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Magnus Fætten Aasen, Sør-Trøndelag University College, NOR

Magnus Fætten Aasen has been a sign language instructor in the bachelor program for sign language and interpreting at Sør-Trøndelag University College in Trondheim, Norway, since 1996.


The use of immersion weeks in language learning

For some years, the BA program for interpreter’s education in Trondheim, Norway (Erlenkamp et al. 2011), has been using immersion weeks colloquially called “the language bath”. This form of instruction is a method used where communicative interaction between students and teachers focuses solely on visual communication, with only a few hours of teaching sign language theory as a supplement. This training is carried out every year during the first five weeks of the program for freshman students. The teachers aim to make the students reflect about their own body language, the structure in signed language, its construction and function. These weeks also give the students some knowledge and comprehension of Deaf culture, parallel to the development of a basic signing vocabulary and visual communication skills.

The use of immersion weeks as a teaching method approaches language through learning by seeing and doing, watching sign language videos, and doing exercises in pairs. The students are exposed to signs, signed constructions like sentence structure, localization exercises, reference exercises, orientation exercises, exercises in role shifting, point of view, facial expressions, knowledge about signs especially for signed language, the signification of eye gaze and eye contact in for example turn taking in dialogues etc.

Our presentation will showcase some exercises from this approach, and also present the students’ benefits. Our experience with this model is that the students develop an understanding of the visual language early in the program, as well as its meaning and their ability to communicate at an intermediate stage towards cracking the code of signed language.





Guri Amundsen, Sør-Trøndelag University College, NOR

Guri Amundsen is a lecturer in the Department of Sign Language and Interpreting at the Faculty of Teacher and Interpreter Education at Sør-Trøndelag University College. She has taught both Deaf students in the teacher education program and hearing students in the interpreter education program. Research interests include coherence and cohesion in expository sign language monologues, but also good teaching and learning practices.



Mentored field practice: a critical component in a holistic approach to educating sign language interpreters

As in numerous other programs with the goal of training students to become well-grounded professionals, contact with the field is important in conveying both explicit expectations and implicit tacit knowledge.

In our three-year bachelor sign language and interpreting program (Erlenkamp et al 2011), our students have 13 weeks of mentored practice, five weeks in their 2nd year and eight weeks in their 3rd year.

The aims of this talk are:

  1. To explicate the underlying principles of our mentored field practice (i.e. language skills, interpreting processes, development of professional identity and ethical awareness)

  2. To show the progression from observing working interpreters – to role play with interpreter users participating and mentors present – to in situ student interpreting under the guidance of mentors

  3. To demonstrate how the organization of field practice also takes into account the demographic necessity of training interpreters for Deaf, deafened and deaf-blind users.

Throughout all field practice periods, the students are encouraged and required to reflect on their observations and experiences with their mentors and in written logs and papers.


Sebnem Bahadir, University of Mainz, GER

(BA in Translation Studies, MA in English Language and Literature, PhD in Translation Studies) is a lecturer and researcher in translation studies at Mainz University, specializing in interpreting/translation pedagogy, politics and ethics. She is the author of Verknüpfungen und Verschiebungen. Dolmetscherin, Dolmetschforscherin, Dolmetschausbilderin (2008) and Dolmetschinszenierungen. Kulturen, Identitäten, Akteure (2010). She has been working as a freelance interpreter and translator since 1992 and as a trainer in non-academic capacity-building and awareness-raising projects for migrants and NGO initiatives to train cultural mediators and community interpreters since 2000.


Interpreting enactments: The body as shared ground for an inclusive and non-discriminatory approach in sign language and spoken language interpreter training

