General Discussion area
Theme One: Deaf Education
The social life of deaf children
in the mainstream (John Anderson)
How well do we prepare deaf children for mainstreaming? We
all know that they need to have strong language and speech
skills. But we also know that deaf children struggle with
social relationships in the mainstream. Friendship can be
difficult to build and maintain. Do deaf children need intensive
training in social skills for mainstreaming? What is the role
of self-advocacy in social relationships? Are there special
issues for deaf teenagers? These are some of the questions
that we will explore for this presentation.
Students Educated in Public Schools
with a Total Communication Approach: Perspectives & Reflections
(Linda J. Spencer)
The objective of this presentation is to provide outcome data
describing the speech production skills, and the educational/vocational
achievement for two cohorts of pediatric cochlear implant
recipients. The children were educated for the most part in
their local communities using a Total Communication philosophy.
The first cohort received their implants when CI technology
was just beginning to be implemented as a treatment option
for children with prelingual, profound deafness. Those "children"
are now young adults with up to 20 years of CI experience.
The second cohort received their implants after the year 1997,
was younger on average, at time of implantation, and now has
up to 11 years of CI experience. These two cohorts of CI users
who used sign language compared favorably to their hearing
peers on academic achievement measures. Although there was
a wide distribution of educational and vocational outcomes
for the first cohort, the children tended to follow the educational/vocational
patterns of their parents. As age of implantation decreased,
speech intelligibility scores improved, and preliminary analysis
reveals less variability in overall outcomes.
Policy and Practice in Sign Bilingual
Education: Development, Dilemmas and Directions (Ruth
The development of sign bilingual educational policy and
practice began in the 1980s and opened up new questions at
that time about the role of sign language in deaf education
and issues for deaf childrens language and literacy
development. This very dynamic area of educational development
has always raised profound questions about language development,
culture, identity and learning and these questions continue
to grow in their complexity and intensity. As developments
in the fields of audiology, health and technology provide
increasingly sophisticated opportunities for early detection
and intervention, we need to reflect on the potential of sign
bilingual education to respond flexibly to the changing and
diverse language and communication needs of deaf children.
This paper will outline the development and growth of sign
bilingual education in the UK over the last 20 years and describe
what has come out of our most recent analysis of the current
issues. Ways in which deaf children's language and communication
needs are changing will be discussed and the implications
for the place of sign language and the associated role of
deaf adults in the educational context will be explored.
Theme Two: Ethics and Professionalism
Keynote presentation: The 'Role' of
the Community/Public Service Interpreter (Peter Llewellyn-Jones)
It could be argued that the last serious discussion on the
'role' of the sign language-spoken language interpreter in
the UK took place some twelve years ago in the pages of a
special issue of the journal Deaf Worlds (1997). Heaton and
Fowler, Pollit, and Tate and Turner, to name just a few of
the contributors, discussed the issue of role from different
perspectives and Robert Lee, in a 'A View From the States',
observed that the role varied depending on the 'model' of
interpreting (i.e. helper, conduit, communication facilitator,
'bi-bi') adhered to (Lee, 1997).
Just one year later, a new model began to emerge with the
publication of Interpreting as Interaction (Wadensjö,
1998). This was soon followed by Cynthia Roy's Interpreting
as a Discourse Process (Roy, 2000): and the 'participant'
model had arrived. These two texts have had a significant
impact on how community interpreters approach their work and
both now appear on the set book lists of most graduate and
postgraduate courses in interpreting studies. As 'an active
third participant with potential to influence both the direction
and the outcome of the event
and interpersonal rather than simply mechanical and technical'
(Roy, 2002), the community interpreter needed to look again
at how they approached, and behaved in, 'public service' type
bilateral interpreting settings.
With particular reference to 'Politeness Theory' (Brown &
Levinson, 1987) and 'Accommodation Theory' (Giles, Coupland
& Coupland, 1991), this paper will ask whether many of
the behaviours traditionally and, often, still displayed by
sign language-spoken language interpreters in the name of
'professionalism' actually militate against the interlocutors'
'opportunity for a successful interaction' (Cokely, 1992).
- Brown, P. & Levinson, S. (1987). Politeness: Some
universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University
- Cokely, D. (1992) Interpretation: A Sociolinguistic Model,
Butonsville, Maryland: Linstok Press
- Giles, H., Coupland, J. & Coupland, N. (eds.) (1991)
Contexts of Accommodation,
- Lee, R.G. (1997) 'A View From the States' in Deaf Worlds,
vol 13, issue 3
- Roy, C. (2000) Interpreting as a Discourse Process, Oxford:
Oxford University Press
- Roy, C. (2002) 'The Problem with Definitions, Descriptions,
and the Role Metaphors of Interpreters' in Pöchhacker,
F. & Shlesinger, M. (eds.) The Interpreting Studies
Reader, London & New York: Routledge
- Wadensjö, C. (1998) Interpreting as Interaction,
London & New York: Longman
The power of personality: A study
of signed language interpreters (Karen Bontempo)
Is there a personality type, or set of dispositional traits
that might be predictive of performance as a signed language
interpreter? Organisational psychologists have long theorised
that the notions of a "work personality" and "person-vocation
fit" have legitimacy, and interest in measuring the range
of factors that may be predictive of performance in the field
of signed language interpreting has increased in recent years.
