Macquarie University
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Interpreting by design: a study of aptitude, ability and achievement in Australian sign language interpreters

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posted on 2022-03-28, 15:02 authored by Karen Michele Bontempo
This thesis is comprised of a series of thematically linked work that explores and investigates factors that may be predictors of interpreter performance. The research study identifies the skills, knowledge and abilities deemed necessary for competent performance as a signed language interpreter; measures perceived competence in interpreters; gathers data on the skills gaps of interpreters and a range of personality constructs; and applies this potentially predictive data. The application of the findings of the research study include piloting an interpreter education program admission screening procedure; establishing a diagnostic skills analysis and performance management process for educational interpreters; and documenting the risk associated with interpreting in traumatic settings, and introducing strategies to enhance the personal coping skills of interpreters working in such environments. -- The data gathered from this unified corpus of research, and the efforts outlined to apply the findings in purposeful ways in a series of practical projects, will contribute to the field of interpreter education by increasing the body of knowledge about interpreter aptitude, ability and achievement. Knowing what qualities may be predictive of successful performance in the profession may lead to the development of more effective screening tools for assessing occupational suitability for interpreting; the potential for better predicting achievement in programs of study; improved capacity for addressing skills gaps in interpreters; and better training opportunities and safeguards for working practitioners. It will also provide direction and guidance to interpreter educators, employers, and practitioners themselves, in regard to curricula; staff supervision and support; interpreter performance management; and individual awareness of the aptitudes and abilities recommended for effective interpreting practice. The results of the study have implications for both spoken and signed language interpreting fields in regard to research, pedagogy and practice.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Interpreting down under: sign language interpreter education and training in Australia -- 3. Mind the gap! A skills gap analysis of sign language interpreters -- 4. Emotional stability as a predictor for interpreter competence: a consideration in determining aptitude for interpreting -- 5. Getting it right from the start: program admission testing for sign language interpreters -- 6. Striving for an "A" grade: a case study in performance management of interpreters -- 7. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: educating interpreters about the risk of vicarious trauma -- 8. Conclusion -- Appendices.


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jemina Napier


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Karen Michele Bontempo 2012.




1 online resource (xii, 252 pages)

Former Identifiers

mq:37411 2040597