A Band-Aid for a wound? Rethinking signed language interpreting

Maartje De Meulder, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow, University of Namur, Belgium

Hilde Haualand, PhD, Associate Professor, Oslo Metropolitan University.

Signed language interpreting services (SLIS) have existed in many countries in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand for more than four decades, in which they have evolved from volunteer charity-work to well-established social institutions and professional services. While spoken language interpreting is a temporary challenge for most speakers of minority languages, navigating their lives through sign language interpreting is often a life-long challenge for deaf signers.

This presentation critically rethinks the impact of SLIS as a social institution, and how SLIS have become tied with ideologies of ‘access’ and ‘inclusion’ for deaf people. Some of the questions we raise in this presentation are related to the ethics and ideologies of SLIS as a social institution. For example, is it ethically right and practically justified to use interpreters in all the situations we do now, and all forms of public services? Are SLIS in some situations replacing direct communication between deaf and hearing people at the expense of a wider use of sign languages? Is signed language interpreting in some situations becoming a proverbial ‘veil’ covering communication barriers and deaf people’s linguistic practices?

The presentation discusses documented examples from educational settings and health care to investigate SLIS as social and political constructs that inform service provision. We consider SLIS to be enabling services: not just services in their own right, but also a means to make other services accessible, and as such determining factors for public service provision. The documented examples reveal several common challenges across health care and education settings: lack of professional knowledge and awareness with deaf users of SLIS, interpreters themselves and service providers about the affordances and constraints of interpreting, a naïve belief in what SLI can achieve, and the continuous challenge related to the quality of SLI(S).

In this presentation, we problematize SLIS as replacing or concealing the need for direct services in a signed language, and argue that the continuous demand for more SLIS is neither sustainable nor desirable as the only option to provide accessible public services to deaf people. We argue that like any social institution, SLIS should be studied and analysed critically, and those who legitimize it -deaf people- should be involved in this critical analysis. It is timely to do this now. Indeed, the establishment and provision of SLIS has led to a critical mass of deaf professionals and researchers who have accumulated substantial knowledge about the affordances and constraints of SLI. The critical analysis we call for includes more scrutiny about the impact of SLIS beyond interpreted events, how different kinds of ‘accesses’ can be implemented beyond interpreting as such, and more awareness of contextual communication choices deaf people make beyond the use of interpreters. These issues should be the topic of urgent conversations amongst deaf professionals, public service providers, policy makers, and sign language interpreters.

Comparative analysis of temporal processes in international sign and NGT interpreting

Aurélia Nana Gassa Gonga, MA

Onno Crasborn, PhD

This talk focuses on the temporal dynamics of simultaneous interpreting as created in producing international sign (IS) in comparison to Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT) in conference interpretation settings. IS interpreters have been increasingly used at conferences in the last decades. In parallel, research about IS (also called ‘cross-signing’) is developing (Allsop et al., 1995; Hiddinga & Crasborn, 2011). However, research about IS interpretation has received less attention, also in comparison to studies of interpreting in national sign languages. In order to better understand interpretation into IS (Napier, 2002) and to highlight its specificities, we observed the same teams of IS interpreters working in parallel with NGT interpreters during 3 lectures. Regarding the dataset, one of the interesting differences between IS and NGT interpretation is the time course of the creation of the interpretation. We observed the time process between source and target message is often longer in IS than in NGT interpretation. This lead to this question: which IS interpretation strategies correspond to long time lags and how can understanding this can help to understand how IS and signed languages in general are constructed?

In the perspective of the “semiological model” of signed languages based on Cuxac (2000), signed languages are characterised by the co-existence of two modalities of telling: a classical modality (lexical units), and a telling-by-showing modality (highly iconic structures). Both are linguistically structured. In this model, iconicity (beyond the lexicon) is central to signed languages and its structures are the most different from spoken languages ones. That is why a proper use of iconicity is considered as idiomatic (deaf-accent). We noticed that in IS interpretation, interpreters tend to use more iconic structures than lexical signs in “passing on the meaning” (Séleskovitch & Lederer, 2014) of the message, even if these structures are often seen as longer than classical ones in simultaneous interpretation (Pournin-Pointurier, 2014). This study inverses the perspective by testing the hypothesis that simultaneous interpretation using iconic structures rather than others is more about preparation than the final interpretation product itself. Therefore, it is not the case that iconic structures take so much time to produce, but rather to process. IS is constructed with the most modality-proper component of signed languages, and its use in simultaneous interpretation, with a sufficiently long preparation time (reflexion), produces a more universally accessible interpretation.

The Delhi CODA story

Surbhi Taneja (CODA, Hearing), M.A. Development Extension

Hardeep Singh (CODA, Deaf), Higher Secondary

The World Bank statistics estimates to have 18 million Deaf individuals in India. Keeping the same in mind one can expect to have thousands of CODAs, mostly unreached and unaware of their identity. Researches have shown that 90% of the children of children of Deaf adults are not affected by their deafness. CODAs in Delhi, capital of India are mostly identified as “mother-father deaf” by the Deaf community.

Being a CODA, Surbhi started interpreting for Deaf individuals other than her parents at the age of 10. Until few years back at the age of 21, she was unaware that she is not a professional sign language interpreter. She didn’t know if she ever wanted to be a Sign Language interpreter. She didn’t know if there were any ethics she was supposed to follow while interpreting? She didn’t know if she had to charge for the services she was providing? Hardeep on the other hand is a Deaf CODA who shares a similar experience of the added responsibilities given to him by his parents. His experiences of living with Deaf parents have been very similar to hearing CODAs. There isn’t any place or resource center to answer these questions. There are many unaware CODAs like them who are working without knowing their actual responsibilities and ethics. Due to lack of professional sign language interpreters, lack of support services and resources for the Deaf, many Deaf parents willingly or unwillingly ask their young hearing children to interpret for them and other Deaf individuals. There is a strong CODA community in Delhi that meets and discusses various issues pertaining to their CODA experiences quite often. However, the focus group discussions have shown many CODAs struggling with identity crisis and deprived childhood. There has been no CODA organization available in the country where a CODA could consult for counseling support and resources. When it comes to the field of interpreting, many CODAs have taken it up as their careers without any formal training. CODAs in Delhi feel that interpreting comes naturally to them as sign language is their mother tongue. They aren’t motivated to undergo the available Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting considering the experience they have gained since their childhood. What is the justified step? This presentation would focus on the “identity of CODAs and should all CODAs be treated as interpreters?”  We will also be sharing details about the recently established group called CODA India and its functioning.

Patient or customer? Interpretation, accessibility, and participation for deaf people in Sweden

Ingela Holmström, PhD,  Stockholm University, Sweden

Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta, PhD, Jönköping University, Sweden

The key aim of the study presented in this paper is to illustrate the nature of accessibility and participation in the current provision of the Swedish county councils’ interpretation services for young deaf adults. Since interpretation services are affiliated to the health care system, deaf people in Sweden are often considered and treated as patients in need of assistance for accessing different contexts through Swedish Sign Language (SSL) interpreters. The interpretation services are however multifaceted: at times facilitative, for example when deaf people listen to a public lecture thanks to the provision of interpreters, in other contexts obstructive, for example due to the administrative load surrounding it. The study focused upon in this paper highlights this complicated issue by presenting analysis of data from the Swedish Research Council supported project PAL, Participation for All (www.ju.se/ccd/pal), that focuses upon the trajectories of schooling and the post-school situation of young deaf people in Sweden. Taking both a sociocultural perspective and a decolonial framework on human communication, learning and identity, young deaf individuals’ life pathways are currently being mapped through an ethnographic approach in project PAL.

