Interpreting for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Emergent Signers in Academia

by Cami Miner

Abstract

A significant population of Deaf children born to hearing parents are raised to use lipreading and aids to access spoken English instead of communicating in ASL. If these individuals are exposed to and become late learners of ASL, they are called emergent signers. Emergent signers often use interpreters during their ASL acquisition, particularly in academia. Although interpreters are trained to work along the spectrum of ASL and contact signing by modifying output to provide a comprehensible target language for their clients, emergent signers pose a complex linguistic challenge because of their emerging fluency in ASL. This preliminary mixed methods study found emergent signers generally state ASL preference when working with interpreters in academia, but struggle to comprehend certain ASL features.  Identified efficacy of linguistic features and interpretation approaches have implications for best practices and provide insight for interpreter educators, raising awareness of the unique needs of this growing population.

 Keywords: educational interpreting, emergent signers, ASL acquisition, transliteration  

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Proceedings of the 2018 Biennial Conference

Reaching New Heights in Interpreter Education: Mentoring, Teaching & Leadership