In this workshop I want to introduce the participants to a training method which I call "interpreting enactments" (Dolmetschinszenierungen). The method is rooted in translation studies and inspired by theories and approaches from performance studies, theatre pedagogy, sociology and critical ethnography. The major focus is on teaching interpreting as participant observation and dramatic enactment. The best way to familiarize oneself with this strictly action-based method is not by listening to a presentation on the method but by working with or rather ‘in’ it. Therefore, we will work together from scratch on one example scenario, trying to pace through the different stages of an "interpreting enactment". The training evolves around different versions of the interpreting scenario and concentrates on the performance of the interpreter as agent of social/cultural/political change. Each scenario requires new positionings, strategies and ethical decisions by the interpreter. Interpreter-mediated interactions are viewed, analyzed and rehearsed as enactments. The work on a very specific scenario starts out with the body of the interpreter as the primary medium of communication. The aim is to challenge the view that the act of interpreting only starts with the first word spoken or the first sign used. In the first phase of the training, all exercises concentrate on the moment when the interpreter enters as a body onto the stage in the interpreter-mediated scenario and on the presence of the interpreter as a (third) person in the originally dialogic situation. In the next stage, if relevant to the scenario, particular ‘communicating’ parts of the body (e.g. voice, hands, face) are trained separately. Workshops on improvisations about specific ethical themes relevant to the scenario, involving certain strategies and interpreting techniques, will follow. Then segments of the complete scenario will be rehearsed and finally the last enactment will be performed. This method decidedly aims at transgressing the separations between conference, community and sign language interpreter training.





Georg L. Bjerkli, Sør-Trøndelag University College, NOR

Georg Lorentz Bjerkli has been a sign language instructor in the bachelor program for sign language and interpreting at Sør-Trøndelag University College in Trondheim, Norway, since 1998. He also works as sign language poet within The Lutheran Congregations of the Deaf and on a freelance basis.



Using poetic language devices to develop and enhance broader language and interpreting skills

Interpreters are called upon to interpret in situations varying from education to liturgical services, from workplace meetings to shows, theater and celebrations amongst family and friends. Different situations require different types of expressive language use.

Throughout our three-year bachelor of signed language and interpreting program (Erlenkamp et al 2011), our students encounter different genres of both signed and spoken language. The aim of this talk is to explain and demonstrate how working with poetic language devices help to develop language and interpreting skills that can be useful in many interpreting situations.

In the talk, I will give examples of how iconic and spatial aspects of signed language are incorporated from the very start of the first year, and developed in the second and third years to include nuances of facial and body expression, role-switching, intensity, type and quality of motion, hand-shape rhymes etc. Students apply what they are taught in projects such as liturgical and theatrical interpreting.


Sarah Bown, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Ms. Sarah Bown is Senior Lecturer & Course Leader for the B.A. (hons.) BSL/English Interpreting programme at the University of Wolverhampton.  Her professional experience spans three decades incorporating interpreting, management of interpreting services, training across the educational domains of Higher, Further and Compulsory education and extensive experience within private, public and charitable sectors.  A Fellow of The Higher Education Academy, awarded the University’s Centre for Excellence ‘Teacher of the Year Award’ and is a Post Graduate mentor for the Institute of Learning Enhancement. She is founder and facilitator of ‘IRIS’ - International Research Interpreting Seminars, based at the University.


Reality Bites! Making it real within the context of an interpreter training programme

Higher Education training programmes are set against a backdrop of internal and external regulation, professional body standards and clearly defined/assessed skill based outcomes.

This coupled with the emerging situation of the student as consumer and partner in the training process, has implications for students’ perceptions of work based learning opportunities. Though they see these as inextricably linked to their future employment prospects, many however, expect that these opportunities and all their developmental requirements can be solely met by classroom based settings.

Taking into account the learning needs of a changing student profile, and the decline of some traditional extra curricula activities, such as the immersion settings of Deaf clubs, can the ability to develop the plethora of skills necessary, be achieved by utilising traditional pedagogic approaches and conventional classroom based settings alone?  If not entirely, then acceptable and workable alternatives have to be found.

The University of Wolverhampton’s B.A (hons.) Interpreting: (British Sign Language/English) programme has, over the past two decades, developed a robust and structured method of contextualising theoretic and simulated learning via placement engagement.  This allows for a valuable and tangible environment for the further growth and enhancement of the skills which trainers wish to see instilled and developed.

Within this workshop, design for placement learning (as a transferable model to different settings and academic subjects) will be explored interactively, critically evaluated and shared. This will allow European trainers within developing or existing programmes, to discuss the implications of various elements that should be included in such a practicum e.g. selection of placement sites, student demographics, internal/external resources, scheduling and roll-out, supporting templates/documentation, assessment philosophy and overall curriculum design.