A specific issue that has emerged in the on-going analysis is the importance of and the ways in which SSL interpreters shape different forms of deaf people’s experiences and participation. One key preliminary finding is that although deaf people are often treated as patients, they are simultaneously tasked with the provision of information, preparation, and organization of the activities where the interpreters are needed. The latter results in that they get positioned as active customers of the interpretation services. This, thus, becomes a contradictory treatment of deaf people: on the one hand the unequal power relations that exist position deaf people in passive roles with limited, if any, possibilities to impact the interpreter services, and on the other hand they are given major responsibility for it. The latter requires them to be active and well-informed.

The study presented in this paper highlights issues of the multifaceted interpreter services through glimpses from the everyday lives of some case-studies of deaf individuals in project PAL. Among other things, the individuals’ time-consuming preparation work with interpreter issues that enables them to participate in work-situations, conferences, meetings, or training are illustrated. The mundane nature of the “work” required of deaf people for their own participation is contrasted with the manner in which the county services handle their status of being patients. Consequences for both the current arrangements of interpreter services and issues of accessibilities and participation are presented.


Deaf interpreters in SA: A comparative analysis of recruitment, training and certification

 Razaq Fakir

Natasha Parkins-Maliko



DESIGNS: Shaping the future of access to employment for deaf people through interpreters

Audrey Cameron, PhD, Heriot-Watt University, UK

John Bosco Conama, PhD, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Lorraine Leeson, PhD, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Jemina Napier, PhD, Heriot-Watt University, UK

Chris Peters, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Christian Rathmann, PhD, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Haaris Sheikh, Interesource Group (Ltd), Ireland

There is a clear directive in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (see e.g. Article 9) that deaf sign language users are entitled to professionally qualified sign language interpreters in all aspects of life. With respect to the employment settings, we know that there are challenges for deaf sign language users in getting support to find or and maintain employment (Total Jobs, 2016); they have varied employment experiences (Garberoglio, Cawthon & Bond, 2016); and often experience a ‘glass ceiling’ in terms of promotional opportunities (Bristoll, 2009), even if they regularly have interpreters in the workplace.

There is very little research that has focused on sign language interpreting in the workplace, with one notable study by Dickinson (2010, 2014) who conducted an in-depth exploratory study in one organization, as well as asking interpreters to record journal entries on their workplace interpreting experiences. She identified various challenges of interpreting in the workplace, including: lack of understanding of work-related terminology, understanding workplace cultures, and how to deal with social networking.

The overall aim of the European project DESIGNS (funded by Erasmus+) is to focus on the experiences of post-qualified deaf people and create vocational education and training and continuing professional development training resources and exchange best practices across Europe to facilitate greater participation of deaf sign language users in employment. Seven partners from four European countries are involved in this project.

Key stages of data collection for evidentiary purposes include: (i) a European-wide online survey on Deaf employment, (ii) focus groups and one-to-one interviews with deaf employees from various public and private sectors in Ireland, Scotland, England, Belgium and Germany; (iii) focus groups and one-to-one interviews with employers/ organisations that have deaf employees in the same countries; and (iv) focus groups and one-to-one interviews with interpreters who work regularly in employment settings.

The focus of this presentation will be on the results from (ii) and (iv) – our interactions with deaf sign language users and interpreters.

The key research questions that we explored in the focus groups and interviews were as follows:

  • What are the experiences of post-qualified deaf sign language users in gaining, maintaining or progressing in employment?
  • What are the experiences of sign language interpreters when working with deaf sign language users in employment settings?

Through our analyses of the qualitative data, we identified five main themes that occurred repeatedly throughout the data: (1) barriers; (2) strategies; (3) familiarity; (4) role of interpreter; and (5) training.

This presentation will provide an overview of the results in relation to each of these themes, with illustrative examples from the perspectives of deaf sign language users and interpreters, and where the perspectives align or are in contrast. We are particularly interested to explore the notion of the ‘illusion of inclusion’ (Russell, 2007), and whether the provision of interpreters in employment settings really does give access to deaf sign language users. We will make suggestions for how deaf signers and interpreters can work together to shape a more accessible workplace.

Evaluating the teaching and learning processes for the Diploma in Ugandan Sign Language interpreting Programme: Department of Special Needs Studies, Kyambogo University

Bonnie Busingye, Kyambogo University-Uganda

This study evaluated the teaching and learning processes in the Diploma in Ugandan Sign Language Interpreting (UgSLI) programme at the Department of Special Needs Studies (SNS), Kyambogo University in Uganda. The problem according to situational analysis conducted, graduates from the programme upon completion possess average skills in UgSLI but do not have the competences required by employers from workplaces. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the programme in order to improve its teaching and learning processes to enable trainees attain the required competences needed by the world of work. The challenges in the teaching and learning processes and their possible solutions were examined. The strategies were implemented and their impact on the teaching and learning processes of the Diploma in UgSLI programme were evaluated.The study employed participatory action research approaches that included future workshop, Focus Group Discussions, interviews, follow up meetings with stakeholders and participant observations. Thirty-seven (37) participants were involved in the study and these were; six (6) lecturers, eighteen (18) students, three (3) administrators, ten (10) graduates and their Deaf employers. They were all purposively selected basing on their vast experience and competence in the field of interpretation. The Future workshop was used as a tool to identify challenges. The implementable challenges identified with the stakeholders were; communication gap between students and lecturers, students’ negative attitude towards UgSL and the profession, poor time management and limited time for course works. The possible strategies identified to address the challenges were; an action work plan was designed and implemented from October 2015 to October 2016.Follow up meetings were conducted regularly. Evaluation showed that most of the strategies were implemented and positive changes were observed. There were more practical sessions conducted, student’s improvement on interaction, role models from Deaf community utilized, regular feedback on course works, higher motivation, confidence building, and higher positive attitude towards the profession. Stakeholders recommendedcontinuous monthly meetings, evaluation of students every semester, team work among lecturers and securing a laboratory for practicals as a way for improving the teaching and learning processes for the UgSLI programme.

From Gestuno interpreters to International Sign interpreters: Improved accessibility?

 Anna-Lena Nilsson, PhD

At the WFD Congress in Palermo in 1983, the official signed languages were Italian Sign Language (LIS) and Gestuno (http://brett-zamir.me/gestuno/). The Gestuno interpreting, unfortunately, was fairly incomprehensible to most participants. However, participants from several of the wealthier countries in the world brought their own interpreters, who interpreted to/from their national signed languages. As of the Congress in Espoo, Finland, in 1987, Gestuno interpreting was replaced with interpreting to/from International Sign (IS). In addition, an even larger number of countries brought interpreters interpreting to/from their national signed language. For the first time, all interpreters were provided with some preparation materials in an interpreters’ room.

At the following WFD Congresses (1991 Tokyo; 1995 Vienna; 1999 Brisbane; 2003 Montreal) there was a gradual increase in the number of interpreters working, and the number of signed languages thus being used and seen in these international settings. Additionally, measures were gradually taken to provide all working interpreters with adequate preparation materials, quiet rooms for preparation, meetings with presenters, easy and quick access to food in breaks, etc. In short, what we witnessed was both the professionalization of signed language interpreting, and improved accessibility for more participants, both delegates and other participants. Many deaf tourists also came to these events, even if they did not attend the Congress itself, at least not all of the days.

