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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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  How to Improve Interpreting Services for Deaf Consumers
  • All contributors are Deaf individuals who use interpreting services on a regular basis, on both personal and professional levels
  • Includes perspectives about a variety of settings, including professional, health care, and educational
  • Essential reading for interpreter educators, interpreting students, and professional interpreters

In reviewing the literature about what constitutes quality interpreting service, Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith, editors of Deaf Eyes on Interpreting, discovered that “very few authors of published journal articles or book chapters related to interpreting services were Deaf. Those writers who were Deaf, in almost every case, were Certified Deaf Interpreters and/or involved in interpreting education. Their contributions were usually limited to these two areas. We found relatively few pieces of writing that offered the perspectives of Deaf people as stakeholders.” Deaf Eyes on Interpreting brings Deaf people to the forefront of the discussions about what constitutes quality interpreting services, revealing multiple strategies that will improve an interpreter’s performance and enhance access for Deaf consumers.

The contributions in this volume are organized into four parts. The first part, “Seeing the Issues through Deaf Eyes,” serves as a primer for this volume. The following section, “Understanding the Issues through Deaf Eyes,” includes the work of several scholars who share their research and case studies related to effective interpreting support for Deaf people. Part III, “Exploring the Specialized Areas of Interpreting through Deaf Eyes,” allows the authors to discuss issues that are specific to their professional arenas—higher education, K–12 education, the corporate world, and health care. Finally, in the last section, “Moving Forward with Deaf Eyes,” thoughts and ideas are shared on ways that interpreters can become more effective in meeting the needs of Deaf people in interpreted settings. The volume concludes with an afterword that contains a reinforced plea for interpreters, new and experienced, to listen to these stories and learn about the Deaf-centered, Deaf-friendly, and Deaf-focused skills they need to be able to successfully create collaborative and empowering interpreting environments.


Thomas K. Holcomb is a professor of Deaf studies at Ohlone College in Fremont, CA, where he teaches courses related to Deaf culture, deaf education, and interpreting. Previously he taught at San Jose State University and National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology. Holcomb is considered a leading authority on Deaf culture. He is well known for his dynamic presentation style, which he uses to bring together Deaf and hearing cultures. His previous books include Introduction to American Deaf Culture, and he was awarded Teacher of the Year by the American Sign Language Teacher Association (ASLTA) in 2002.

David H. Smith is currently Director of the Center on Deafness and an associate professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He began his career teaching at California School for the Deaf, Riverside. After receiving his PhD from the University of Nebraska in 2003, Smith was a member of the deaf education faculty and Director of Deaf Studies at California State University, Fresno. Smith is the co-author of The Silent Garden: A Parent's Guide to Raising a Deaf Child and has published several articles on deaf education. He has been awarded federal and state grants for training teachers and rehabilitation counselors for the deaf.