Areas of Study


Master’s students in the Department of Interpretation and Translation (DoIT) take a sequence of three research courses in their program of studies. The result is an in-depth study on a specific aspect of signed language interpreting or translation.

The students present their results during the DoIT Annual Student Research Forum that takes place each Spring. Many MAI students go on to publish their research findings in professional journals.

A description of the 2016 MAI student research projects are given below:

Katie Ardizzone

Katie Ardizzone – Santa Clara, California
The Effects of Left Handed Interpreters on Deaf Consumers.

This research delves into the possibility that hand dominance of a hearing interpreter may have an effect on Deaf consumer’s comprehension. This study looks at responses from two interpreted videos to determine if mapping features in American Sign Language (ASL) are understood clearly when presented from both left and right-hand dominant interpreters.

Devlin Breckenridge

Devlin Breckenridge – Fresno, California
Literal Interpretation Mouthing Strategies of ASL-English Interpreters

This research focuses on literal interpretation (transliteration), specifically it examines how interpreters convey not only a clear interpreted message, but also in how they can provide access to important source-language information to Deaf bilinguals who want or need such access.

Jesus Candelaria

Jesus M. Candelaria – Tucson, Arizona
Mental Processes of Trilingual Interpreters in Healthcare Settings

A high percentage of Hispanics and Latinos seek assistance in healthcare, however, among them is a subcategory of deaf individuals that also seek services from healthcare providers. The result is an increased demand in trilingual interpreting services. My research examines the mental tasks that trilingual interpreters experience when working in healthcare settings.

Shannon Davies

Shannon Davies – Montvale, New Jersey
Educational Interpreters Working with Linguistically Diverse Deaf Students

This research attempts to understand the experience of interpreters in the K-12 setting when working with linguistically diverse deaf students by interviewing six educational interpreters. It is the researcher’s hope that the results will be a resource to educational interpreters to provide better services for this population of students.

Bryan Davis

Bryan L. Davis – Bremerton, Washington
Unpacking Stakeholder Perceptions of Interpreters’ Presence on Social Media

People use social networking to showcase, and even brag about, events in their lives. Within the field of interpretation, there has been much debate about the appropriateness of interpreters using social media to showboat their work. This study takes the first step at unpacking the discussions happening in our field today.

Cat Fung

Cat H.-M. Fung – Hong Kong / HKSAR, China
Simultaneous Interpretation from Hong Kong Sign Language to Cantonese: Modals, Auxiliaries, and Negators.

With opposite word orders in some grammatical structures, HKSL- Cantonese interpreters often adopt different strategies to manage the word order discrepancies. Under an experimental setting, this project explores how HKSL- Cantonese interpreters (N =11) approach modals, auxiliaries and negators, while interpreting from HKSL into Cantonese.

Rebekah Knodel

Rebekah Knodel – Cleveland, Ohio
Coping Mechanisms for Mental Health Interpreters.

Interpreters in the mental health field are often faced with emotionally charged encounters that can result in secondary, or vicarious, trauma. Previous studies have indicated that such interpreters should be prepared with coping mechanisms and self-care routines. My research employed a survey in an effort to discover firsthand from interpreters what strategies they use to deal with these situations.

Darla Konkel

Darla Konkel – Washington, DC
A Comparative Analysis of Cognitive Effort in Simultaneous Interpretation and Sight Translation by a Deaf Interpreter.

In conference interpreting, Deaf Interpreters may work from a team or real-time captioning. This study compares the output from these two approaches to English-to-ASL interpretations and explores how the differences are a result of varying processing requirements.

Alix Kraminitz

Alix Kraminitz – Croton-on-Hudson, New York
Interpreting for Deaf Academics: Perceptions of Credibility

This study examines interpreting for a Deaf academic delivering a lecture in American Sign Language, looking at how an interpreter’s delivery of the rendition of the lecture may affect a non-signing audience’s perception of the Deaf presentations and explores how the differences are a result of varying processing requirements.

Sura Lutvak

Sarah (Sura) Lutva – Palm Harbor, Florida
An Analysis of American Sign Language Interpreters’ English Proficiency.

This study investigated the English language skills of American Sign Language/English interpreters. It compared ASL/English interpreters (whose native language was English) with native monolingual users of English by testing each group’s ability to list synonyms for 12 core adjectives of English.


Mary Beth Morgan – Atlanta, Georgia
Educational Interpreting: Working with Deaf Children Who Have Autism Spectrum Disorder.

This preliminary research explores the experiences and challenges of interpreters working with Deaf children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. The results highlight necessary strategies and approaches used to navigate the challenges these interpreters will face, which suggests that interpreting within this specialized field requires a unique set of skills, training, and resources.

Jay Pittman

Jay Pittman – Pine Level, North Carolina
Male Privilege: A Discussion of Gender in the Field of ASL Interpreting

Gender differences within society and in the workplace are often discussed. This preliminary qualitative study will aim to begin the discussion of how gender differences may affect the field of ASL interpreting. My analysis will shed light on gender within the field and the idea of privilege.

Amanda Welly

Amanda Welley – Kansas, Ohio
Directors of Artistic Sign Language and Interpreters: A Closer Look at the Collaborative Process

This research will analyze the relationship between the Director of Artistic Sign Language (DASL) and theatrical interpreters, and their process of collaboration in creating an interpreted product. As a result of this study, Amanda hopes to advocate for the increased hiring of DASLs and signed language interpreters for theatrical performances so the Deaf community can gain.

MAI Student Resources

MAI Student Research – Spring 2015

MAI Student Research main page

MAI Students Peer Reviewed Publications

Many MAI students in the Department of Interpretation have published the research they conducted as graduate students. Below is a sampling of MAI student publications:

Bower, K. (2015). Stress and burnout in video relay service (VRS) interpreting. Journal of Interpretation, 24(1), Article 2.

Lang, C. (2015). Language use at RID conferences: A survey on behaviors and perceptions. Journal of Interpretation, 24(1). Read here.

Ganz Horwitz, M. (2014). Demands and strategies of interpreting a theatrical performance into American Sign Language. Journal of Interpretation, 23(1) Read here.

Sforza. S. (2014). DI(2) = Team Interpreting. In R. Adam, C. Stone, S. Collins, & M. Metzger (Eds), Deaf Interpreters At Work (pp. 19-28). Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Marks, A. (2012). Participation framework and footing shifts in an interpreted academic meeting. Journal of Interpretation, 22(1), Article 4. Read here.

Spingarn, T. (2001). Knowledge of Deaf community-related words, symbols and acronyms among hearing people: Implications for the production of an equivalent interpretation. Journal of Interpretation, 69-84.

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2016 MAI Student Research Presentations


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