Journal Article

Accessing University Education: Perceptions, Preferences, and Expectations for Interpreting by Deaf Students

Jemina Napier and Roz Barker

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 9, issue 2, pages 228-238
Published in print April 2004 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online April 2004 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/deafed/enh024
Accessing University Education: Perceptions, Preferences, and Expectations for Interpreting by Deaf Students

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This paper provides a brief review of the history of deaf education in Australia, Australian Sign Language (Auslan), and Auslan interpreting. A panel of Australian deaf university students from diverse linguistic and educational backgrounds provides insights into their perceptions of sign language interpreting provision in university lectures. They commented on their interpreting preferences after viewing two videotaped segments of university lecture interpretation, one demonstrating a predominantly free approach and the other a predominantly literal approach. Expectations of the deaf students were explored in relation to the educational backgrounds and qualifications of university interpreters; comprehension of interpreters is also discussed. Results suggest that the university students preferred interpreters to combine both interpretation styles, switching between literal and free approaches when appropriate. In doing so, students can access lecture content in Auslan while accessing subject-specific terminology or academic language in English. In terms of qualifications, the students advocated for interpreters to have a university qualification in general, especially if they are working in a university context. However, the students also acknowledged that interpreting did not provide them with full access in educational settings.

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Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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