Dissertation Abstracts

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Volume 4 (2) ~ November 2012

ISSN # 2150-5772 – This article is the intellectual property of the authors and CIT. If you wish to use this article in your teaching or in another format, please credit the authors and the CIT International Journal of Interpreter Education.

Dissertation Abstracts

In order to inform our readers of current research on translator and interpreter education and training, we will regularly feature abstracts of recently completed theses in each issue. If you have recently finished a Master’s or PhD thesis in this field and would like it to be included, please send an abstract of 200–300 words, along with details of the institution where the thesis was completed, the year in which it was submitted, and a contact email address. Submissions should be sent to Dissertation Abstracts Section Editor Carol Patrie at carol.patrie@gmail.com.

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Deaf Leaders: The Intersection of Deaf Culture, Leadership and Professional Associations 

Glenna R. Ashton, University of North Florida, USA
PhD received 2012, Union Institute, USA
Contact: grashton@ufl.edu
Deaf heritage and community viewpoints give rise to cultural behaviors and expectations, which can affect interactions in organizations, presenting challenges to leaders because personalities and work styles must be made to interact cross-culturally. This dissertation examined the roots of the deaf community in terms of membership, historical influences, cultural values, and organizations, and then, through the lens of organization and leadership theories, focused on professional associations such as the American Sign Language Teachers Association, the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and the Conference of Interpreter Trainers. Relationships among the three areas of deaf culture, leadership, and professional associations were examined by comparing small sample groups of deaf leaders, hearing leaders with no deaf family members, and hearing leaders with deaf family members. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior instruments were used to compare types, styles, and demographic variables. No particular dominant types or styles were found among the groups, but some commonalities were found. The most common personality type for all three groups was that of Introversion-Sensing-Thinking-Judging (ISTJ). Demographic variables only served to demarcate sharply the three groups.

Interpreting by Design: A Study of Aptitude, Ability, and Achievement in Australian Sign Language Interpreters

Karen Bontempo, Macquarie University, Australia
Contact: bontempo@linet.net.au
PhD received 2012, Macquarie University, Australia
This thesis explored and investigated factors that may be predictors of interpreter performance. The research study identified the skills, knowledge, and abilities deemed necessary for competent performance as a signed language interpreter; measured perceived competence in interpreters; gathered data on the skills gaps of interpreters and a range of personality constructs; and applied this potentially predictive data. The application of the findings of the research study include piloting interpreter education program admission screening procedures; establishing a diagnostic skills analysis and performance management process for educational interpreters; and documenting the risk associated with interpreting in traumatic settings, and introducing strategies to enhance the personal coping skills of interpreters working in such environments.
The data gathered from this unified corpus of research will contribute to the field of interpreter education by increasing the body of knowledge about interpreter aptitude, ability, and achievement. Knowing what qualities may be predictive of successful performance in the profession may lead to the development of more effective screening tools for assessing occupational suitability for interpreting; the potential for better predicting achievement in programs of study; improved capacity for addressing skills gaps in interpreters; and better training opportunities and safeguards for working practitioners. It will also provide direction and guidance to interpreter educators, employers, and practitioners themselves, in regard to curricula, staff supervision and support, interpreter performance management, and individual awareness of the aptitudes and abilities recommended for effective interpreting practice. The results of the study have implications for both spoken and signed language interpreting fields in regard to research, pedagogy, and practice

The Role of Language Program Directors in the Articulation of American Sign Language Programs

Greta Knigga, Wright State University, USA.
Contact: greta.knigga@wright.edu
PhD received 2011, Purdue University, USA, 2011
Articulation is the continuity of one academic course to the next, without interruption and without redundancy, for the purpose of student learning. Very little, if any, research has evaluated the articulation of ASL courses, although the lack of articulation has been blamed for the low enrollment in advanced foreign language courses; only 12% of all ASL students were observed to study ASL beyond the first year in postsecondary institutions. For this study, ASL instructors and language program directors (LPDs) were asked to complete an electronic survey designed to examine the articulation of their ASL programs, the roles of their LPDs, and the desired roles of LPDs. Descriptive analyses indicated that, although ASL instructors and LPDs indicated that their programs had strong articulation, their LPDs either “always” or “never” fulfilled many of the outlined roles. In addition, they desired strong or stronger leadership from their LPDs in the articulation of ASL programs. However, respondents also expressed concerns about LPDs having “unilateral control” of ASL programs and academic freedom. One-way between-subjects analyses of variance (ANOVAs) indicated significant differences between respondents who identified themselves as deaf or hearing, from different types of institutions, whether or not they had LPDs, and the number of years the ASL program has had LPDs. Marginal differences were found in the desired roles of LPDs by respondents of varying levels of education, years of experience as ASL instructors, and sizes of ASL programs. And, finally, no significant differences were found by respondents of varying positions. The clarification of the roles of LPDs, as well as the interpretation of the program characteristics, was recommended for future research to further understand the roles of LPDs in the articulation of ASL foreign language programs.