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Volume 5 (2) ~ November 2013

ISSN # 2150-5772 – This article is the intellectual property of the authors and CIT. If you wish to use this article in your teaching or in another format, please credit the authors and the CIT International Journal of Interpreter Education.


Jemina Napier, Editor
Heriot-Watt University
Correspondence to:

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Welcome to the second issue of Volume 5 of the International Journal of Interpreter Education. This issue focuses on evidence-based pedagogy, showcasing a series of papers that were presented at the convention of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT) in Charlotte, North Carolina in October 2012. Each of the articles featured in the research section of this issue demonstrates differing approaches to evidence-based interpreting pedagogy.

We are seeing a growth of evidence-based pedagogy, that is, research taking place in the classroom or in the educational context that provides us with the evidence for effectively making change in education. This growth is evidenced in all disciplines, not only interpreter education. More universities are now encouraging teaching scholarship, a process of examining teaching through a closer lens to promote reflective teaching and critical evaluation of teaching. The systematic examination of teaching enables educators to then explore the impact of making changes in the way we teach (e.g., application of different activities, innovation in use of technology, or updating curricula), through further evaluation of student outcomes, employability, and graduate capabilities. Greater consideration is being given to the impact of research generally (Hale & Napier, 2013), so it stands to reason that the same logic should be applied to educational research.
The growing number of research studies and publications in interpreting as a situated practice has led to calls for more research-based teaching (Roy, 2000), that is, drawing on the available evidence from research on interpreting to inform how we teach interpreting students. This has also led to recognition of the fact that we need more evidence of interpreting pedagogy. As stated almost 10 years ago by Franz Pöchhacker in his book Introducing Interpreting Studies (2004): “Indeed, most authors in interpreting studies are involved in interpreter education, as teachers or as students completing a thesis requirement, and many studies have been carried out on students as subjects. Nevertheless, as a research topic as such, the pedagogy of interpreting has generated little systematic description” (p. 177).
Subsequent to Pöchhacker’s statement, we are now witnessing a growing body of research on interpreting pedagogy that is providing an evidence base for proven effective teaching approaches. The research is “providing interpreter educators and researchers with frameworks to focus on more systematic and critical forms of enquiry in relation to teaching and assessment” (Hale & Napier, 2013, p. 176). Interpreting pedagogy research approaches draw on a range of theoretical frameworks and methodologies, including surveys, qualitative case studies or longitudinal studies, experimental studies, action research, and historical/archival research (Hale & Napier, 2013). In particular, evidence allows for innovation in interpreting pedagogy.
This issue of IJIE includes research papers that demonstrate different methodological approaches to examining interpreting practice with implications for teaching, and also on innovative interpreting pedagogy. The authors have drawn on action research, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic qualitative discourse analyses, and sociological perception-based interviews. As mentioned earlier, the research articles were all presented as papers at the CIT convention 1 year ago. After the conference, delegates were invited to submit their papers to the journal for consideration in the double-blind peer review process. I am delighted that we are able to feature several of the papers that were presented at the conference.
The lead article is an invited feature piece from Mark Taylor, who was the keynote speaker at the CIT convention. He had an unusual 3-hour slot for his plenary presentation, and delegates were pleasantly surprised by how engaging one person can be for that long! Drawing on his own experience, research, and humor, Dr. Taylor spent the first half of the keynote address educating and amusing us with his overview of how adult learning has changed over the years, how closely these changes are tied to popular parenting styles of each decade, and how this impacts on the nature of the learning styles of the students that we have in our classrooms. For the second half of the plenary, he talked in more detail about how we can apply this knowledge specifically in interpreter education. Dr Taylor’s presentation was a real inspiration to the interpreter educators at the conference, and we wanted to ensure that his message got out to the broader (spoken and signed language) interpreter educator audience, hence we invited him to contribute a paper to this issue.
The three research articles cover different aspects of evidence-based interpreting pedagogy. Jemina Napier, Zhongwei Song, and Shiyi Ye describe a participatory action research project conducted with Chinese conference interpreting students to explore how iPads can be used in the classroom to enhance learning and the development of language and interpreting skills. Theirs was a longitudinal study over the course of one semester and involved students and teachers engaging in a cyclical, reflective process of evaluating their learning and teaching through use of the iPads. Marty Taylor (no relation to Mark Taylor!) gives an overview of a study she conducted to examine the perspectives of deaf people and interpreters on leadership. Taking a sociological stance, Taylor interviewed a range of leaders and in her article discusses the implications of her findings in relation to interpreter education. The evidence she has collected reveals the importance of including aspects of leadership education in any interpreter education program, providing some useful food for thought for both spoken and signed language interpreter educators. Peter Llewellyn Jones and Robert Lee present their new model of interpreter role-space by examining the participation of interpreters in various interactions, drawing on sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic theories to exemplify their arguments that interpreters should not “don” their role like a hat, but rather should “enact” roles according to the communicative shifts occurring in the context—as per Shaffer’s discussion of “contextualization” and role (Napier, in press; Shaffer, in press).
The Commentary section offers two articles by authors who report on their particular teaching practices in the interpreting classroom, which are based on existing solid theoretical and evidence-based frameworks. Neither of the papers was presented at the CIT 2012 conference, but they have been presented in other interpreter education contexts, such as the Australian Sign Language Interpreters’ Association Interpreter Trainer Network Symposium. Suzanne Ehrlich, Funda Ergulec, Janet Mannheimer Zydney, and Lauren Angelone share their use of protocols to improve discussion in online and face-to-face courses, and Mary Thumann and Kendra Smith describe how they teach about mental health discourse to interpreting students.
This issue also features student work from three PhD candidates at Gallaudet University who presented their predissertation preliminary research at the CIT conference, under the guidance of Cynthia Roy. Erica Alley, Danielle Hunt, and Roberto Santiago give brief descriptions of their research studies, methodologies, and preliminary findings.
Finally, in the Open Forum section, Eileen Forestal and Debra Russell review and highly recommend Sherry Shaw’s book Service learning in Interpreter Education. “Service learning” is a popular concept in signed language interpreter education, as evidenced by the growing number of publications on the topic (see for example, Monikowski & Peterson, 2005; van den Bogaerde, 2007), and it is being promoted as a pedagogical strategy to enable interpreting students to align with the minority communities with whom they work. This concept is also being applied in language teaching (see for example, Weldon & Trautmann, 2003) and in higher education more generally (see Bryant, Schönemann, & Karpa, 2011). Service learning introduces students to experiential as well as classroom learning, whereby they are expected to participate in community activities and are encouraged to be engaged and ethical citizens; so students learn about “the significance of membership in a community while reflecting on the importance of reciprocity and the symbiotic nature of learning and living” (Monikowski & Peterson, 1995, p. 195). Sherry Shaw is now one of the leading experts in service learning in interpreter education, and her book gives an excellent overview of how to apply and embed service learning principles within interpreter education programs—a useful resource for interpreter educators of any language.
I hope you enjoy reading this issue and take away further food for thought in terms of your own evidence-based interpreting pedaogogical practices.


