Deaf leaders’ strategies for working with signed language interpreters: An examination across seven countries

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Series Details Volume 18, Number 1, Pages 107–131
Publication Date 12/06/2017
ISSN 1588-2519
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In this paper, we report interview data from 14 Deaf leaders across seven countries (Australia, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States) regarding their perspectives on signed language interpreters.

Using a semistructured survey questionnaire, seven interpreting researchers interviewed two Deaf leaders each in their home countries. Following transcription of the data, the researchers conducted a thematic analysis of the comments.

Four shared themes emerged in the data: (a) variable level of confidence in interpreting direction, (b) criteria for selecting interpreters, (c) judging the competence of interpreters, and (d) strategies for working with interpreters.

The results suggest that Deaf leaders share similar, but not identical, perspectives about working with interpreters, despite differing conditions in their respective countries. Compared to prior studies of Deaf leaders’ perspectives of interpreters, these data indicate some positive trends in Deaf leaders’ experience with interpreters; however, results also point to a need for further work in creating an atmosphere of trust, enhancing interpreters’ language fluency, and developing mutual collaboration between Deaf leaders and signed language interpreters.

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