T JanzenTerry Janzen

From Pragmatics through Intersubjectivity to Semantics: How Interpreting Researchers Understand what Interpreters Do

In this talk we attempt to link a cognitive linguistic view of language, and in particular the semantics-pragmatics interface, to the interpreter theorist's view of the interpreting task. To accomplish this, we must view all language use and language choices through the lens of intersubjectivity, that is, the inherently subjective ways we prompt, assess, and respond to each other's utterances. Interpreters, however, often claim some exemption from this stance for themselves, preferring instead to see themselves as having, and perhaps even seeking, some degree of neutrality. Here I first argue that an objective stance on the part of the interpreter is untenable, and that the start point for interpreters should be that their participation in interpreting interactions is inescapably subjective, and that they too develop intersubjective relationships in these interactions. From here we can explore the resources the interpreter has from which to construct texts that well represent those of the discourse participants she interprets for. One of these resources is word and construction meaning-something always thought critical for interpreters' work. But if meaning is not bound to words, and is instead entirely contained in the (subjective) mind of the communicator, as cognitive linguistics suggests, how does the interpreter hope to portray a speaker's/signer's message in a way that they intend? I argue secondly that interpreting researchers' theories of language greatly impact the way they view the interpreter's task, and the texts she produces. This plays out at a 'local' level in terms of how the grammars of languages are viewed and understood, but also in the researcher's beliefs about what language is and what it does. Finally, we return to the relationship between semantics and pragmatics, and the primary role that pragmatics plays in discourse, and how this approach helps us better understand the interpreter's task.

Keynote Speaker Bio

Eileen ForestalEileen Forestal

Deaf Perspectives in Interpretation Research: A Long Overdue Critical Element

Deaf perspectives are greatly lacking in signed language interpretation research. Among themselves, Deaf people share their experiences with interpretation, including being uninformed about the decision-making process surrounding the communication, feeling powerless with the delivery of interpreting services, and lacking influence in how interpretation is taught. Further, Deaf interpreters are often expected to work within an interpreting frame that is contrary to how Deaf people have effectively interpreted for one another for years (Forestal, 2011). To date, documenting Deaf perspectives and incorporating them in research has been rare. In this talk, I argue that inclusion of viewpoints from the Deaf community should play a critical role in qualitative research studies as these ways of seeing contribute towards a "transformative paradigm" (Mertens, 2004). I claim that it is both critical and ethical to include Deaf people's views in each step of interpretation research, including determining the research question, selecting participants, collecting data, and analyzing results. Examples of how inclusion of perspectives from members of the Deaf community, Deaf interpreters, Deaf consumers, and Deaf professionals can be accomplished will be discussed.  

Forestal, E. M. (2011). Deaf interpreters: Exploring their processes of interpretation (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Capella University: Minneapolis.
Mertens, D. M., & McLaughlin, J. (2004). Research and evaluation methods in special education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press

Keynote Speaker Bio

Lorraine LeesonLorraine Leeson

"Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil" : Considering Epistemological and Intersectional Approaches in Interpreting Education and Practice

While interpreting studies is accepted as an inter-cultural activity occurring across disciplinary boundaries, a surprisingly small amount of published empirical work is shaped by a multidisciplinary framework or carried out by multidisciplinary teams. This presentation explores this issue, evaluating how the epistemic approaches - the fundamental "truths" - informing our own and other disciplines can challenge our understanding of how interpreting practice unfolds in specific contexts. We also draw on feminist sociological theory by considering the concept of "insectionality" (e.g. Crenshaw 1989, Collins 2008) as a mechanism for thinking about and investigating interpreting interaction. We will consider some examples of multidisciplinary research and explore elements of how intersectional thinking might help shape new epistemic "truths" that may facilitate shifts in how multidisciplinary teams which include sign language interpreters think, and potentially allow for a more rigorous assessment of what happens - and what could happen - in contexts mediated by interpreters in their daily practice.

Collins, Patricia Hill  (2008) Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. Routeledge.
Crenshaw, Kimberlé W. (1989) Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics, 1989 University of Chicago Legal Forum 139-67 (1989). Reprinted in The Politics of Law:  A Progressive Critique 195-217 (2nd ed., edited by David Kairys, Pantheon, 1990).

Keynote Speaker Bio