As of the Congress in Durban 2011, a shift became evident. National Sign Language Interpreters (NSLIs) were now only allowed to register if they were accompanied by “their” delegates, access to preparation materials was initially severely restricted for them, no food was provided – not even when the interpreters were ready to pay extra for that service. At first, the NSLIs and the IS-interpreters were even referred to separate interpreters’ rooms for preparation. In addition, meetings with speakers were now scheduled to fit IS-interpreters’ needs – making it impossible for NSLIs to meet all speakers, thereby hampering their possibilities to prepare for the interpreting assignments. Additionally, fewer NSLIs, and therefore fewer signed languages, were visible during the conference. Much of this was repeated in Istanbul in 2015, though this time a Dropbox was set up with preparation materials and the same interpreters’ room was available for allinterpreters working during the conference.

Having interpreted during 8 of the last 9 WFD Congresses, I believe it is time for us to step back and take a look at the changes we have seen over the years. Are we convinced that the development we have seen is for the best? Will the increasing use of IS-interpreting at a number of international conferences and meetings ensure deaf people around the globe equal accessibility in a broader sense? Is the current development what is best for the interpreting profession in the long run?

Global exchange design and implementation for interpreting studies

Stacey Webb, PhD Heriot-Watt University

Suzanne Ehrlich, EdD University of North Florida

Dawn Wessling, MA University of North Florida

This presentation will examine global community building through study abroad experiences in interpreting studies programs. This presentation aims to highlight not only the value of study abroad experiences, but how a greater global collective can be established to sustain existing, and build future, opportunities for students to constructively engage with Deaf communities around the world. Global connections in interpreting and Deaf communities could serve to increase education and advance understanding of interpreting practice worldwide. Even with limited opportunity, research shows that there are many benefits to study abroad as they provide opportunities for students to develop personally, professionally and academically (Dwyer & Peters 2004). Study abroad has shown to support the advancement of interlingual pragmatics skills in L2 language learners (Barron 2003). Additionally, the profession of sign language interpreting continues to evolve and sign language interpreters must be increasingly prepared to work in international contexts (de Wit 2010).

This presentation is based on faculty members’ collaboration from Heriot-Watt University, Scotland, UK {host} and the University of North Floridain the United States. This collaboration to create extensive mini linguistic/cultural exchanges between American and Scottish Universities. Presenters’ insight into factors such as lack of opportunities, limited matched program structures, program design, program-based value for (or not) internationalisation and institutional missions will also be shared.

Strategies used during these exchanges included collaborative learning experiences for students of interpreting, deaf studies, and sign language instruction. As a result, students were able to increase their exposure to diverse cultures and languages as result. Students reported positive impacts from the cultural/linguistic exchanges on their global awareness, confidence, and gains in acquisition in the primary sign language in which they were studying.  Examples of essential components of study abroad program design include but are not limited to: translingual learning environments, structured learning events, community-focused activities, social development through collaboration, use of digital tools/media, engaging the local deaf community, service learning as a framework and reflective practice.

Historic appraisal of sign language interpreting in Nigeria educational institutions: A call for systemic standardization for qualitative service delivery

Oladipupo Wumi Omobosola NCE, B.Ed, M.Ed (Deaf Education)

Principal Sign Language Interpreter at Federal College of Education (Special)

Nigeria runs inclusive system of education for individuals with special needs education. Hence, the involvement of Educational Sign Language Interpreter (ESLI) becomes highly imperative to cater for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) students. However, unlike some other developed countries such as United States, Australia and Canada, the country has no legal framework that allows smooth engagement of ESLI, no formal Interpreters training programme (ITP) that prepares potential experts neither does the profession operates on any universal guiding principles either for recruitment or career progression while on the job. Not until recently, when the country introduced ESLI cadre into the scheme of service, every employer had been left to treat interpreters with discretion and mercy. This paper therefore examines the historical background, working conditions, placement and professional preparation of ESLIs, weighed the current professional efficiency and quality of service delivery which was found far below the international best practises. To get to an appreciable future in the profession, recommendations were therefore made for review of the mode of operation being used to cater the dire needs that created the loopholes. The recommendations made include: 1. Establishment of interpreters regulatory body; 2. Access to interpreters training programme; 3. Access to research and training grants; 4. Waivers on demands for attendance at international conferences and training programmes; 5. Creation or adoption of professional framework for conduct of ESLIs; 6. Establishment of control methods, etcetera. Having explicitly diagnosed the challenges facing the profession from the past to the present, the recommendations therefore serve as the means to an end of an envisaged future of work where educational interpreting services are offered at its best quality with 21st century compliance. It was concluded that to secure the future of Nigerian Deaf community, there is a dire need for both local and international organizations that work with the Deaf and Deaf education to come with emergency rescue response (ERR) that is capable of alleviating the poor condition of ESLI.

Individual contracting or interpreting agencies in Africa: Are we there yet?

Monica N. Mwangi, BA, Director, Sign Language Resource Centre

Leonida T. Kaula, MA, President of the Kenya Sign Language Interpreters Association

Sign language interpreting is a phenomenon vaguely understood by most government agencies and organizations in Africa. In the recent past, a few African countries such as South Africa, Kenya and Uganda have made major strides after the recognition of Sign Language in their constitutions. This achievement has seen conscious efforts made to ensure inclusivity and enhance accessibility for the Deaf.  Consequently, there has been increased need for sign language interpretation services. This is a positive step as it brings to the fore critical issues such as interpreter training and certification, licensing, role of interpreter associations and the need for establishing clear guidelines for contracting sign language interpreters.

The increasing need for sign language services is a good move as it opens more job opportunities for sign language interpreters. However, several questions arise in regard to provision of sign language interpreting services.  Firstly, where/how do contractors of sign language interpretation services particularly governments institutions find sign language interpreters? Secondly, what gives confidence to a client contracting a sign language interpreter that the contracted interpreter is qualified and capable of providing quality service? Thirdly, how best can government agencies and other organisations engage with sign language interpreters? And finally what are the roles of the Deaf and Interpreters associations in regards to ensuring sign Language Interpreting is respected as a profession?

In the Eastern, Northern and Central Africa, Kenya and Uganda are better placed on matters of sign language interpreting compared to the rest of the countries in the region. Both countries have functional national interpreters associations. But this is not to mean that they do not encounter challenges related to the sign language interpreting profession. They too have various struggles to deal with. For instance in Kenya, in addition to lack of established sign language interpreter training programs, we still encounter many issues of Deaf consumer- interpreter conflicts, breach of the sign language interpreters Code of Ethics and  practicing interpreters lacking commitment to join or work with the Kenyan Sign Language Interpreters Association among others.

The increased need for sign language interpretation has resorted in government institutions, non- governmental organisations and private companies seeking services of sign language interpreters. Addressing  the thematic area “Legislation on Sign Language, human rights and interpreting provision’ and using Kenya  and Uganda as case studies, this paper will discuss the critical question “individual contracting or interpreting agencies in Africa: are we there yet?” The paper seeks to explore the current situation on the criteria used when contracting SL interpreters and whether there exists any challenges of identifying interpreters who can provide quality services. Further, the paper seeks to establish the suitability of individual contracting, interpreter agencies or both.

