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Utilising Linguistic Ethnography to identify intralingual interpreting techniques


Date: Thursday 21 April 2022

Time: 15.00 – 16.30

Location: C307, Department of Linguistics

Welcome to a research seminar in linguistics and sign langauge with Dr. Christopher Tester (Gallaudet University).

Christopher Tester is deaf and is an assistant professor at Gallaudet University’s department of interpretation and translation. He continues to work as an interpreter and educator in private practice. His recent research focuses on Deaf interpreters’ work within the court of law, intralingual interpreting and expanding on sign language conference interpreting. Christopher is an AIIC member and is a WFD-WASLI Accredited International Sign interpreter. He is fluent in American Sign Language, British Sign Language, and International Sign. Chris received his PhD and European Masters in Sign Language Interpreting (EUMASLI) at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland and received his bachelor’s degree at the College of the Holy Cross. Additionally, he received his Professional Certificate from CUNY’s ASL/English Interpreter Education Program. He resides in Washington, D.C. 



Utilising Linguistic Ethnography to identify intralingual interpreting techniques



The use of linguistic ethnography in research is based on the Tester (2021) doctoral study titled: Intralingual Interpreting in the Courtroom: An ethnographic study of Deaf interpreters’ perceptions of their role and positioning. This study explored Deaf interpreters’ perception of their role and function within the court of law. As courtroom interpreters, Deaf interpreters commonly co-work with non-deaf interpreters, rendering the process intralingual. 
This (auto)ethnographic study, which situates the Deaf interpreters within the courts, and involves interviews with and observations of Deaf and nondeaf interpreters, draws from intralingual translation theory, interpreting studies, courtroom interpreting studies, and Deaf interpreter studies to identify how Deaf interpreters perform their role function. Through the lens of Goffman’s (1981) participation framework and translanguaging theory (De Meulder et al., 2019; García & Wei, 2014), the findings reveal how the employment status of Deaf courtroom interpreters shaped their shared participation framework with the courts which in turn influenced the language use. This study developed an intralingual interpreting taxonomy built upon Zethsen’s (2009) intralingual translation micro strategies to observe and analyse Deaf interpreter’s intralingual renditions.

This presentation will focus primarily on the linguistic ethnography aspect of the study, demonstrating how the researcher developed and revised the intralingual interpreting taxonomy through interviews and observations. As a practi-searcher (Gile, 1994), one specific ethnographic method that is utilised in this study is the use of participatory research (Bergold & Thomas, 2012; Cornwall & Jewkes, 1995; Wurm & Napier, 2017) where I developed the findings with the research participant. The findings were presented with the use of videos of recreated examples.