well with difficult propositions. Second, participants in the experimental groups applied a higher proportion of high-level (macro-level) interpreting strategies, which also had a higher success rate than strategies applied by participants in the control groups. In general, the findings of this study suggest that domain knowledge affects student interpreters’ processes at the sentence and discourse level instead of at the lexical level.

Key words: domain knowledge, consecutive interpreting, interpreting competence, interpreting quality, interpreting strategy, propositional analysis, experimental study.

Challenges for Telephone Interpreters in New Zealand

Cheng, Qianya (Thea)
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.
Email: theac0721@gmail.com
Degree: Master’s thesis, Auckland University of Technology

Qianya’s Master’s of Applied Language Studies thesis examined the perspectives of New Zealand-based telephone interpreters on the challenges they encountered at work. The purpose of this study was to identify problems faced by telephone interpreters in New Zealand and provide possible solutions to address these difficulties through interpreter training and/or ongoing professional development. The study used a mixed-method approach, combining a quantitative online survey (n = 21) and qualitative interviews (n = 9). The results indicated that the main challenges for telephone interpreters in New Zealand included a lack of information for preparation, the absence of visual messages and the difficulties of communicating with other parties (e.g., using direct/indirect speech, controlling turn-taking, interrupting the speakers, asking for clarification, avoiding side-talk and explaining the interpreter’s role). Additional challenges also included work stress, interpreters feeling isolated during interpreting work, the relatively low remuneration and the issues of work-life balance. The participants had developed their own strategies to deal with the above challenges. Most respondents in this research had participated in some form of interpreter training and had thought highly of such programmes. However, as most had undertaken general interpreting training, several respondents suggested it would be better to have training preparing interpreters for telephone interpreting challenges in particular.

The findings suggest that both interpreting education and ongoing professional development are important for telephone interpreters. If telephone interpreting users are educated on how to work with telephone interpreters, communication will be more effective and efficient. It is also recommended that telephone interpreting providers develop a system for collecting feedback from users to help interpreters improve their performance.

Keywords: telephone interpreters, challenges, work stress, feeling isolated

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