Interpreting academic lecture through multi-lingual, multi-modal language mixing: A case study

Lori A. Whynot, PhD., CI, CT, SC:L, NAATI, CORE Certified Health Care Interpreter

Professional sign language interpreting and auxiliary technologies make higher education attainable to Deaf people (Lang, 2002). However, Deaf university students seeking enriched education through transnational study are not always supported with their own national signed language interpreting, because the host country often lacks resources to provide interpretation into a foreign signed language. The student’s choice is to rely on interpreting services in the host country sign language (if available) or International Sign (IS) (Calle, 2011), and depending on the foreign student’s repertoire, they may not be familiar with either.  Furthermore, the comprehension of IS-type contact language for expository lecture is limited among sign monolinguals and varies for multilingual signers (Whynot, 2015; Rosenstock, 2004).

After a short time, the foreign student begins to acquire the local sign language and multilingual, multimodal code-mixing becomes a method of access. Many signers incorporate multilingual and multimodal practices, such as mouthing spoken words simultaneously with signs (Boyes-Braem & Sutton-Spence, 2001), sign-switching (Zeshan & Panda, 2015), pointing to real or imagined objects in the signing space as part of a composite utterance (Hodge & Johnston, 2014), and using gestures with mouthings, at times in more than one language (Kusters, 2017). Shifting between languages of (spoken) interpretation is a known phenomenon in mediated interactions between bi- or multi-lingual clients and multilingual interpreters (Hlavac, 2010).  This study is the first to investigate interpreters’ target sign language strategies and link them to the experiences and coping strategies of the foreign Deaf student client, who is an L2 learner of the local signed language.

This presentation reports a case study of an Asian undergraduate student in an Australian university where language mixing between native and host country sign languages is relied upon for interpreting access to scientific academic lectures.  Target language rendered by 4 multilingual interpreters of university classroom lectures is analyzed and qualitative interview data enriches the findings about interpreters’ and student’s experiences. Insights are offered about the provision of interpreting services to Deaf students who study overseas, with implications about accessibility for Deaf people who migrate where there is no native SL interpreting available.

Interpreting for physiotherapy: A classroom-based perspective

Rachel Mapson, PhD, RSLI, MASLI Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Yvonne Waddell MA, RSLI, MASLI Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

This paper explores the development of rapport management skills in student interpreters when working in clinical settings. Communication is a vital component of healthcare interactions (Roberts 2007), and functions both to facilitate exchange of information and to build a relationship between the clinician and patient. However, although the importance of rapport within healthcare interpreting is now recognised (Major 2013, Schofield and Mapson 2014, Hsieh and Nicodemus 2015) there is an indication that interpreters may prioritise information exchange over the language intended to establish rapport (Albl-Mikasa et al 2015). This tendency may be more prevalent in situations where interpreters lack experience (Mapson 2015). A focus on the purpose of communication in clinical contexts could therefore be a valuable focus within interpreter training, to ensure that students are well-prepared for the work they will undertake on graduation.

Although physiotherapy is an area of clinical practice in which signed language interpreters work, there is very little research on this specific field, partly due to the complexity of obtaining ethical approval for research involving patients (Crezee 2013). However, the practice of interpreting in physiotherapy involves particular challenges with physical positioning for those working to/from a signed language. Research involving students working with actor patients can therefore provide a useful means of observing the challenges of interpreting clinician interaction, whilst simultaneously providing a mutual learning experience for those involved.

The study explores the learning experiences of a group of physiotherapy students from Queen Margaret University and British Sign Language/English interpreting students from Heriot-Watt University. These students worked together in a two hour class involving clinical dialogue scenarios with Deaf people acting out the role of the patient. This activity was followed by a discussion involving both sets of students to reflect on their learning experience and share the challenges involved. A separate discussion with the Deaf participants explored their experiences from a patient perspective. All data were video-recorded. Analysis of the data involves an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) of the discussion data, and examination of the clinical interactions from a rapport management perspective (Spencer-Oatey 2002, 2008).

Preliminary findings from the study suggest that interpreting students require a deeper understanding of the goals of clinicians, and the purpose of specific forms of questioning. For the physiotherapy students, discussion revealed an appreciation that interacting via an interpreter created a considerable difference in their ability to establish rapport with their patients.

The study reinforces the benefits of involving medical and interpreting students in joint teaching and learning activities. Such activities enhance understanding of the interpreting skills required in clinical contexts, and the development of intercultural communication skills required by medical practitioners.

Interpreting into international sign: Collaboration within a variety of interpreter teams by means of linguistic and other communicative strategies

 Maya de Wit, PhD Candidate, Radboud University

Lori A. Whynot, PhD., CI, CT, SC:L, NAATI, CORE Certified Health Care Interpreter

Aurélia Nana Gassa Gonga, MA

Onno Crasborn, PhD

To date, very few studies on IS conference interpreting have been conducted (McKee & Napier, 2002; Moody, 2008; Rosenstock, 2004; Rosenstock & Napier, 2016; Whynot, 2016; de Wit & Sluis, 2016). Our research group of hearing and Deaf professional sign language interpreters and linguists, based at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, started in early 2018 investigating International Sign (IS) interpreting and linguistic distances between four signed languages.

In this presentation three of our researchers will sketch our project outline and aims, as well as the different aspects of our research into teamwork in and between interpreter teams working into IS. In our research we would like to gain further insight into the collaboration of IS interpreter teams by means of linguistic and or other communication strategies.

Recent years have seen increased reliance on International Sign (IS) as the de facto standard mode of communication at conferences and meetings involving diverse signed language users. In response to the demand, IS interpreting has increasingly become a standard service at international events. To date, only a few descriptive studies have been conducted on IS teamwork (Ressler 1999; Sheneman & Collins, 2016; Russell & Stone, 2014), the linguistic strategies that interpreters utilize (McKee & Napier, 2002), and on Deaf/non-deaf interpreter teams (Russell & Stone, 2014). In addition to linguistic and broader communicative strategies, complex behaviors that establish collaboration and interdependence contribute to effective teamwork for interpreters (Hoza, 2010). There is a need to better understand the complex teamwork behaviors between different teams of interpreters working into a non-conventional contact language.

In our ongoing work we would like to study how the interaction of IS interpreters contributes to the construction of an interpreted utterance. Our presentation will provide our considerations and exploratory research of how to investigate the collaboration in IS interpreting teams, specifically on how they use their language resources to create target interpretations, provide support, and monitor one another.

In our study we aim to use quantitative and qualitative methods, eliciting data from analyzable language and interpreting decisions, and observed team behaviors. Furthermore, the interpreters’ own thoughts and reflections about the work are an important part of the study. We consider using structured prompt questions and elements of a Think Aloud Protocol (TAP; Fonteyn, Kuipers, & Grobe, 1993) to collect self-reported themes and approaches.

Overall our presentation is based on a literature review and our first pilot studies of IS interpreting teams, describing the possible linguistic and other behavioral strategies that are used by a variety of team configurations when they are working from a conventional language (e.g., English, NGT, ASL, etc.) to IS. With our findings we seek to provide first insights about signed language conference interpreting teamwork in general, and about conference international sign interpreting at conferences in particular.

Perceptions of the role and function of Deaf interpreters working in the court of law

Christopher Tester, MSc, CDI, SC:L

In recent years, there has been a noticeable professionalization and utilization of interpreters who are Deaf in several countries, for example the United Kingdom (Adam, 2017), Denmark, Finland, France (Lindsay, 2016), Australia (Adam, 2017), China (Xiao, 2017), and the United States and Canada(Boudreault, 2005; NCIEC, 2007). They are working in different settings, including in the courtroom (e.g. Boudreault, 2005; Forestal, 2014; NCIEC, 2007). In the United States, it is becoming a more widely accepted practice to have Deaf interpreters work in the court system alongside hearing American Sign Language interpreters (e.g. Mathers & Witter-Merithew, 2014; Roberson et al., 2011; Tester, 2018).