Identifying the characteristics that are likely predictors
of success in the profession would be extremely valuable for
interpreter educators, as such information may impact on program
admission criteria and course curricula; would likely improve
student outcomes and exit standards; and could reduce attrition
rates from courses and the profession. Better understanding
the personal and cognitive characteristics that may contribute
to competent performance in the profession has merit in the
present context of limited supply of practitioners, increasing
demands in the marketplace, and higher consumer and employer
expectations of quality and standards of practice. However,
no definitive findings about the psychological 'make-up' of
signed language interpreters have been gleaned from previous
studies to date. Yet, a number of factors considered promising
predictors of performance in the field of organisational psychology,
specifically those arising from a social-cognitive paradigm
for the study of personality, have not been measured in signed
language interpreters. These include factors such as self-efficacy,
goal orientation and negative affectivity.
This research paper will report on the findings of a questionnaire
administered to 110 signed language interpreters in Australia,
which was designed to measure self-efficacy, goal orientation
and negative affectivity.
Fair Enough? In Support of Care Ethics
The ethics of justice philosophically underpin much of the work on ethics in interpreting.
This outlook gives consistent guidance to interpreters in a wide variety of situations.
Many dilemmas still arise because of particular circumstance where justice is
difficult to define. Is justice served by providing Deaf people with linguistic
access, or even adding cultural components? If more is required because of individual
differences, how can it be fair to do more for some than for others?
Another set of ethics that has grown out of examining the roles and decision-making
of women and their experiences. These are sufficiently flexible to set a different
standard than justice, a legalistic concept. Care ethics envision the entire
set of relationships in which a Deaf individual participates as well as their
needs and the resources available.
This paper lays out a basic understanding of what the ethics of care are, and
the impact of their application in place of justice ethics. These differences
have particular value for interpreters and especially for the Deaf people who
Shaping our future professional interpreters
through formal mentoring: a pilot project (T. Pearce,
J. Napier, P. Cody, S. Leane, M. Curtis, C. Clark)
Mentoring has been recognised as a form of training which
can be uitilised by sign language interpreters in order to
provide guidance in professional development on completion
of a formal interpreter training program (see Napier, 2006).
To date, however, formal mentoring systems have been few and
far between and graduates have found themselves isolated in
their skills development and relying on the goodwill of more
experienced interpreters to guide them on an ad hoc basis.
In order to address this problem, The Auslan Interpreters
Mentorship Project was conceived and developed by a partnership
between ASLIA Victoria and Vicdeaf in Melbourne, Australia.
These organisations both believe passionately in the development
of the sign language interpreting profession in both Victoria
and Australia. This initiative is one of many both organisations
have become involved in as they attempt to further the professional
development of interpreter practitioners. The goal was to
develop more highly skilled interpreters and to encourage
interpreters of all experience levels to remain in the field.
The high attrition rate of new and more experienced interpreters
has long been identified as an issue for the profession, and
therefore for the community it serves.
This project specifically targeted recent interpreter graduates
of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Diploma of
Interpreting (completion 2005 and 2006). The focus of the
project was new graduates, and therefore preparation, program
planning and training was developed with this cohort as the
focus. The project team consisted of Sandi Leane (ASLIA Vic)
as Coordinator, Marc Curtis (Vicdeaf) and an evaluation team
comprised of Dr Jemina Napier, Consultant (Macquarie University)
and Project Officers Tamara Pearce and Pip Cody.
The evaluation team developed a range of evaluation tools
to gather data across the course of the program year. These
tools included pre and post interviews, questionnaires, focus
groups and a journal that was completed by both the mentees
and mentors throughout the course of the program.
Upon completion it was evident that the program had made a
significant impact on the participants. This paper will provide
an overview of the project, give examples of data from the
mentors and mentees, and give recommendations for the use
of formal mentoring as an important part of training and development
to shape the profession in Australia and worldwide.
Giving and receiving feedback
This session will explore good (and bad!) practice in providing
feedback to other interpreters. We hope to elicit the experiences
of delegates of positive and negative ways of getting and
giving feedback on interpreter performance and jointly develop
some guidance which can be used by interpreters, mentors and
clients. A devil's advocate will be joining the session to
present an alternative view.