Center for the Study of Language and Society (CSLS)

Languages and Lives in Deaf Communities

Kristin Snoddon

Assoziierte Professorin an der School of Early Childhood Studies der Toronto Metropolitan University

Kristin Snoddon, Ph.D., ist Assoziierte Professorin an der School of Early Childhood Studies der Toronto Metropolitan University. Sie leitet das Projekt "The institutionalization of deaf interpreters in Canada", das vom Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada finanziert wird. Sie ist Expertin für politische Fragen im Zusammenhang mit integrativer Bildung, Rechten der Gebärdensprache und der Planung des ASL-Erwerbs. 


Deaf Interpreters and Sign Language Vitality

This presentation reports preliminary data from a study of language ideologies related to deaf interpreters, or professional sign language interpreters who are deaf and who may work as part of a team with hearing sign language interpreters. Some scholars and professional bodies have argued that deaf interpreters have more advanced linguistic and cultural competences than hearing interpreters, and that they may be more competent at accommodating the needs of diverse deaf people, including deaf newcomers to Canada, deaf individuals who do not know a standard national sign language, and deaf people with disabilities. However, little is known about deaf interpreter demographics and the qualifications and experiences needed to interpret for diverse deaf consumers today, including Black and Indigenous deaf people and deaf people of colour. This is due in part to the changing landscape of deaf education in Canada, where many deaf learners grow up outside of deaf schools, which have traditionally served as sites of national sign language transmission and maintenance. As a result, the numbers of deaf signers of standard national sign languages and opportunities for deaf children to learn these languages are decreasing, and this impacts the provision of sign language interpreting services in order for deaf individuals to access public services and information. In a policy context where the only sign language rights available to deaf Canadians are the right to an interpreter – as an accessibility accommodation in some but not all situations – deaf interpreters are also critical for ensuring transmission of sign languages and cultural values to other deaf people.