Tester, 2018’s study shown that the hearing interpreters reported that the primary reason for bringing in a Deaf interpreter was the ASL skills of the Deaf individual (60.8%) in the court case. When the interpreters were asked to identify what type of ASL skills that were the issue, the interpreters reported that the Deaf individual’s ASL seemed to be underdeveloped (38.4%). The second reason that was put forward to bring in a Deaf interpreter was the complexity of the case (38%) (Tester, 2018). Furthermore, I found that many of the hearing interpreters bear the burden of making the decision whether the case needs a Deaf interpreter, instead of the courts: current practice of hiring Deaf interpreters is not consistent among legally trained ASL interpreters (e.g. Hale, 2006; Roberson et al., 2012; Tester, 2018).

This ongoing and forthcoming doctoral study aims expand on Tester 2018 (based on 2015 MSc thesis) study to disclose a detailed survey of Deaf interpreter’s perception of their role and function within the court rooms as well as the collaboration between them and the hearing interpreters. This study aims to explore Deaf interpreter’s interpreting process through the intralingual and translanguaging framework. The study hopefully would provide practitioners a deeper look into how Deaf interpreters perceive themselves and their role and function within the court room.

Perceptions on representation in interpreted professional settings: Allowing everyone to be the professional that they are

Emmy Kauling

In professional practice, deaf professionals regularly find themselves represented by a third party: a sign language interpreter (Napier, Young and Oram, 2017). This interpreter is often not an expert in the field of the professional in question, but is still expected to represent the deaf and hearing professionals’ language use as well as their linguistically negotiated identities  (Mara and Angouri 2011). This poses a challenge for the lay-interpreter in professional encounters, as the professionals only appear as competent as the interpreter displays them  (e.g. Bristoll 2009). This study looks into the coordination of responsibilities in the linguistic representation of professionals by an interpreter and examines how this process is perceived by deaf and hearing professionals and the interpreters concerned, focussing on who each stakeholder  deems responsible for ensuring that the professional is projected/portrayed appropriately.

In separate focus groups, hearing professionals, deaf professionals and sign language interpreters discussed their views on the coordination of responsibilities in the interpreting process in professional settings. Collaboration, trust and familiarity are key concepts that were directly or indirectly mentioned by all participants, though all from slightly different angles. And while all participants claim to have strategies in place to aid the interpreting process, they are not aware of the strategies other people in the interpreted event use. Deaf professionals and interpreters, in particular, realised that negotiating strategies together might be an area of improvement in their collaboration.

Additionally, deaf professionals and interpreters commented on the mutual dependency in professional settings. They realised during the focus groups that when it comes to professional discourse, the question of who is responsible for making sure that a professional sounds like a professional, cannot be answered easily. They mentioned that more conversations are needed in the future, predominantly because deaf professionals are increasingly found in professional domains in which interpreters have no/little background knowledge. The deaf professionals in this study appear determined to understand how to match their language to their professional standards, whilst simultaneously working with an interpreter who often is a lay person in the deaf professional’s specific domain. This presentation will reveal further analysis of the focus groups, homing in on the themes of transparency, collaboration, and representation in professional settings. Conflicting expectations from different stakeholders reveal that solutions to these issues need to include transparency between stakeholders and a shared understanding that everyone has something at stake in the process.

This study does not only contribute to what is known about discursive co-construction of identities, but also tries to pave the way for social change (Wurm and Napier 2017) in shaping the future of interpreting practices by encouraging a dialogue. In professional settings, a minimum of three professionals are collaborating in making the interpreted event a successful one: it is perceived to be very important that all of them are recognised and allowed to be the professionals that they are.

Professional Ugandan sign language interpreting services and training programmes: views of UGSL interpreters and deaf service users

Dr. Sam Lutalo-Kiingi

Ms. Bonnie Busingye, Kyambogo University – Uganda

The Diploma in Ugandan Sign Language Interpreting (UgSLI) programme at Kyambogo University (KyU) is currently the only academic sign language interpreting training programme in Sub-Saharan Africa. Originally supported and developed by an international development partnership with DANIDA (the cooperation programme run by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the programme has been fully taken over by the Ugandan government and Kyambogo University. The training programme has been taught for over 15 years, with over 200 qualified UgSL interpreters. In collaboration with Heriot-Watt University (HWU), funded by a British Academy Visiting Fellowship, a first research project was developed on UgSLI, with the aim to evaluate the Diploma course.

Challenges and gaps in UgSLI services in different domains of life were identified through qualitative in-depth interviews and a focus group with deaf service users and UgSL interpreters. The study also explored how UgSL training programmes can be tailored to the needs of deaf service users in a multilingual non-western context. The research findings illuminate unique challenges for professionalisation of services and training programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa.

There are no governmentally funded interpreting services in Uganda in domains of health care, employment in private workplaces, and family and community. Deaf services users need to pay for UgSL interpreting services in these domains or UgSL interpreters need to work voluntarily, which results in challenges in ethics. While UgSL interpreting services are well respected in some domains (e.g. in the working of NGOs), the status of the academic degree (diploma) is a challenge for appropriate payment by the government in educational and political contexts.

Although Deaf service users and UgSL interpreters were initially proud of the Diploma course, upgrading is needed in this changing socio-economical context, with a growing number of Deaf university graduates. UgSL interpreters and Deaf service users agree on the need for further professionalisation and a BA training programme which provides interpreters with the skills to work in diverse professional settings. Advanced training programmes create opportunities for strengthening of the relationship with the Deaf community. This includes awareness raising on UgSL and supporting the role of UgSL interpreting in the Deaf community and wider society. The need for training on interpreting in the multiple cultural and linguistic community settings in the country came to the fore in the narratives of interpreters and service users. Another point of attention is the risk for demoralization among UgSL interpreters working in challenging circumstances.

The use of UgSL interpreting services to facilitate communication and secure access for deaf signers to all realms of life (including but not limited to education, health, public domain, participation in the community and wider society, and involvement in politics and advocacy) is a human rights entitlement. These rights can only be realised through a culture-sensitive academic UgSLI training programme.

Raising critical awareness of sign language interpreters as collaborators in healthcare

George Major, Auckland University of Technology

Rachel McKee, Victoria University of Wellington

Wenda Walton, NZSL Interpreter

Equitable access to healthcare services and information can be extremely problematic for Deaf people around the world. A World Federation of the Deaf international survey showed that 69% of respondents (out of 32 countries) reported that Deaf people have less access to healthcare than hearing people, and more health problems (Fellinger & Kuenburg 2011). Interpreters play a crucial role in facilitating access to healthcare, although relatively little is documented about the perspectives of Deaf consumers or interpreters who work in this context.

In this presentation we will report on two recent studies that explored health interpreting and communication issues from the perspective of Deaf users of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) themselves.

Deaf Health Stories (Major et al. 2018) created a corpus of NZSL narratives by 40 deaf people regarding their experiences in a wide variety of health settings;

NZSL Users’ Access to Healthcare (Witko et al. 2017) investigated Deaf people’s and professionals’ perspectives on NZSL accessibility of public healthcare services.

