ARTWORK COMPETITION! Sign language brokering experiences in the Deaf community

<<Click here to see this information in BSL>>

Do you have deaf parents that use sign language?

Have you had experience of helping your parents to communicate with hearing people or translating information for your parents?

Even if you are deaf or hearing – it means you have done what is called ‘language brokering’

Language brokering is something that children do to help their parents with communication, for example, if the family has migrated from another country and the parents don’t speak the language. Children can learn new languages more quickly than their parents, which is why they will help their parents to communicate in different situations.

Research has shown that children in the UK who speak a different language at home with their parents, like Chinese or Polish, often broker for their parents in different situations, like at the bank, the shop, at school or at the doctor. They can also broker by telling their parents what letters say, or information brochures, or help them fill in forms. This research has also shown that children who broker for their parents have different feelings about it – some feel good about it, some feel not so good about it.

We know that hearing and deaf kids who have deaf parents that use sign language also do this ‘language brokering’. But we don’t really know much about where it happens or why, and how the kids feel about it. We also know that even when people are grown up, they still broker for their deaf parents.

So this is a new project to find out about sign language brokering in the Deaf community in the UK. We want people to tell us about their experiences.

The project has different stages – we have already done a survey of 240 deaf and hearing Codas from 14 different countries and found that many of them began brokering as early as 4 or 5 years old. They also said that they broker in different situations, like other kids with spoken languages. We have also interviewed 11 people in Australia, ranging from 13 years old to over 50 years old, who have talked to us about their language brokering experience.

For the next stage of the research we are holding an artwork competition – so you can draw a picture, take a photo or make a short 5-minute movie to show us how you feel about your sign language brokering experience. We want deaf and hearing kids and adults to submit your artwork.

All the submissions will be judged by a panel of deaf and hearing people that have deaf parents or are involved in the Deaf community.

There will be 9 prizes of a £50 gift voucher for one person in each age and submission category. Winners will be emailed with a voucher.

Each piece of artwork will be analysed to get an understanding of how people feel about their sign language brokering experiences in the Deaf community.

So that children, deaf parents and other members of the Deaf community, hearing professionals that work with deaf people, and interpreters can benefit from this information, we would like to share this artwork with different audiences in different ways: like on a website or at an artwork exhibition. We will only show your artwork with your permission.

Competition rules:

1. This competition is only open to UK residents.

2. There are three age categories: Under 13, 13-18, Over 18

3. There are three artwork categories: (1) Draw/ paint a picture, (2) Take a photo, (3) Make a short movie.

4. Movie submissions should be no longer than 5 minutes long and should ideally be provided through a link to a YouTube or Vimeo clip. If USB sticks or DVDs are posted, they cannot be returned.

5. Deadline for competition entries is MONDAY 30th JUNE 2014.

6. Entries can be posted or sent by email

7. All entries must include a submission form. If no form is included it will not be entered into the competition.


<<Click here to download the artwork competition submission form>>

<<Click here to download the Artwork competition poster>>

This project is being managed by Jemina Napier, who is a sign language interpreter and researcher and also teaches interpreters. Jemina is hearing and grew up in a large deaf family in London, so has used British Sign Language all her life.

<<Click here for more information about Jemina in English>>

<<Click here for more information about Jemina in BSL>>

This project is also being carried out with support from key organisations who represent the Deaf, sign language interpreting and Coda communities, including: CODA UK & Ireland, the Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI), the Scottish Council on Deafness (SCOD), Deaf Parenting UK and the British Deaf Association (BDA). It is vital to carry out this project in collaboration with the Deaf community, deaf parents and sign language interpreters in order to ensure that the communities can directly benefit from the research findings.

To see more information about the project in English and International Sign: << Click here>> 

If you have any questions please contact the project manager Jemina Napier by email – and she can answer your questions by email or arrange a skype conversation if you would prefer to talk in BSL.

