Eduardo Andrade Gomes, from Brazil, reviews the program for the 2017 Interpretation and Translation Research Symposium. Gomes, along with Charley Pereira Soares, gave a poster presentation, “Understanding the intermodal interpreting concept energy in termochemistry’s classes for semantic-pragmatic inference.”

Photos by Zhee Chatmon

Over 260 registrants from across the globe came to Gallaudet University to attend the 2017 Signed Language Interpretation and Translation Research Symposium, hosted by the Department of Interpretation and Translation (DOIT) from March 31 through April 1, 2017. This year’s symposium was preceded the Deaf Translators Summit, also hosted by DOIT.

This second symposium (the first was held in 2014) was a rare opportunity for hearing and deaf students, researchers, educators, and practitioners to come together and learn about current research in Interpretation and Translation Studies. Registrants attending the symposium hailed from countries such as China, Ghana, Norway, Belgium, Sweden, Brazil, Panama, and Haiti, among others.

“Above all, the symposium was an intellectual experience for the registrants, but it also resulted in vibrant networking opportunities and idea sharing for future research,” said Dr. Brenda Nicodemus, DOIT associate professor and director of the Center for the Advancement of Interpreting and Translation Research (CAITR). “Based on feedback received from registrants, it was a rich experience for them to come to Gallaudet, to gather together, and to learn from one another.”

Nicodemus, who served as symposium coordinator, said that this year’s event far exceeded her expectations with the number and quality of presentations. The 2017 Symposium received three times as many presentation proposals as in 2014, resulting in an event comprised of 36 outstanding presentations and 32 excellent research posters. The topics covered prosody, workplace interpreting, trust, social and pragmatic considerations, and linguistic flexibility, among the many other studies that investigated the complicated work of interpreting and translating.

She credited the success of the symposium to campus leadership and their dedication to research activity on campus. “The symposium would not have been possible without their encouragement and support every step of the way,” said Nicodemus.

President Roberta J. Cordano, Provost Carol J. Erting, Dr. Gaurav Mathur, and Dr. Genie Gertz, ’92 joined Dr. Melanie Metzger, G-’93, DOIT chair, in welcoming this year’s attendees.

“Interpreters provide an invaluable professional service in allegiance with the deaf community worldwide,” said Cordano. “We are proud to be the home of three levels of interpreter education: bachelor, master’s, and doctoral-level training, all of which include research in their curriculum. This research is conducted with the ultimate goal of providing outstanding language services for individuals, both deaf and hearing, who do not share the same language.”

“This is a rich opportunity to engage with information and research from all over the world, as well as participating in detailed analysis of interpreting and translation work, the process behind it, and social engagement,” said Metzger during her opening remarks.

The symposium included three keynote addresses, with Dr. Beppie van den Bogaerde, a Dutch-Sign Language of the Netherlands interpreter and linguist, presenting “Introducing research to sign language interpreter students: from horror to passion.” Dr. Xiaoyan Xiao, a professor from Xiamen University in China, who has taught Chinese-English interpretation for over 20 years, presented “Sign Lan–age on Chinese TV: Aw–eness and Ac–s, But Still M–sing the Mark.” Dr. Robert Adam, director of Continuing Professional Development at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at University College London, gave his keynote presentation, titled “Mind the gap: what is missing for Deaf interpreters and translators?”

The research presentations and posters represented a variety of topics including more traditional topics of discourse and linguistic analyses, but new trends were seen by an increased focus on translation, ideologies, cognitive processes, and deaf interpreting. Each is an emerging area of research in Interpretation and Translation Studies, and will continue to shape thinking in years to come.

As in 2014, the 2017 Symposium will result in a volume of selected papers published by Gallaudet University Press and co-edited by DOIT faculty members, Dr. Danielle Hunt, G-’06 & PhD ’16, and Dr. Emily Shaw. CAITR will continue deep, research engagement in the bachelor, master’s, and doctoral programs, continue developing its Research Chats video series, host its annual Colloquium Lecture Series, and guide many other activities.

See the Gallaudet CAITR website for more information about how research is infused in DOIT programs. For more information or to view the symposium program, please visit the symposium website.

Department of Interpretation students Elsa Sylvester, Ariana Saccente, Jeremy Miller, Carlee James, Paris McTizic, Carlton Miles Mangonon, and MJ Jones were on hand at this year’s symposium.

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