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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Advances in Teaching Sign Language Interpreters

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Jeffrey Davis (United States) explains how to teach observation-supervision, similar to that used in the practice professions (e.g., education and medicine), to provide a way for more experienced professional interpreters to observe and assess the performance of entry level interpreters, and vice versa (i.e., a linkage between pre-service and in-service training). This enhances professional development, competence, and consumer protection. This approach is rooted in the demand-control schema (Dean and Pollard) that immerses students in real world settings and encourages them to derive terminology and translation questions from observations across a variety of contexts.

Elizabeth Winston and Christine Monikowski (United States) return to their innovative Discourse Mapping process and describe focused translation activities. With students, they create a Random Concept Map, and then move to a Sequential Map, and then students prepare translations. After discussions of the activity, Winston and Monikowski created two separate linear maps, one from the students’ translations to assess the equivalence of content and context, and one based on the linguistic complexity of the source to assess the equivalence of the English translations.

Laurie Swabey (United States) explains the complexity of referencing, and the different options speakers have for referencing entities in ASL and in English and finds it is not surprising that students often have difficulty incorporating referencing effectively in their interpretations. She then offers instructions on how to teach reference such that students develop a more analytical, less arbitrary, and less emotional framework for analyzing and discussing their own work related to the understanding and use of referring expressions.

Melanie Metzger (United States) designed and teaches a course called interactive interpreting, the only such course that I know in an education program. In this chapter she discusses discourse features in interaction and then focuses on one feature—source attribution, an interpreter-generated utterance designed to indicate the source of a translated utterance. She explains these utterances in ASL and English and how to teach them to students.

Jemina Napier (Australia) demonstrates how to teach students to identify omissions from their interpreted message and analyze those renditions within a context of omission types that improves their metalinguistic awareness of the interpreting process. Improved awareness helps students predict the omission potential of interpreting assignments, and therefore, whether to accept those assignments.


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