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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Innovative Practices for Teaching Sign Language Interpreters

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In chapter 5 Davis describes the translation skills that form the basis for teaching consecutive interpreting, after which students move into simultaneous interpreting. Teaching translation skills is useful in moving students beyond the lexical and phrasal level to deeper levels of semantics and pragmatics. These strategies help students understand not only the intended meaning of the source message but also the manner in which the listeners are likely to understand the message.

In chapter 6 Peterson describes the use of recall protocols as both an instructional technique and as a metric for student comprehension of ASL discourse. In many sign language interpreting programs, students need further language learning, especially in ASL. Recall protocols can be used to teach metacognitive skills as well as to assess comprehension. A sample recall is provided, together with sample scoring.

In chapter 7 Humphrey explains her programís use of graduation portfolios to indicate a studentís mastery (or lack of mastery) of the program outcomes identified by the faculty. Students compile written and videotaped evidence to demonstrate their readiness to enter the field of ASL/English interpretation; the resulting portfolio is assessed by a team of three individuals: a faculty member, a professional interpreter, and a member of the Deaf community. The team evaluates the portfoio and then recommends the student for graduation or remediation.

It is our hope that interpreting instructors will implement the practices explained in this book and that they, in turn, will demonstrate and discuss their own best practices. The field of interpreter education will benefit from tapping that particular knowledge of how to teach interpreting that comes from both theory and practice. In this process we will gain strength and become less defensive and more open. Such an atmosphere of trust breeds honest dialogue and a breaking down of traditional barriers, and, as a result, teachers can work together as mutually respected colleagues.


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