Both studies were based on narrative and interview data. Participants noted significant improvement in access to healthcare since the early 1990s when professional interpreters started to become available. However, findings also show ongoing issues in the provision of interpreting, medical staff practices, and problems understanding health information directly and through interpreters. We will illustrate these themes with video data from the Health Stories corpus.

Another accessibility issue identified by some Deaf individuals was mismatch with the language repertoire of interpreters who are less familiar with their ‘older’ (or idiosyncratic) styles of signing. Following an ‘action research’ approach, two of the authors have collaborated with a regional healthcare manager (who is a CODA) and a Deaf organisation to run workshops for Deaf community members, with the dual aims of health education, and providing opportunity for interpreters to learn how to better convey health concepts in NZSL. A side benefit of this project was fostering relationships between interpreters and some ‘hard to reach’ Deaf healthcare users.

We want to share our experience as ‘practisearchers’ with the assumption that similar challenges face Deaf communities and interpreters in many countries, and to illustrate how problems can be identified and addressed by collaboration between interpreters, Deaf community organisations, healthcare providers and researchers.

Roots of Interpreting with Deaf Parties in UK and US Legal Systems 1150–1900

Anne Leahy, MA, CI/CT, NAD V, Final-year PhD Candidate

This paper seeks to answer the question, “What did interpreting look like before British and American Sign Languages were in general use?” The task is stripped to the essentials: A hearing person who shared a gestural system with a deaf person functioned as a communication intermediary with English speakers. Every community of practice within WASLI has a pre-cultural foundation laid beforelocal, regional or national signed languages were available. Some of us are closer to this memory, and for others it is more distant. When we engage with historical figures who lacked basic tools of a prevailing language and community, we embrace our own commonalities, both across time and the developmental distances among our colleagues of varying backgrounds. Traditions of pre-professional intermediation can be a powerful equalizer.

Deaf history research has grown among laypeople and academics, and as interpreters we are reluctant to colonize those narratives. This presentation situates the heritage of hearing intermediaries as a complement to deaf-led research, and a contribution to the historical turn in Translation and Interpreting Studies. Evidence from UK and US legal contexts will demonstrate, celebrate, and apply lessons that help us better understand who hearing interpreters are, and reconceive advancements and conflicts in our field within a longitudinal view.

Hearing signers have always lived alongside deaf people; this presentation will give particular attention to evidence of deaf–hearing communication beforeschools, communities and natural signed languages were formed. Courtroom settings are the best-documented venue, and protocols developed in legal settings were ultimately applied throughout generalist practice. Selected mileposts that created, refined, and endorsed the use of sign language interpreters include:

  • 1285: The proto-interpreter role of legal proxy for deaf wards is codified by Edward I.
  • 1624: The first Canon Law text in English claims interpreter practice as “of like Efficacy, as if they themselves had mutually expressed the words before recited by that third Person”.
  • 1720: A deaf person brings a legal case in the UK through an interpreter sworn through an improvised oath.
  • 1792: An oath for sign language interpreters based upon existing spoken-language interpreting texts is published, citing a UK case when the interpreter endured an examination so intense, it formed a powerful precedent in the UK and US.
  • 1811: A deaf defendant pleads his case through a sworn interpreter in the US.

Folk histories and memoir are common ways we pass our lived memories onto successive “generations” of interpreters. By contrast, this paper will demonstrate archival research methods that aim further into the past and foreground documentary evidence.

Practical application is available to everyone, regardless of what milestones we have crossed or continue to pursue in local communities of practice. Even well-educated and professionally mature interpreter corps work with signers of other national languages, or culturally-unaffiliated deaf people and other non-standard signers. A study of pre-[L]inguistic interpreting also informs the work of International Sign users, Deaf Interpreters, and vice-versa. We can recognize and commiserate with the conditions of historical interpreters, because their strategies are still useful to us.

The road to sign language interpreting in Malawai: A comparative case study

 Maria Chale, MSc

Heather Schmerman

Malawi is one of the many African countries whose deaf culture remains never-changing in the face of advanced communication. The condition of Sign Language interpreting in Malawi is far more dubious, its’ progress more questionable than before. This was made much more evident when Maria observed professional American Sign Language Interpreters during her participation in the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship program, a Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Program developed by former President United States of America, Barack Obama to address challenges young leaders face in their respective countries. Maria underwent Civic Leadership Training at Drexel University and proceeded to participate in a professional development course at The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) in Maryland, USA.

During the course of her fellowship, Maria was paired with a deaf mentor, Heather Schmerman who played a pivotal role in exposing Maria to international concepts in Deaf Culture and Education. In addition, Maria took part in an American Sign Language Immersion Course at Gallaudet University and had the opportunity of meeting and networking with Deaf academicians and professionals. From her experience in the fellowship, Maria identified key critical areas that needed to be addressed in her community in Malawi and the primary area was Sign Language Interpreting. And this is what formed the basis of this study which adopted a pragmatic comparative approach.

Heather Schmerman, mentor and Certificated Deaf Interpreter, worked with Maria Chale during summer 2018 through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)program at Drexel University. The program’s goal was to give young leaders in Africa to more knowledge and skills to contribute to their home communities. Mentees were asked to the lead based on what they thought would benefit them most in the long-term.

Through an organic process of mutual exploration, Heather worked to provide Maria with resources and strategies to meet her goals.  Those goals included overcoming some insensitivity and communication barriers she encountered during her stay in the US, strategizing about how to improve conditions for Deaf people in Malawi, and developing a pitch she could use to solicit research and program funds.  This collaboration continues past the term of the fellowship, as our goals require searching for support from around the world; we plan to apply for grants to help make a difference for the Deaf community in Malawi.

The benefits of this collaboration between two leaders of very different backgrounds include mutual respect and learning, sharing of information and cultures, and giving Maria more resources to improve conditions in her country.  This abstract is a useful case study because it can be applied to other situations, such as developing more training for hearing and deaf interpreters in other countries.

Roots of interpreting with Deaf parties in UK and US legal systems 1150–1900

Anne Leahy, MA, CI/CT, NAD V

This paper seeks to answer the question, “What did interpreting look like before British and American Sign Languages were in general use?” The task is stripped to the essentials: A hearing person who shared a gestural system with a deaf person functioned as a communication intermediary with English speakers. Every community of practice within WASLI has a pre-cultural foundation laid beforelocal, regional or national signed languages were available. Some of us are closer to this memory, and for others it is more distant. When we engage with historical figures who lacked basic tools of a prevailing language and community, we embrace our own commonalities, both across time and the developmental distances among our colleagues of varying backgrounds. Traditions of pre-professional intermediation can be a powerful equalizer.

Deaf history research has grown among laypeople and academics, and as interpreters we are reluctant to colonize those narratives. This presentation situates the heritage of hearing intermediaries as a complement to deaf-led research, and a contribution to the historical turn in Translation and Interpreting Studies. Evidence from UK and US legal contexts will demonstrate, celebrate, and apply lessons that help us better understand who hearing interpreters are, and reconceive advancements and conflicts in our field within a longitudinal view.

Hearing signers have always lived alongside deaf people; this presentation will give particular attention to evidence of deaf–hearing communication beforeschools, communities and natural signed languages were formed. Courtroom settings are the best-documented venue, and protocols developed in legal settings were ultimately applied throughout generalist practice. Selected mileposts that created, refined, and endorsed the use of sign language interpreters include:

  • 1285: The proto-interpreter role of legal proxy for deaf wards is codified by Edward I.
  • 1624: The first Canon Law text in English claims interpreter practice as “of like Efficacy, as if they themselves had mutually expressed the words before recited by that third Person”.
  • 1720: A deaf person brings a legal case in the UK through an interpreter sworn through an improvised oath.
  • 1792: An oath for sign language interpreters based upon existing spoken-language interpreting texts is published, citing a UK case when the interpreter endured an examination so intense, it formed a powerful precedent in the UK and US.
  • 1811: A deaf defendant pleads his case through a sworn interpreter in the US.

