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’Preparation, but how?’

Krisztina Orsolya Horvát / 24.4.2024

There is a growing demand for sign language interpreters to work from additional foreign languages, such as English. Krisztina Orsolya Horváth’s thesis, "Exploring Sign Language Interpreting: Preparation in an Institutional Setting", aims to explore what pre-assignments preparatory steps sign language interpreters take to prepare for assignments in a specific multilingual institutional environment where English as a Foreign Language is one of the main working languages.

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The exploratory case study was conducted as part of the European Master of Sign Language Interpreting (EUMASLI) programme at the Humak University of Applied Sciences.

Four Hungarian sign language interpreters were recruited to take part in the study. The participants regularly worked in a specific multilingual institutional environment, and used an additional spoken language, English, during the assignments. In regards to modes of enquiry, the case study consisted of pre-assignment preparation observations of two separate assignments in the same institutional setting. Parallel to that, an analysis of preparation materials that interpreters worked with and semi-structured interviews were conducted following the assignments. The data gathered were thematically coded and analysed in the framework of Dean and Pollard’s Demand-Control Schema (2001, 2005) discussing environmental, interpersonal, paralinguistic, and intrapersonal aspects that emerged pertaining to preparatory steps in a multilingual institutional environment.

The findings from the data analysis indicate that the institutional setting and the presence of additional foreign languages have an influence on preparation time. Participants, several years of experience in this setting notwithstanding, allocated significant time to prepare for multilingual assignments. While intrapersonal and paralinguistic themes were present, interpersonal and environmental aspects of preparation steps were the most prominent in the dataset. The emergent themes reflected the importance of teamwork in the preparation phase as well as collaboration with deaf professionals and colleagues. Preparatory steps were shared, for instance, collaboration on terminology, creating shared glossaries and highlighting techniques. The need for continued development opportunities in a foreign language for specific purposes was highlighted by all participants. This is an exploratory case study with a small sample size; it is important to stress that the data cannot be generalized. However, the themes shared by the participants may contribute to the ongoing discussion regarding preparatory processes.

The thesis is available on the Theseus database.