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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Educational Interpreting: How It Can Succeed

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Transliterating. According to Winston (1989),

[transliterating] is a specific form of sign language interpreting. It is the process of changing one form of an English message, either spoken English or signed English, into the other form. The assumption in transliteration is that both the spoken and the signed forms correspond to English, the spoken form following the rules of standard English and the signed form being a simple recoding of the spoken form into the manual code of expression. (Winston 1989, 147)

Transliteration incorporates features of American Sign Language (ASL) to enhance clarity. Ability to transliterate implies that one has a knowledge of ASL features and can incorporate them into a transliteration.

Methodical signs. Methodical signs are those that are based on the syntax of a spoken national language (LEpe 1801; Stedt and Moores 1990).


From the little research conducted in the area of educational sign language interpreting performed in K12 public school settings (Hayes 1991, 1992; Jones, Clark, and Soltz 1997; Yarger 2001; Antia and Kreimeyer 2001), two major issues are clear:

1. Qualifications of working K12 educational interpreters
2. Roles and responsibilities of working K12 educational interpreters

Let us first look at qualifications (i.e., skills, education and training, and experience). In a statewide survey conducted in the late 1980s, the Oregon Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf found that the vast majority (87 percent) of Oregon interpreters working in K12 public schools were not certified (Togioka 1990). Also in this survey, 57 percent of the interpreters in K12 public schools reported that they were not evaluated for their interpreting skills before being hired for their position. A study conducted by the Bureau of Educational Research at the University of Tennessee in 1989 showed that 56 percent of the states in the United States had no minimum standards for interpreters who interpret in educational settings and that 74 percent of the states had no minimum skills assessment for educational interpreting (Bureau of Educational Research and Service 1989).

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