Book Review: Linguistic Coping Strategies in Sign Language Interpreting

Rachel Mapson
Jemina Napier, Linguistic Coping Strategies in Sign Language Interpreting. Gallaudet University Press, 223 pp. ISBN 978-156368-658-0

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The republication of Napier’s influential doctoral thesis ensures the continued availability of this detailed version of her original study. Her research focused on two linguistic coping strategies used by signed language interpreters in educational settings: translational style and omissions. The study additionally examined whether the interpreters’ own educational backgrounds impacted their use of these strategies, a relevant issue given that many interpreters working within higher education at the time were not university educated.

Omissions have traditionally been considered errors, but Napier argues that they can be used intentionally as linguistic coping strategies. Like Wadensjö (1998), she adopts an interactional perspective on interpreting, but she develops her own omissions taxonomy that provides valuable distinctions between conscious and deliberate use of omissions and those made unconsciously. However, it is her exploration of interpreters’ metacognitive awareness about their omissions, and the analysis of omission frequency, that provides the main substance of this work.