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Saturday offers three parallel workshops.

Workshops on Saturday May 16

10.45 - 12.15

The workshops are parallel.

Workshop A

Allies for change: how can interpreters and deaf people work together?

Hilde Haualand & Anna-Lena Nilsson

Many signed language interpreters have experienced that because they are interpreting in a situation, primary participants such as lecturers, professionals, and other service providers are likely to believe there is “equal access” for everyone. However, both experienced interpreters and deaf primary participants know this is not the case, and that deaf people often remain in a disadvantaged position (van Herreweghe, 2002, Young et al., 2019, De Meulder &; Haualand, 2019).

Individual interpreters are, however, rarely in a position or with a mandate to raise concerns about this issue with regards to the situations where they are assigned. Additionally, the alternative to an interpreter is often no interpreters at all, which would make the situation even more inaccessible. One consequence of the lack of opportunities to raise issues of concern, is that problematic practices continue without being questioned. At the same time, also in the Nordic countries, “access” for deaf people is often tantamount to providing ever more signed language interpreting services.

This workshop is inspired by De Meulder & Haualand’s (2019) invitation to rethink the impact of sign language interpreting services (SLIS) as a social institution. We will do this by taking the conference theme regarding interaction one step further, and invite participants to discuss topics like:

  • How can the interpreting profession and the deaf community strengthen their interaction with each other?
  • How can we work together to make changes in society at large?
  • How can we counteract current, naïve beliefs in what interpreters can achieve?
  • And how can interpreting organizations and organizations of deaf people work together for language concordant services, more deaf professionals and to (re-)create sign language environments?


Workshop B

Challenges in signed interactions and sign language interpretations with deaf refugees

Nina Sivunen, Virve Viljanen, Maarit Widberg-Palo

In our workshop we discuss the challenges during linguistic asymmetrical interactions with deaf migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. We also talk about the challenges sign language interpreters and workers have faced while working with them in Finland.

Deaf migrants, refugees and asylum seekers may arrive in a country not understanding the country’s sign language(s) and their proficiency in sign and/or written language may vary a lot, from home signing and/or gesturing to their national sign languages of origin. They may have received very little formal education, and they may often be emergent readers. A variety of different linguistic and semiotic resources are often used in these interactions.

We want to show the importance and effectiveness in using a deaf interpreter partner with hearing one in cases of refugee clients who don’t have yet sufficient sign language skills. Challenges in interpretation can arise when a client also has e.g. a severe mental health issues while learning Finnish sign language. The challenge to the interpretation in above mentioned situations is the translations substance rightness. In cases like these interpretations should be in at the same language level as a source language/utterance even if it is in poorer level. This has advantages in cases where interpreter is facing the language dysfluent client and where the interpretations needs to show the language proficiency of the client to the hearing professional.

The most challenging situations are the ones where it is required to translate and interpret the feelings, affections and other possible psychological meanings from the signed narratives to the spoken version. Reflecting the feelings and the state of mind of the client is demanding especially if the interpreting assignment is carried out using relay interpreting method.


Workshop C

Multimodal interactional skills as a point of departure for interpreter education

Elina Tapio and Hanna-Kaisa Turja

In the Humak University of Applied Sciences, our curriculum for interpreter education builds on multimodal interactional skills. We are not in this alone; in recent years we have seen a multimodal turn in research on sign language and sign language interpreting (see e.g. the presentation by Alapuranen & Tapio on Friday).

Multimodality refers to the multiple semiotic resources, such as sign language, gaze, or pictures, we use for making meaning in interaction. In this workshop we will focus on the concepts of affordance and place in particular without forgetting our increasingly techologised environments.

The goal of this workshop is to discuss how an interpreter trainee and a professional interpreter can harness multimodal resources in one’s work. Further, our aim is to come up with practical tools and better understanding of multimodality that can strengthen our professional reflection.

We will invite the participants to both discussion and practical activities in which we reflect and develop the everyday work of the sign language interpreter or interpreter trainee.


Conference languages: English, International Sign and FinSL