Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Public Lecture Series, February 9th, 2011


Centre for Deaf Studies,
School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences,
University of Dublin, Trinity College

Public Lecture Series 2010 – 11

Medical Signbank:
Research on Australian Sign Language interpreter and deaf patient strategies for developing Auslan medical terms

Jemina Napier
Macquarie University, Australia


Wednesday, February 9th, 2011.

7.30 pm to 9.30 pm

Maxwell Hall, Hamilton Buildings, Trinity College.

ISL / English Interpretation will be provided.

Jemina Napier is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University in Sydney. She established the only industry accredited university training program for signed language interpreters in Australia at Macquarie University in 2002, and has since become the Head of the Translation & Interpreting Section and Director of the Centre for Translation & Interpreting Research. Jemina has over 20 years experience as a signed language interpreter practitioner in three different signed languages (British Sign Language, Australian Sign Language & International Sign) and over 14 years experience as an interpreter educator. She is a former board member of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters, and immediate past president of the Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association, and was instrumental in establishing the Australian Sign Language Interpreter Trainer Network. Her major research interest is in the field of signed language interpreting, but her wider interests include effective translation and interpreting pedagogy, sociolinguistics, and discourse analysis. She has published over 40 books, book chapters and articles discussing aspects of signed language interpreting and interpreting pedagogy. She has conducted research on the situated practice of signed language interpreters in educational, medical and legal contexts, and several qualitative studies that explore aspects of the signed language interpreting process or perceptions of interpreting. Jemina is a strong advocate for the importance of collaboration between spoken and signed language interpreter educators and researchers.

Researchers have identified the various challenges that can occur when interpreting for medical encounters, particularly if interpreters are untrained, do not have a clear understanding of their role, or do not understand the linguistic and discourse protocols of medical interactions (see for example Angelelli, 2003, 2005; Dysart-Gale, 2005; Wadensjö, 2001). Language, cultural and educational impediments in the effective use of signed language interpreters in medical and mental health service delivery have been identified by Australian researchers (Cornes & Napier, 2005; Napier & Cornes, 2004; Napier & Johnston, 2005), but until 2008 no linguistic research had been carried out in Australia on signed language interpreter-mediated medical encounters.

This presentation will describe the development of an innovative web-based interactive multimedia dictionary and database of Auslan (Medical Signbank) to create an effective, accepted and shared sign language vocabulary for the discussion of medical and mental health issues by deaf clients and health professionals, mediated through Auslan interpreters. The conceptual framework for this project is language planning and development within a small linguistic community of ‘limited diffusion’. This technology enables the direct participation of interpreters, deaf people and medical practitioners in a project managed by linguists, sign language interpreters, and language service providers (the National Auslan Interpreter Booking and Payment Service, and the New South Wales Health Care Interpreting Service).

The presentation will outline the progress of the project and give a demonstration of the Medical Signbank website, and specifically report on findings from workshops held with interpreters, and from focus groups conducted with deaf people about the strategies they use to deal with medical terms that have no Auslan equivalents, and their thoughts on challenges in medical interpreting.

Directions to reach the Maxwell Hall

·      The Maxwell Hall is in the Hamilton Buildings, back of Trinity College
·      Entrance can be gained through four gates: Front Gate, Nassau Street, Lincoln Place, Westland Row and Pearse Street.

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