Karin Hofstätter, University of Graz, AUT

Karin Hofstätter studied linguistics and Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS). She teaches Austrian Sign Language, Deaf Culture and Sociology and translation as well as interpreting at the Department of Translation Studies at the University of Graz, Austria. With her deaf colleague, Christian Stalzer, she has developed teaching materials for all levels of sign language instruction. For the last 15 years she has been working on several research projects on sign language interpreting and sign language lexicography. She also works as a freelance sign language interpreter.



Bernadette Kaufmann, University of Graz, AUT

Bernadette Kaufmann studied translation and interpreting at the Department of Translation Studies, University of Graz with Italian and Austrian Sign Language as her languages. During her studies, she attended various practice-oriented trainings in sign language, spent a semester abroad in Trieste and was a teaching assistant. This was inter alia the inspiration for the topic of her thesis. Her thesis investigates the interpreting process of sign language students and the effect of visualization during interpreting. She is currently training for the certification exam of the Federation of the Austrian Sign Language Interpreters.


Think in Pictures! – but I just have words in my mind:
Teaching Constructed Actions in the interpreting classroom

During the last several years, sign language and sign language interpreter training in Austria has been influenced by changes in method and didactics on the one hand, and also by the status of the Austrian Sign Language on the other hand.

While discussions about pantomimic-like language was frowned upon and linguistics hardly ever tackled the topic of constructed actions (CA) for a long time, their use has become essential for interpreting all kinds of texts. This can be a challenge for students as well as for trainers. Trainers at the ITAT Graz try to meet this challenge in a creative way, which gave rise to a thesis on this previously neglected issue in the winter semester 2011-2012. Although most models of the interpreting process consider visualization and thinking in pictures, hardly any empirical studies on the topic can be found. This thesis should contribute to fill the gap.

In the first part of our paper, we will present central outcomes of the research project, which examines how visualization exercises may influence the interpreting process of sign language students. It is based on the assumption that continuous practice, which improves one‘s visualization skills during interpreting from German into Austrian Sign Language, leads to an increase of constructed actions (CA) in the target text (TT). Consequently, the TT will be more comprehensible. An overview of the relevant literature, which lacks data gained from empirical research, is followed by the description of an experiment involving three students aimed at testing the hypotheses about CAs mentioned above.

In the second part, we will present various creative approaches to advancing visual competence used in our training – starting with the acquisition of sign language through to interpreting training.



Marianne Pilskog Nyhus,Sør-Trøndelag University College, NOR

Marianne Pilskog Nyhus has been a lecturer in the bachelor program for sign language and interpreting at Sør-Trøndelag University College in Trondheim, Norway, since 2006. A particular area of interest is interpreting for deafened individuals.


Eli Raanes, Sør-Trøndelag University College, NOR

Eli Raanes is a senior lecturer at Sør-Trøndelag University College in Trondheim, Norway. She is a certified interpreter for the Deaf and the deafblind, and has been working in interpreter education since 1994. Among other research areas are tactile Norwegian Sign Language, the relationship between gestures and signs and analyzing interpreted communication



An integrated training exercise in interpreting – a teaching plan for evaluation and reflection

Integrated exercises as part of the training in interpreting has for some years been a part of the program for education of interpreters for the deaf and deafened in the BA-program in Trondheim, Norway. Exercises of this type last one week each; the teaching plan involves the students to reflect and evaluate skills and development in dialogue interpreting.

The exercise integrates several aspects, starting with the preparation for a realistic interpreting situation.  Each student is filmed using a split screen system while interpreting in a role play situation involving different challenges. After the practical interpreting situation, there are several parts of self- reflection on the student’s own performance, supported by response and evaluation from instructors and co-students.  The next step is for the students to analyze video clips of their own interpreting and linking their reflection about their professional work to communication and interpreting theory.  In this teaching plan performance, reflection and evaluation are all integrated parts supporting the students’ individual learning process.

