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 2018 MAI student research projects are given below:


Krystal Nicole Butler
Same Degree, Different Story? Exploring the Experiences of Students of Color in Interpreting Programs

One avenue aspiring interpreters take towards acquiring American Sign Language (ASL) and English proficiency is attending an Interpreter Education Program (IEP). A student’s overall perspective of their IEP experience is shaped by the nature of their exchanges with faculty and peers and their academic interactions within the classroom.

This study compares the perspectives of white students with students of color to determine similarities and differences in their IEP experiences.


Lena Jenny
The Impact of Self-Expression: Experiences of Female ASL Interpreters That Present Using Masculine-Tethered Traits

The range of gender-expression that appears in the professional realm is increasing. In the ASL-English interpreting profession, many women are challenging the antiquated norm of the “professional female dress code.”

When hearing, female, ASL-English interpreters present as more “masculine” at work, are they met with resistance or support? Why do they challenge the norm at all?

This study delves into the experience of these women by investigating the intersectionality of sexual orientation, gender identity, and race.


S.J. Knight
Interpreting-Related Anxiety in Interpreter Education Programs: Perceptions of Student and Faculty

The act of interpreting has been shown to be a highly stressful experience. While studies have demonstrated the need for interpreters to manage their stress, this topic may not be thoroughly covered in interpreter education programs.

The aim of this study is to examine the atmosphere toward anxiety in these programs and to provide recommendations for educators as to how to support students who struggle with interpreting-related anxiety. The findings are drawn from a nationwide survey of faculty and students from four-year interpreter education programs.


Jeremy Miller
Impact of Visual Preparation Materials on Depiction in ASL Interpretations and Target Audience Comprehension

For Deaf and Hard of Hearing students taking courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), signed language interpreters often serve as the principle point of access to highly technical subject matter. However, if interpreters have limited scientific literacy and knowledge, the accuracy of the interpretation may suffer.

In this study, I explore how the use of visually rich preparation materials impact both interpreters’ ASL production and Deaf students’ comprehension of and engagement with STEM lectures at the postsecondary level.


Cami Miner
Interpreting for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Emergent Signers in Academia

Deaf individuals who acquire American Sign Language later in life, called emergent signers, tend to use interpreters while acquiring ASL in academic settings. In this situation, interpreters face the challenge of facilitating access to academic content while the client is still acquiring ASL.

This study investigates emergent signers’ comprehension of linguistic features in a transliterated and ASL interpreted lecture. Post-study interviews provide insight into their preferences and perspectives. Findings have implications for practitioners and researchers working with this population.


Jenni Mosiman
A Survey of Interpreters’ use of RID’s Alternative Pathway to Certification

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) established a means for practitioners who do not hold a bachelor’s degree to document professional experiences in order to sit for the interview and performance portion of the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) exam. This “Alternative Pathway” is RID’s approach for increasing the professional standards of interpreters who are currently working in the field.

This study examines how interpreters fulfill the requirements of the Alternative Pathway in order to gain certification.


Angela D. Reel
Respect for Colleagues: Are sign language interpreters harming their profession?

Positive working relationships are critical both to employees’ job satisfaction and work outcomes. In the sign language interpreting profession, respect between colleagues is a critical component to workplace success. Conflict between colleagues may impact an individual’s mental outlook, lead to burnout, and result in attrition in the field.

Further, the presence of “horizontal violence” may have larger implications for the profession at large. In my study I examine the prevalence of horizontal violence experienced by sign language interpreters with the aim of improving working conditions in the profession and cultivating positive collegial relations among interpreters.


Rachel Sulmonte
The Effect of Educational Interpreters on Successful Social Integration of Mainstreamed Deaf Students

The increase of Deaf students being mainstreamed in public schools resulted in a high demand for qualified educational interpreters. Although much research has explored the social experiences of Deaf mainstream students, the impact of educational interpreters on students’ social integration has not been investigated.

This study examines the experiences of eight Deaf students who recently graduated from mainstream programs and presents themes of how educational interpreters positively impacted the students’ successful social integration in the school setting.


Elsa Sylvester
Team Interpreting: An Examination of Interpreter Support during ASL-to-English Interpretation

The success of collaboration during team interpreting can impact the overall outcome for both hearing and Deaf consumers. Despite this, the profession of ASL-English interpreting has limited research regarding the relationship between co-interpreters on teamed assignments.

This research study examines the demands faced by the “on” interpreter when interpreting from ASL into English and how decoy feeds from the “support” interpreter impacts the working relationship between the interpreters.

MAI Student Research main page

Past MAI Student Research Projects

MAI Student Research – Spring 2017

MAI Student Research – Spring 2016

MAI Student Research – Spring 2015

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.

Knodel, R. K. (2018). Coping with vicarious trauma in mental health interpreting. Journal of Interpretation, 26(1), Article 2. Read more.

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

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

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

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 more.

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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2018 MAI Student Research Presentations

Helen Thumann



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