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Applying language skills to interpretation: Student perspectives from signed and spoken language programs

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Interpreter Education Programs (IEPs) frequently encounter a dilemma when attempting to assist students who have completed a second-language learning sequence in their transition to interpreter education. Typically, students exhibit difficulties making this transition when they perceive their language base is inadequate to successfully complete the interpreting sequence in their program. This investigation was designed to (a) explore factors that contribute to or inhibit readiness to apply language skills to interpretation, and (b) identify similarities and differences between students’ perspectives of this transition in the context of signed language and spoken language interpretation programs. The Interpreter Education Program (American Sign Language/English) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA conducted this study in collaboration with the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Translation Studies at the Karl-Franzens-University of Graz, Austria (which offers eleven languages). Observations from both programs provide insight for interpreter educators as they strive to improve programs and enhance student retention and program completion rates.
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Keywords: interpreter education; interpreter education persistence; interpreting student retention; qualitative research; sign language interpreting; transferring language skills

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Arkansas at Little Rock 2: University of Graz 3: University of Alabama

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting
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