Our presentation discusses the different elements in this specific exercise and the didactic framework for learning, evaluation and reflection.


Franz Pöchhacker, University of Vienna, AUT

Franz Pöchhacker is Associate Professor of Interpreting Studies in the Center for Translation Studies at the University of Vienna. He holds Master’s degrees in conference interpreting from the University of Vienna and from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and has been working freelance as a conference and media interpreter for over twenty years. He teaches interpreting and research courses and has done studies on conference, media and community-based interpreting. He has published numerous articles and several books and is co-editor of the journal Interpreting.

Keynote Speech:

Research to Teaching, Spoken to Signed: Opportunities for Intradisciplinary Learning

Based on an integrated view of the discipline of interpreting studies, and on the map of Translation Studies by James Holmes, which provides for a domain of basic research as well as applied extensions, in particular training, this presentation explores the relationship between interpreting research and interpreter education, foregrounding links between topics and findings in the areas of spoken-language and signed-language interpreting. Special emphasis will be given to research on issues such as aptitude, memory and exercises in simultaneous interpreting as well as the use of technology, and the link between research and teaching will be discussed in terms of research for, in and on teaching.




Christian Rathmann, University of Hamburg, GER

Simone Scholl, University of Hamburg, GER

Andrea Schaffers, University of Hamburg, GER



Challenges in the Training of Deaf Sign Language Interpreters and Translators

In the workshop on professional programs for Deaf interpreters, we will cover the following areas:

a) Overall rationale of a professional program for Deaf interpreters: What are the requirements for applicants? What are the language pairs? Where will Deaf interpreters be employed?

b) Modularization of a professional program for Deaf interpreters: Which modules are offered? Are the contents similar to those in a B.A. sign interpreting program which is designated for hearing students?

c) Internships (including participatory observation and interpreting)

d) Governmental Exams for Interpreters: Which areas will be examined?

e) Advanced interpreting program for Deaf interpreters (at M.A. level): Conference Interpreting and Court Interpreting.




Len Roberson, University of North Florida, USA

Len Roberson, Ph.D., SC:L, CI, CT, has been involved in the fields of deaf education and interpreting for 23 years. He is an active researcher, interpreter, and interpreter educator. Dr. Roberson is the Dean of the Graduate School at the University of North Florida and Assistant Vice-President of Academic Technology, overseeing distance learning programs. He is a rater for the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education, the accreditation board for interpreter education programs in the US. Current research interests include interpreting in legal settings, teacher effectiveness and preparation, and service-learning in interpreter education. He is co-editor of the Journal of Interpretation.




Sherry Shaw, University of North Florida, USA

Sherry Shaw, Ed.D., CSC, has taught interpreting for 23 years and is Program Director/Associate Professor of ASL/English Interpreting at the University of North Florida. Dr. Shaw established the Bachelor’s degree and distance-delivered Master’s degree at UNF, which is one of three US master’s programs and the only one available online. Research interests include interpreting student cognitive and motivational characteristics, community based learning in interpreter education, and social connectedness of Deaf children and senior citizens. She serves as co-editor of the Journal of Interpretation and is author of Service-Learning in Interpreter Education, scheduled for publication in 2013 by Gallaudet University Press.


Distance Learning in Interpreter Education: Design, Integration, and Delivery

Distance learning is a viable option for interpreter educators who want to see students learn and be transformed into effective practitioners to the maximum extent that modern technology allows. Distance learning increases program access and uses current and innovative strategies to train interpreters in a manner that removes obstacles of time and geography. This workshop will highlight one program’s experience developing an interpreting master’s degree that is based on distance learning. It examines how to maintain effective teaching skills in online courses and leads participants in a review of such issues as feasibility, sustainability, faculty qualifications for online teaching, and market demand for alternative delivery modes.

During this interactive workshop, presenters will:

  • share instructional strategies for online or blended courses,

  • present planning strategies to transition traditional courses and programs to distance delivery,

  • demonstrate an effective process for converting face-to-face learning activities to online learning activities,

  • discuss pedagogical strategies for online learning,

  • share perceptions of students and faculty members on the distance learning experience,

  • demonstrate how to build online learning communities that keep students engaged in the learning process,

  • discuss creation of authentic, online learning activities.

