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American Annals of the Deaf

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Advances in Teaching Sign Language Interpreters

Cynthia B. Roy, Editor

Introduction

Cynthia B. Roy

Welcome to Advances in Teaching Sign Language Interpreters, the second volume on �best practices� for teaching sign language interpreters. As before, the contributors to this volume are educators who are also researchers and scholars and who have written about their individual teaching practices or curriculum. These innovative teaching activities develop from a foundation of theoretical principles and/or research and are distinguished by new perspectives on both teaching interpreting and researching interpreting.

The most exciting of these perspectives is the continuing movement toward interactive and dialogic interpreting as necessary and significant in interpreter education. Communication at its most vital and basic is face-to-face, or interactive, and dialogic, a conversation between two people. This is where interpreter education ought to begin because this is where interpreting work begins.

Next is the insistence of the contributors that students of interpreting must be consciously aware of and in control of language processes. More important than the �right� sign or word is the awareness of the principles of language, the knowledge of the linguistic features of the individual languages, the skill to put those principles and features into practice, and the ability to assess the outcome.

Finally, are the perspectives from our international contributors that show us what is common to interpreting regardless of the individual languages involved. Their discussions reinforce that interpreting is a process without regard to specific languages and paves the way for the inclusion of spoken language interpreting educators in our search for best and innovative teaching practices.

In this volume, Dennis Cokely (United States) discusses curricular revisions in Northeastern University�s bachelors program based on the type of interactions students are most likely to encounter in the workplace after graduation. By focusing on inquiry, narrative, expository, and persuasive discourse genres, the program provides students with a theoretical and analytical framework from which they can begin to assess interaction types during their practicum experiences and beyond. By integrating translation and consecutive and simultaneous skills within each course, students are encouraged to see each of these as practical strategies that can be employed in various work settings rather than as stepping-stones to interpreting simultaneously.


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