Dissertation Abstracts

All views or conclusions are those of the authors of the articles and not necessarily those of the editorial staff or the publisher.
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In this section, we feature abstracts of recently completed doctoral or master’s theses. If you have recently completed a master’s or PhD thesis in this field and would like it to be included, please send an abstract of 200–300 words to citjournaleditor@gmail.com. We urge all academic supervisors to encourage their students to submit abstracts of their completed dissertations for inclusion in the next issue of the journal, in order to help disseminate new research relating to interpreter and translator education.

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Approximately There – Positioning video-mediated interpreting in frontline police services

Robert Andrew Skinner
Heriot-Watt University
Email: ras3@hw.ac.uk
Degree: PhD thesis, Heriot-Watt University


This study examines how a police force in the UK makes use of video interpreting services to undertake standard police procedures. Two frontline police services were examined: four non-emergency video relay service (VRS) calls to a Police Scotland’s helpline; and three video remote interpreted calls (VRI) to book a suspect into police custody. Both contexts were identified as areas for potential VRS/VRI expansion by Police Scotland. The research questions focused on how cooperation was negotiated during a video-mediated interpreted interaction in a frontline policing context and how cooperation affected the delivery of the combined service.
This study combined Positioning Theory (Davies & Harré, 1990) with Actor-Network Theory (ANT) (Callon, 1986; Latour, 2005; Law, 2004) to track the capacity and willingness that each participant displayed in assuming, negotiating, or challenging the shared rights or duties, and to consider the role non-human entities (e.g. technology, policies, artefacts) had in shaping these interactive positioning moves.
This study found a range of positioning moves that either work towards or become a co-positioning arrangement. The establishment of co-positions means different actors have established a unified group of rights and duties that are mutually shared. The study findings reaffirm the challenges of remote communication, as well as which features of communication promoted by call handlers, custody sergeant and interpreters appear to be mutually effective for frontline policing interactions. The police participant and the interpreter have a shared objective: to learn about the citizen and to construct an understanding of the issue at hand. Issues still exist regarding knowing how to adapt standard police procedures or generic responses to become meaningful to someone who is a deaf user of British Sign Language (BSL). Interpreters will sometimes become involved in advocating the deaf person’s right to receive parity of service beyond the VRS/VRI call. By focusing on standard police procedures and understanding what works and why, we can identify where and when VRS/VRI services could be used to increase citizen access to other areas of police services.
Keywords: Video Relay Service, video remote interpreted calls, British Sign Language (BSL), positioning theory, policing vulnerabilities, policing diverse communities, police interpreting

A Multi-Perspective Approach to Translation Practice and Translation Pedagogy: Professional Translators, Trainers and Students. Data from language services sectors and university translator training programs in Australia and Vietnam

Thu Thi Quy Do
School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University
Email: thu.thiquydo@gmail.com
Degree: PhD thesis, Monash University


This empirical study explores the nature and degree of correspondence between contemporary university translation programs and professional translation practice. It aimed to assess the degree to which translation students are equipped by their training programs with the skills required in the professional translation industry. The study employed a mixed-method design with both quantitative and qualitative approaches, featuring a first phase of online surveys (quantitative and qualitative) followed by a second phase of semi-structured interviews (qualitative). The study recruited respondents from two contexts in Australia and Vietnam, including working professional translators and translation educators and students from university translation programs.

As a theoretical framework, the data analysis applied a translator competence model which was adapted from Kelly’s (2005) macro translator competence and Kiraly’s (2016) dynamic model of translator competence for translator education. SPSS 22 was utilized for the quantitative analysis and NVivo 11 software was applied to the qualitative content analysis. The data were organised into three descriptive themes underlying three main competence blocks in the study framework:  strategic workplace competence, instrumental competence, and thematic competence, all drawn from Campbell’s (1998) view on building blocks in curriculum design. 