  • present challenges to assessment and academic integrity in online learning

  • provide assessment results that demonstrate distance delivery efficacy

Following participation in this session, participants will be able to:

  • identify effective planning strategies for transitioning traditionally delivered programs to a blended delivery model;

  • explain the benefit of using best practices within Distance Learning instruction;

  • analyze a given learning activity for its appropriateness in transitioning from a traditional face-to-face delivery to a blended integration;

  • compare student and faculty perceptions of blended delivery experiences.

  • Evaluate an interpreter preparation curriculum for its distance delivery potential


Raija Roslöf, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, FIN

Raija Roslöf is a qualified sign language interpreter since 1998, BA in SL interpreting from Diaconia University of Applied Sciences 2001. She has worked as a SL interpreter trainer in Diak since 2001 specialised in translation and interpretation theory and the cultural aspect of SL interpreters work. She finished her MA in the University of Turku 2007 with the major cultural history. Her master’s thesis focused on the cultural adaptation process of SL interpreters. She worked as a project manager at the project IISE: Training Sign Language Interpreters – International Settings years 2009-2010.




Tutta Turpeinen, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, FIN

Tutta Turpeinen teaches community interpreting at Diaconia University of Applied Sciences. She is a graduate of University of Stockholm where she studied English and conference interpreting in Scandinavian languages. After graduation in 1999 she studied conference interpreting in an EMCI programme at University of Turku where she has, in the recent years, also been an active member of the training committee teaching consecutive and simultaneous interpreting. From 2002 until 2011 she worked as a university teacher in interpreting at the University of Eastern Finland. In 2010 she graduated as a trainer of interpreting from the University of Geneva.


Curriculum structure of training spoken and sign language interpreters in Diak

Since autumn 2011 Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak) has trained both Finnish sign language interpreters and spoken language community interpreters for minority languages. In the first community interpreter group, five different languages were represented: Arabic, Somali, Kurdish, Persian and Vietnamese. These interpreter groups study side by side and also have joint courses along with joint materials and expert lectures.

Both degree programs have integrated curricula and constructivism as the pedagogical approach. The curriculum is structured on the key working environments of the interpreter. In Sign Language interpreter training these environments are education, law and society, culture and work life. The environments are first covered with a general view during the first two training semesters: What is the main focus of these settings, what kind of processes are handled, who are the other professionals acting in the field and what kind of vocabulary is used? During the last two training semesters the same environments are covered with a view to actually working there as an interpreter. This way the students’ competence deepens and s/he is able to combine new knowledge with earlier.


Marinella Salami, efsli Vice President, ITE

Marinella Salami is a qualified Italian Sign Language Interpreter. She interprets between Italian, English and Italian Sign Language. Her working areas are conferences, liason interpreting, performing arts, television and high education. She interpreted the morning News on the National Italian TV Channel Rete 4 for seventeen years (1993-2010). She is also an interpreter coordinator and a trainer at university and vocational courses with a focus on ethics and professional practice.

She is an active member of ANIOS, the National Association of Italian Sign Language Interpreters. She was a member of ANIOS Examination Committee for seven years (2003-2010).

In September 2007 she was elected as a Board member of the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters (efsli) and served as head of the training department for three years. In 2010 she was re-elected and now she is also vice-president of efsli.

Marinella has given international presentations on the profession and training of sign language interpreters, such as at the International Deaf Culture Festival (Istanbul, 2010),  the International Conference on the Training of Sign Language Interpreters in Middle and Eastern European Countries (Vilnius, 2010) and the Low Countries Conference “Translation and National Images” (Antwerp, 2011).

She graduated cum laude at the University of Milan with a thesis on the representation of deafness in 19th Anglo-American literature and she is the co-author of the chapter Educating Sign Language Interpreters in Healthcare settings – A European perspective in Swabey, L. & Malcolm, K. (2012). In our hands: Educating Healthcare Interpreters. (Eds.). Washington DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Lourdes Calle, efsli project manager, ESP

Lourdes Calle has a BA in Social and Cultural Anthropology and a degree as Spanish Sign Language interpreter and guide for the Deafblind. She interprets in educational settings (secondary and higher education) and also does community interpreting with the Deafblind.