Folk histories and memoir are common ways we pass our lived memories onto successive “generations” of interpreters. By contrast, this paper will demonstrate archival research methods that aim further into the past and foreground documentary evidence.

Practical application is available to everyone, regardless of what milestones we have crossed or continue to pursue in local communities of practice. Even well-educated and professionally mature interpreter corps work with signers of other national languages, or culturally-unaffiliated deaf people and other non-standard signers. A study of pre-[L]inguistic interpreting also informs the work of International Sign users, Deaf Interpreters, and vice-versa. We can recognize and commiserate with the conditions of historical interpreters, because their strategies are still useful to us.

Shaping our academic future

Cynthia Roy, PhD, CSC

Jeremy Brunson, PhD, CI/CT, SC:L

Christopher Stone, PhD, NIC, RSLI, FASLI

Many countries around the world are still struggling just to provide Deaf people with qualified interpreters. Those who are institutionalizing this aim through Interpreter Education Programs (IEPs) often struggle to situate their philosophy within a skill-based training – Interpreting – versus a theoretical-based training – Interpreting Studies (IS).   This then begs several questions: What is Interpreting Studies? What disciplines make up this field?  How do these disciplines contribute to the study of interpreting?  These questions, and their answers, are significant as the education of interpreters takes hold in academia. Academic disciplines are recognized as such because of their grounding in theoretical principles and research.

In our presentation, we discuss the following disciplines that have contributed to IS: history, translation, linguistics, sociology, social psychology, and cognitive psychology, along with their major ideas, major scholars, and ways of viewing human interaction. In an attempt to answer the demand for academic texts in bachelor programs and theoretical and research courses, we have compiled our discussion into a coursebook, The Academic Foundations of Interpreting Studies: An Introduction to Its Theories, published by Gallaudet University Press in 2018.

Our presentation is intended for practitioners and educators who teach in undergraduate and post graduate interpreting programs, such as final year undergraduate thesis courses, or interpreting theory courses. We argue that IS necessarily brings together different disciplines and these disciplines contribute, in different ways, to the exploration of interpreting as a practice. Our aim is to enable participants to develop their understanding of how the practical, everyday concerns in interpreting work are also the concerns of research and scholarship.

As faculty in established programs consider revamping and faculty who are considering developing programs are determining the trajectory, these frameworks provide a guide to understanding the intensely complex nature of interpreting. In this way, we aim to provide a stimulating introduction to the range of theoretical approaches to interpreting that are relevant both for those engaged in the academic study of interpretation and for the professional practitioner.

Our presentation pays homage to the past by drawing on the work of spoken and signed language interpreters as well as scholars whose work is unrelated to interpreting.  We also show our appreciation for our global present by including, whenever possible, studies of sign languages, deaf communities, and sign language interpreting done around the world. One of our goals is to shape the future of interpreting practitioners and scholars by exposing them to the wider world of Interpreting Studies in both spoken and signed languages.

Our aim is to answer: 1) How has the exploration of interpreting been taken up by various disciplinary standpoints, and 2) What can we learn from these disciplines as we continue to develop IEPs within the Interpreting Studies paradigm?

Sign language interpretation services for learners who are Deaf/hard of hearing in inclusive secondary schools, Uganda: Successes and challenges

 Omugur Julius Patrick

The study aimed at establishing successes and challenges of sign language interpretation services for learners with hearing impairment in selected secondary schools that practice inclusive education in Uganda. The theory of Language and Communication, guided the study. Interpreters were believed to work closely with the teachers in the schools of study with learners with hearing impairment.  The study adopted a qualitative case study design.  Six teachers were identified through proportionate sampling.  Six sign language interpreters were selected through purposive sampling.  Data collection instruments were by interview, observation and focus group discussions.  Implementation of universal secondary education has had less impact on the teaching and learning of students with hearing impairment in secondary schools identified.

Findings indicated that a mere communication disparity in inclusive learning environment studied was not conclusive enough to explain the roles, successes and challenge investigated.  Verbal and non-verbal communication strategies played a pivotal role in interpreting data from all participants.  It was outstanding from findings that the participants’ views sometimes caused misunderstandings in the interpreters’ roles and social life during their work.  Volunteers objectively expressed their personal experiences, challenges encountered, whom they worked in an environment with people of completely different educational and cultural backgrounds.  Attitudes, unpleasant motivational strategies, participants’ educational backgrounds and communication strategies during indoor and outdoor work were some aspects identified.  The paper recommends a need to develop good working environment, interpreter-teacher relationship, further training, positive motivational strategies to support the work of SLI.

The introduction of Universal Secondary School (USS) education and training of sign language interpreters, to support education of learners with hearing impairment at secondary school is an area that has attracted less attention and that learners with hearing impairment have a right to benefit from education.  Article 35 (1) of the national constitution of the republic of Uganda recognizes education of learners with hearing impairment (Uganda Constitution, 1995). These particular article states that;

“Persons with disabilities have a right to respect and human dignity and the state and society should take appropriate measures to ensure that they realize their full mental and physical potential”.

The constitution of the republic of Uganda, principle XXIV (c) further states that;

“The state shall promote the development of Ugandan sign language for the deaf” (p.8).

Uganda has embraced inclusive education in agreement with the international conventions and declarations for the rights and equalization of opportunities for all persons with disabilities.  This commitment is cognizant from the existing legal frameworks in education and establishment of infrastructure that enables the inclusion of learners with various disabilities, through affirmative action in educational institutions.

Team of interpreters: The mobilization of resources during the interpreting process inside the cabin simultaneous interpretation

Tiago Coimbra Nogueira (FEBRAPILS- UFRGS)

This work aims to approach questions related to conference interpreting performed by interpreters ofBrazilian sign language (hereinafter referred to as Libras) and Portuguese language, describing the experience of interpreters who work in groups, how this performance is carried out, the interpreters’ positions, and the mobilization of resources during the interpreting process. The work also approaches a situation that is still atypical in Brazil, in which interpreters of sign languages perform inside a simultaneous interpretation cabin.On a general basis, we understand an interpretation team as two or more interpreters working together with the objective of carrying out an interpretation, in a situation which the interpreterssupport one another.Authors such as Napier et al. (2006), Magalhães Junior (2007), Hoza (2010), Brück (2011), Russel (2011), and Silva and Nogueira (2012) (who discuss teamwork) support this study. What is stated in the literature on translation competence has also been observed, highlighting the interpersonal competencepresented by Kelly (2010). In addition, a theoretical expansion of the PACTE Group (2003) and Hurtado Albir (2005, 2011) model is proposed (such model states that translation competence is composed of five subcompetences), with the purpose of applying the proposed model to the interpretation context and, more specifically, to the context of sing languages interpretation. For this research investigation, some questions were made, such as: what happens during team performance?; which forms of support happen during conference interpreting carried out in cabins?; which are the attitudes and perceptions of the interpreters while working in team?; which are the competencies necessary in this kind of performance? In order to know the field of investigation better, a brief description of conference interpreting of oral languages (BOWEL et al., 2003; PAGURA, 2010) was made, as well as a register on sign language by means of Campello’s (2014) deposition. This research follows the methodological procedures of the qualitative approach, being an exploratory-descriptive study. Thus,the context chosen for the generation of datawas the IV Congresso Nacional de Pesquisas em Tradução e Interpretação de Libras e Língua Portuguesa, where worked a team of six interpreters. The data analysis made it possible to observe the three phases of the event: the preparation, the moments of cabin interpretation, and the interpreters’ evaluation on the work done. On the interpretation phase, seven categories of support were identified inside the cabin. The description of those categories is presented, as well as how support was provided and the interpreters’ attitudes towards it. The data suggest that interpersonal relations, communication with each other, individual persistence, and confidence in group work are ways of encouragement for the teamwork to go well and for a well-succeeded interpretation.