Bryant, J. A., Schönemann, N., & Karpa, D. (2011). Integrating service learning into the university classroom. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada: Jones and Bartlett Publishing.
Hale, S., & Napier, J. (2013). Interpreting research methods: A practical resource. London, UK: Bloomsbury.
Monikowski, C., & Peterson, R. (2005). Service learning in interpreting education: A sense of place. In M. Marschark, R. Peterson, & E. A. Winston (Eds.), Interpreting and interpreting education: Directions for research and practice (pp. 188–207). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Napier, J. (in press). Examining the notion of interpreter role through a different linguistic lens. In E. A. Winston & C. Monikowski (Eds.), Evolving paradigms in interpreter education: Impact of interpreting research on teaching interpreting. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.
Pöchhacker, F. (2004). Introducing interpreting studies. London, UK: Routledge.
Roy, C. (2000). Training interpreters—Past, present and future. In C. Roy (Ed.), Innovative practices for teaching sign language interpreters (pp.1–14). Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.
Shaffer, B. (in press). Evolution of theory, evolution of role: How interpreting theory shapes interpreter role. In E. A. Winston & C. Monikowski (Eds.), Evolving paradigms in interpreter education: Impact of interpreting research on teaching interpreting. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.
van den Bogaerde, B. (2007). Interpreter training from scratch. In C. Wadensjö, B. E. Dimitrova, & A. Nilsson (Eds.), Critical Link 4: Interpreters in the community (pp. 283–296). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.
Weldon, A., & Trautmann, G. (2003). Spanish and service-learning: Pedagogy and praxis. Hispania, 86, 574–585.