Since April 2011 she has been working as efsli project manager. She has been organising the efsli Working Seminar I (Utrecht, November 2011) and II (Hamburg, March 2012). At present she is coordinating the efsli online platform for curriculum development and preparing the Working Seminar III (Dublin, February 2013).  The aim of these seminars and platform is to share expertise and ideas and to come to a consensus for a learning outcomes based curriculum for sign language interpreting programmes from all across Europe.


Keynote Speech:

New skills and profiles for the sign language interpreter profession

Sign language interpreter education has been given a growing attention in the field over the last few years. In many countries, vocational short courses for interpreters have gradually left the place to full-time degrees programmes run by universities and institutions of higher education (Napier, 2009). However, there is still a great variety of training programmes across Europe as recorded by the recent efsli working seminars on a standard curriculum for sign language interpreting programmes in Europe (Utrecht 2011, Hamburg 2012). The efsli Trainers’ Seminars (Utrecht 2008, Helsinki 2010, Graz 2012) also established an exchange of information for all professionals involved in sign language interpreter training and initiated a discussion on new and innovative approaches to training and education of sign language interpreters. This proves, if proofs are still needed, that sign language interpreting is an interesting and ever-changing profession, always facing new changes and challenges.

efsli would like to continue its contribution and support the training field. For this purpose, efsli has run a survey within its full members, namely the national associations of sign language interpreters, in order to identify and forecast the new skills required by the profession and the consumers.

The survey consisted of two parts. The first part focused on identifying the new skills required for sign language interpreters, while the target of the second part was to outline the current situation of Deaf interpreters, an emerging profession across Europe. Findings will be presented and discussed as well as potential solutions for better training and curriculum design.



Meike Vaupel, University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, GER

Meike Vaupel began her career as a teacher for the deaf. She got her degree from the University of Hamburg, Germany, in 1994 and worked in vocational training and rehabilitation for and with deaf and hard of hearing people for several years. She became certified as sign language interpreter in 2000. She had a part-time job as an interpreter at the University of Hamburg at the sign language research center from 1996 to 2003. In 2003, she merged both her teaching and interpreting background and became a professor for sign language interpreting at the University of Applied Sciences in Zwickau.


Cars, curricula and competencies: Teaching sign language interpreting at the museum

The car industry is one of the major employers for deaf people in Saxony and elsewhere in Germany. Thus, in co-operation with the August-Horch-Museum, which features a wide range of exhibits relating to the car industry, history and production, our 4th year students have the unique opportunity to practice subject-specific interpreting skills in the context of supervised, but nonetheless real-life, guided museum tours for deaf visitors. In preparation for these field trips, which form a regular part of the teaching curriculum, students have to acquire various interpreting skills as the museum displays not only written texts describing individual films documenting production processes. Moreover, interpreting verbal presentations and explanations given by the museum guides, as well as negotiating dialogues between deaf visitors and non-signing museum staff also feature within this setting. As museum interpreting includes a range of different tasks demanding varying levels of skills and competencies, individual students can always find a task that enables them to put their interpreting skills into practice.

The proposed presentation will present and discuss some of the consequences of making these guided tours an integral part of the course in terms of content, structure and methodological delivery of the overall curriculum. Particular attention will be drawn to didactic and methodological questions, including:

Within the 4-year course, when is the best time for the students to start interpreting at the museum? What skill sets do students need to have acquired in preparation for this task and which theoretical and practical aspects should be addressed afterwards? Which competencies need to be particularly rehearsed and which resources can be drawn on? Which types of exercises and training environment are particularly suitable to prepare students for this challenge?

Finally, we will consider some of the social benefits of this unique cooperation.


Univ.-Prof. Dr.

Pekka Kujamäki

Stellvertretender Institutsleiter

Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil.

Stefan Baumgarten


Merangasse 70/1 8010 Graz
Telefon:+43 (0)316 380 - 2665; 2666
Fax:+43 (0)316 380 - 9785

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