This study provides yet more evidence that pedagogical practices lack alignment with the real life contexts of professional practice. Participating translators expressed a belief that, given the changing demands of professional translation, their work status and their client types, translator training needs to address both international and local work requirements in order to equip graduates for the global market. The results highlight the knowledge and skills that graduates felt they still lack. These include both industry-specific competences such as the ability to understand briefs and to use translation tools, and generic competences such as skill in working collaboratively with others and a familiarity with business requirements such as quotes and invoices.

This study found a high degree of congruence between what respondents perceived to be essential content in translator education and what had been offered in their own training, in particular in relation to modules related to strategic and the instrumental competencies, which were valued for their practical and profession-oriented nature. However, cross tabulations of data revealed convergences as well as divergences in expectations and in the reality of training between postgraduate and undergraduate programs in Australia and Vietnam.

This study applied a translator competence model in investigating translation practice and translation pedagogy in the Asia Pacific context. The perspectives from these two research contexts and training levels provide insights that have pedagogical implications for translator educators and program developers.

Keywords: university translation programs, professional translation requirements, translator competence, translation pedagogy, translation practice

Authoring a Profession: A Historiography of Book Publishing and Educational Usage of Books in ASL-English Interpretation

Kierstin Muroski
Department of Interpretation & Translation, Gallaudet University
Email: ksmuroski@gmail.com
Degree: PhD thesis, Gallaudet University


This study identified and gathered published books concentrating on American Sign Language-English interpreting. Details of the books were recorded to develop an historical reflection, called a “historiography,” of the field of ASL-English interpreting. Book content was also critically reviewed and compared to the national standards of knowledge and skill competencies for interpreter education set by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE). Frequencies and gaps of alignment were noted. Finally, this study collected survey data from faculty who teach undergraduate American Sign Language-English interpreting courses. The survey explored faculty familiarity with, usage of, and preferences for books published for the profession of American Sign Language-English interpreting.
The historical development of books written for the profession of American Sign Language-English interpreting offers perspective on the profession as a whole and highlights the progress made toward sharing knowledge within a professional sphere. Comparison of book content with national knowledge and competency standards provides insights that may assist interpreter educators with more appropriate book choices for particular courses. Survey data collected for this study reveals current trends in usage of books published for the ASL-English interpreting field. The data collected within this study can be used to improve interpreter education, which in turn can improve the interpreted experiences of the deaf and hearing people who rely on American Sign Language-English interpretations.
Keywords: historiography, CCIE, interpreter education, book usage, publications

The social organization of ASL-English interpreters: An institutional ethnography of getting scheduled

Pamela F. Collins
Department of Interpretation and Translation, Gallaudet University
Email: Professorcollins59@gmail.com
Degree: PhD thesis, Gallaudet University


Despite the growing professionalization of ASL-English interpreting in the United States, questions remain regarding the decisions involving the placement of appropriately qualified and credentialed interpreters on assignments, a process referred to as scheduling. Over the past 40 years, reliance on community-sourced interpreting provision has evolved into a dependence on professional interpreting agencies and other entities engaged in the business of scheduling interpreters. Anecdotally, both professional interpreters and consumers of interpreting services report frustration with how interpreters currently are scheduled for assignments. I adopt an institutional ethnographic (IE) approach to investigate the regulation and organization of interpreter scheduling. Drawing on interviews, focus groups, and observations of scheduling activity, I report on the process of scheduling, the efficacy of providing access to clients, and the intersection of the institution of access with other large social constructs of racism and capitalism that impede access. Experiential accounts from study participants illuminate a sequence of coordinated action in interpreters’ local practice. Beyond these experiential accounts are observable moments of discourse and texts that organize the sequence of scheduling ASL-English interpreters. Key stakeholders coordinated by this sequence lack information and standards to inform their work. A clearer understanding of the processes of interpreter scheduling can shed light on competing factors and recommendations for future practices, and may lead to greater collaboration on practices which are better equipped to ensure access.

Keywords: institutional ethnography, ASL-English interpreting, scheduling, ruling-relations, social institutions, Decision-Making, problematic, standpoint