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The DESIGNS project: Deaf signers & interpreters’ views on interpreting in the workplace

September 26 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm


Professor Jemina Napier is Chair of Intercultural Communication, and Director of the Centre of Translation & Interpreting Studies in Scotland at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland where she teaches signed language and spoken language interpreting students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and supervises various PhD students on topics related to sign language interpreting, translation, discourse and identity. She is a widely published interpreter researcher and educator and has practiced as a signed language interpreter since 1988. She is accredited as a BSL, Auslan and International Sign interpreter and is fluent in ASL. She is a Fellow of ASLI and the Chartered Institute of Linguists, and is also Honorary Life Member and past President of ASLIA (Australia) and was an inaugural board member of WASLI. She was co-chair of the WASLI-WFD Task Group on International Sign that established the new IS interpreting accreditation system in 2015, and is co-lead of the efsli Committee of Experts and a member of the WFD Expert Group on Accessibility (sign language interpreting). 


There is very little research that has focused on sign language interpreting in the workplace, with one notable study by Jules Dickinson (2010, 2014). The overall aim of the European project DESIGNS (funded by Erasmus+) is to focus on the experiences of post-qualified deaf people and create VET (Vocational education and training) and CPD (Continuing Professional Development) training resources and exchange best practices across Europe to facilitate greater participation of deaf sign language users in employment. Seven partners from four European countries who are experts in the fields of Education and Training, Employment, Sign Language Interpreting and Deaf Community Advocacy are involved in this project. Key stages of data collection for evidentiary purposes include: (i) a European-wide online survey on Deaf employment, (ii) focus groups and one-to-one interviews with deaf employees from various public and private sectors in Ireland, Scotland, England, Belgium and Germany; (iii) focus groups and one-to-one interviews with employers/ organisations that have deaf employees in the same countries; and (iv) focus groups and one-to-one interviews with interpreters who work regularly in employment settings. The focus of this webinar will be on the results from (ii) and (iv) – our interactions with deaf signers and interpreters.

Through our analyses of the qualitative data, we identified five main themes that occurred repeatedly throughout the data: (1) barriers; (2) strategies; (3) familiarity; (4) role of interpreter; and (5) training. This webinar will provide an overview of the results in relation to each of these themes, with illustrative examples from the perspectives of deaf sign language users and interpreters, and where the perspectives align or are in contrast. 

At the end of the webinar, the following learning objectives will be achieved. Participants will be able to:

  • Explain key barriers faced by deaf people in the workplace
  • Identify the differences between interpreters and deaf signers’ perspectives on the challenges faced
  • Identify best practice in workplace interpreting 


ASLI members are invited to attend this webinar without charge. To ensure you receive your invitation email with the link to join please email training@asli.org.uk


September 26
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
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