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Sign Language Studies
American Annals of the Deaf
Educational Interpreting: How It Can Succeed|
However, the problem remains: Too few programs are addressing the need to
educate interpreters for work in the public schools. And yet the majority of
graduates from interpreter preparation programs continue to enter K–12 settings
(Battaglia and Avery 1986; Frischberg 1990; Schrag 1991). As early as 1989, the
National Task Force on Educational Interpreting (Stuckless, Avery, and Hurwitz
[I]t is evident that more than 50 percent of the graduates of interpreter
preparation programs nationally become employed as interpreters in educational
settings at the elementary/postsecondary levels. (2)
By 1991, Schrag (1991) reported that two-thirds of the graduates of
interpreter preparation programs (IPPs) had entered educational interpreting.
WHAT IS K-12 EDUCATIONAL INTERPRETING?
To be clear about the terminology used in this chapter, some definitions are in
order. First, let us define K–12 educational interpreter qualifications as the
skills, education and training, and experience that are necessary to effectively
provide sign language interpretation for school-aged children and young adults.
In addition, the following definitions also will be helpful to this discussion.
K–12 Educational Sign Language Interpreter.
The following two statements clearly describe what is meant by the term
educational sign language interpreter:
“Educational Interpreter” means a person who uses sign language in the public
school setting for purposes of facilitating communication between users and
nonusers of sign language and who is fluent in the languages used by both deaf
and nondeaf persons. (Colorado Legislature 2002, 22-20-116 (2), in CDE 2002)
[An educational sign language interpreter] . . . is a professional, who
facilitates communication and understanding among deaf and hearing persons in a
mainstream environment. The interpreter is a member of the educational team and
is present to serve staff as well as students, hearing as well as deaf people,
by minimizing linguistic, cultural, and physical barriers. The title,
“Educational Interpreter,” is recommended by the National Task Force on
Educational Interpreting, and is intended to imply that a person holding this
title is a professional with specialized preparation in deafness, whose primary
role is interpreting, but who is also qualified to provide certain other
educational services. (New York State 1998).
Interpreting. Frishberg (1990) and Winston (1989) explain what the
term interpreting encompasses:
[Interpreting is] the process of changing messages produced in one language
immediately into another language. The languages in question may be spoken or
signed, but the defining characteristic is the live and immediate transmission.
(Frishberg 1990, 18)
Interpreting . . . refers either to the general process of changing the form of
a message to another form, or to the specific process of changing an English
message to American Sign Language (ASL), or vice versa. (Winston 1989, 147)
Note, however, that research (Jones, Clark, and Soltz 1997) shows that the term
interpreting in the K–12 arena refers to transliterating (between two codes of
English: one spoken, one signed).