Toxic Ableism among signed language interpreters: Impeding Deaf people’s linguistic rights through pathological posturing.

Dr. Octavian Robinson, St. Catherine University

Dr. Naomi Sheneman, Independent Scholar

“Pathological Posturing” as described by Robert Hoffmeister and Michael Harvey in 1996 is a way that nondeaf people, including those with deaf parents, reinforce their supremacy. As such, it plays a significant role in perpetuating systemic barriers to access and equity for deaf people. Pathological posturingjoins Robin DiAngelo’s white fragility,and toxic masculinityin feminist studies, to show how people manipulate discourse in implicit and explicit ways to maintain structural inequity.  An interpretation of Hoffmeister-Harvey’s pathological posturingthrough racialized and feminist lens illuminates how nondeaf signed language interpreters deploy discursive strategies to reinforce systemic ableism, audism, and paternalism. Through those lens, we understand how pathological posturing scaffolds nondeaf and abled supremacy.

Pathological posturingis rooted in the idea that deaf people, in possession of lives unworthy of living, have limited agency. Any labor on part of the nondeaf abled to “assist” deaf people should be met with gratitude and unquestioning acceptance. Nondeaf abled people, including interpreters, deploy pathological posturing when confronted with criticism from deaf people to shut down or manipulate the discourse. Pathological posturingcreates environments that encourages deaf people to feel guilt, burden, obligation, and illegitimacy, among other responses.

Pathological posturingmanipulates deaf people to give permission to nondeaf people to perpetuate systemic marginalization and abandon control of linguistic rights discourses. Deaf people are expected to encourage nondeaf abled people to continue their behavior, least the nondeaf feels bad or unwanted. This notion shapes theoretical frameworks and applications in the signed language interpreting profession. Elements of pathological posturingalso pervades the discussion surrounding values and ethics in the interpreting profession. When sign language interpreters and educators are able to recognize and deflect pathological posturing, they empower deaf people to be centered in the work processes and outcomes of interpreting.

We examine pathological posturingthrough the Deaf lens with an emphasis on its occurrence in signed language interpreting discourses. We trace the evolution of this discursive feature among signed language interpreters from the roots of the professionalization of the interpreting field in the mid-20thcentury to its present-day entrenchment in interpreter education programs. We consider how interpreters confront those discursive strategies in various interpreting contexts and how awareness of this strategy shapes the future of discourses about values, ethics, and research in signed language interpreting and research. Our work reveals particular ways in which signed language interpreters uphold hearing supremacy and linguistic inequity. Combating pathological posturing among interpreters offers us an additional front in our battle for securing sign language rights for deaf people.

Virtual Training for empirical Sign Language Interpreters at Centro de Relevo VRS – Colombia

 Fernando Barbosa Sánchez

Centro de Relevo Colombia is a VRS which emerged as an alliance between the Deaf Community, represented by The National Federation of the Deaf of Colombia (FENASCOL) and the Colombian government, awarded nationally and internationally, that has been operating for the past 17 years, going through the use of text chat technology through TTY phones to the use of Apps on mobile devices in both VRI and VRS services. Since 2002 the service has worked entirely with empirical interpreters, due to the lack of training programs for interpreters in the country, which led to the raising of these questions: how to improve the quality of our service if our interpreters have not yet achieved their top professional maturity? How to make them more aware and skilled in a specialized area of interpretation such as the VRS? How to train a team of teleworkers in more than 10 cities across the country?

For this purpose, in the year 2013 the line of Virtual training for interpreters was created, training more than 100 sign language interpreters through the Internet in the past 17 years, making use of the different e-learning methodologies, including blended learning, being pioneers in this kind of education for interpreters in the country, setting a roadmap in the training of future interpreters, achieving the collective construction of the Centro de Relevo interpreters code of ethics based on previous works of FENASCOL, and contributing to the achievement of a group of more self-confident interpreters who also are committed to the quality of the services.

On that basis, virtual training, fostered not only by the needs of the interpreters, but also by those of the deaf people, expressed through our customer service channels, it is still evolving with the goal of surpassing itself with several questions ahead like, how to contribute to the strengthening of the deaf community of the country from a model of co-training of interpreters between deaf and hearing people? And how to overcome the skill gap between new and expert interpreters through virtual mentoring? In this way, Centro de Relevo aims to become an international reference in the training of interpreters and a role model in the implementation of new VRS.

Working conditions and training profile of sign language interpreters in the Philippines:  Shaping the quality of interpreting services and practice of profession

John Xandre C. Baliza. Philippine National Association of Sign Language Interpreters, President

Christina S. Sison  De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Center for Education Access and Development Research Associate

Sign language interpreting services, guided by professional and ethical standards, should be responsive to the communication needs of Deaf people. It is through high quality interpreting services to them that equitable communication access is ensured, thus removing barriers to their success and supporting their rights as individuals.

Like in most countries, sign language interpreting in the Philippines started as a volunteer work and not as a profession or seen as a viable career option. The pioneering Filipino sign language interpreters are mainly the family members and teachers of Deaf people, as well as members of the clergy who exerted time and effort to learn the language. This is with the goal of providing communication support to the Deaf for purposes of proselytization, access learning in schools, and live out their daily lives as normally as possible. From its early beginning as a volunteer work, the Filipino Deaf have come a long way in their active participation in various forms of communication access. These no longer focused on church and school activities alone, but sign language interpreters have made it possible for them to access medical/mental health services, employment, legal services, television and theatre, and even participate in national and international advocacy works. The wide range of access for the Deaf in various settings holds great responsibility for sign language interpreters in the lives of their Deaf clients. This reason makes it an urgent need to assess the current condition of sign language interpreting as a profession in the Philippines. In particular, this research aims to look into the specifics of their training profile and working conditions that shaped the quality of the services they provide.

To contribute to answering this important question, this study determines the status of the Filipino sign language interpreters’ (SLI) working conditions and training background related to their profession, and how these affect the provision of an equitable and quality interpreting service to the Deaf. In particular, this study gathers the following information about the SLI in the country: (a) their working conditions, (b) background training and education, (c) working relationship with their Deaf clients and the Deaf community in general, (d) awareness about and compliance to ethical and professional standards in sign language interpreting, and (e) quality of their interpretation service.  Using survey questionnaires, quantitative data are generated from 200 sign language interpreters across the country, while qualitative data are generated from selected Deaf users and SLI through eight (8) focused group discussions in the four (4) major regions of the Philippines.

Results from the survey questionnaires and themes generated from the focused group discussions are analyzed with emphasis as to the implication of professional training required of Filipino SLI, as well as its contribution to future research on the field of sign language interpreting in the country.