2017 Keynote Speakers





Colin Allen is the current President of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and Chair of the International Disability Alliance (IDA). For over 35 years Colin has been working to advance the human rights of deaf people and, more broadly, people with disabilities. Commencing in 1975 at a local level, he was involved in Deaf Community groups, including Theatre of the Deaf, the New South Wales Association of the Deaf, the Deaf Society and the Australian Gay and Lesbian Association of the Deaf.

Between September 2000 and May 2007, Colin worked for the Finnish Association of the Deaf on capacity building projects with the Deaf Community in Albania, Cambodia and Kosovo, as well as conducting a situational analysis project of the Deaf Community in Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Turkey.  From 2007 to 2009, he was International Project Coordinator for the Global Education Pre-Planning Project on the Human Rights of Deaf People, conducting regional survey work about deaf people in Eastern Europe, Middle Asia, Asia and the Pacific, South America, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Eastern and Southern Africa, Western and Central Africa and Arabian States.

In the human rights arena, Colin has represented WFD on international forums, most particularly United Nations meetings relevant to the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). 

Debra Russell is an ASL-English interpreter and interpreter educator from Canada.  Her interpreting practice spans over thirty years, and continues to be community-based in a range of medical, legal, mental health and employment settings. She was a founding member of the  Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC), and has served in a variety of leadership roles over the organisation's history. She is currently the President of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI)Interpreting in Legal Contexts: Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpretation and the co-editor of Interpreting in Legal Settings. She is also a dedicated student of yoga, who loves to travel. 

As the previous David Peikoff Chair of Deaf Studies at the University of Alberta, and the past Director of the Western Centre for Deaf Studies she has conducted research into interpreter mediated education; legal settings and legal discourse; and on Deaf-hearing interpreter teams. Debra is recognised internationally for her pioneering efforts in the field of sign language interpretation and adult education. She has been published extensively on topics including comparison of simultaneous and consecutive interpreting; team interpreting; advocacy; ethics; mediated education; and interpreting in legal settings.  Her teaching has taken her to locations in the United States, Europe, Ukraine, Australia, South Africa, Colombia, and Southeast Asia. She is the author of Interpreting in Legal Contexts: Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpretation and the co-editor of Interpreting in Legal Settings (Gallaudet University Press). She is a dedicated student of yoga, who loves to travel. 



Jemina Napier is Professor and Chair of Intercultural Communication in the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her research interest/expertise focuses on three strands of intercultural communication:

(1) language and communication in the context of interpreter mediated communication – primarily with (but not limited to) signed language interpreters and the Deaf community. Adopting sociolinguistic, discourse analytic and sociological explorations of interpreting in context (particularly education, legal and medical) to inform the wider field of interpreting studies and applied linguistics; (2) how deaf adults actually use signed language to communicate in their lives and the challenges this poses for signed language interpreters; and (3) interpreting pedagogy, using action research to explore aspects of distance education, blended learning, curriculum innovation and discourse-based teaching practices. Jemina has taught, researched and published in all of these areas. She was the inaugural editor of the International Journal of Interpreter Education and still serves on the editorial board.  

As well as a researcher and educator, Jemina is an interpreter practitioner. She has practiced as a signed language interpreter since 1988, and works between English and British Sign Language (BSL), Australian Sign Language (Auslan) or International Sign. She is actively involved in the sign language interpreting profession: she is a past President and Honorary Life Member of the Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association (ASLIA) and was an inaugural board member of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters. She is currently member of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters of England, Wales & Northern Ireland (ASLI), the Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters (SASLI), the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters (EFSLI) and the Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT), and is Co-Chair of the EFSLI Expert Group and a member of the WFD Expert Group on Accessibility.



Daniel Gile is Professor Emeritus at Université Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle. He was initially trained in mathematics and later migrated into translation and interpreting. He is an ESIT graduate in conference interpreting, has a PhD in Japanese and another in linguistics. He has been a conference interpreter and a translator and interpreter trainer for over three decades. He is the author of more than 200 papers, three books - including Basic Concepts and Models for Interpreter and Translator training - the co-editor of several collective volumes, and a guest-editor of several special issues of translation journals. He is the founder of the CIRIN network which is devoted to research into interpreting and which has been publishing its Bulletins for over 25 years (see www.cirinandgile.com). He is also a founding member and former president of the European Society for Translation Studies and a member of the editorial boards of several translation journals. His interest in signed language interpreting was sparked by the work of Sophie Pournin, who completed a PhD under his supervision, and by further contacts and collaboration with colleagues from the signed language interpreting field. He has co-authored two papers on signed language interpreting and devotes a section to signed language interpreting in the CIRIN Bulletin.


book now