Author: Jemina Napier


IPCITI 2014 Call For Papers

Author: IPCITI Organising Team


10th Anniversary – International Postgraduate Conference in Translation and Interpreting


Intersect, Innovate, Interact

New Directions in Translation and Interpreting Studies


29-31 October 2014


The IPCITI Conference is the result of a long-term collaboration between Dublin City University, Heriot-Watt University, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Manchester. IPCITI is designed to provide new researchers from all areas of translation and interpreting studies with the opportunity to share their research with peers in a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment. This year’s conference will engage with existing and new perspectives and interactions within and beyond Translation and Interpreting studies that are shaping the future of the discipline.Following the success of the 9th IPCITI conference held at Heriot-Watt University, the University of Manchester is pleased to host the 10th anniversary conference which will take place from 29-31 October 2014.




We particularly welcome abstracts which address (but need not be limited to) the following topics:




In line with Maria Tymoczko’s theorisation of translation as a ‘cluster concept’, it can be argued that Translation and Interpreting Studies is a discipline formed at the intersections, namely through its interplay with other subject areas. We are interested in the ever-evolving dialogical relationship between T&I Studies and:


  • Intercultural Studies
  • Sociology and Politics
  • Media and Visual Studies
  • Science and Technology
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies





With the explosion of social media since the inception of the IPCITI enterprise, it is vital to examine how new media and new technologies influence both how we interpret and translate on a practical level, and how we think about interpreting and translation on a conceptual level. We would like to consider how the discipline engages with:


  • New media and technologies
  • New theoretical frameworks
  • New methodological approaches
  • New challenges






Increasingly globalised, technology-driven societies are witnessing the emergence of new modes of translating and interpreting and, in parallel with this, an enlarged conception of who we consider as being translators and interpreters. Understanding the ways in which existing and emerging communities of translators and interpreters interact with one another (as well as with those who theorise on their activities) is crucial for the future of T&I studies. At the conference we would like to discuss the different modes of interaction between:




•Professional translators/ interpreters and volunteers (including activists, fansubbers, etc.)

•Academics and translators/interpreters

•The translator/interpreter and the ‘self’ (i.e. the growing acknowledgment of the role that the translator’s/interpreter’s own subjectivity plays in these forms of interlingual and intercultural mediation)






Keynote Speakers           Prof. Barbara Moser-Mercer (Université de Genève)


Dr. Sue-Ann Harding (Hamad Bin Khalifa University)



Workshop Leaders          Dr. Rebecca Tipton (University of Manchester)


Dr. Gabriela Saldanha (University of Birmingham)






IPCITI 2014 welcomes abstracts for paper and poster presentations:


  • Papers are allotted 20-minute slots to be followed by 10 minutes of discussion (total 30 minutes each presenter).
  • Poster presenters will be required to explain their research in a more informal setting to small groups during our dedicated poster session.



Both paper and poster abstracts should be submitted in English and should not exceed 300 words.


Abstracts should include:


  • The presenter’s name
  • The presenter’s affiliation
  • The presenter’s academic status and current year of study
  • Title for the paper/poster to be presented
  • Three keywords that best encapsulate the content of the paper/poster to be presented
  • An indication of the theoretical framework and/or research methodology employed or to be employed
  • A brief summary of outcomes or pursued outcomes



Please submit your abstract to:





Abstract submission deadline: Wednesday 30 April 2014


Notification of acceptance: Friday 4 July 2014


Registration deadline: Friday 26 September 2014


Information and Contact Details

Enquiries concerning the conference should be directed to:

Information on the University of Manchester:

General information on Manchester can be found at:

Further information concerning accommodation and directions to the conference venue will be available shortly at:


Why Language Learning Will Not Reduce Interpreting Costs

This morning, I read that Leeds council want to slash interpreting costs by using children to interpret. Aside from the huge problems with this proposal and the lack of contextualisation of the figures involved (£127,000 in six months might be small compared to other costs like council branding, consultant hire, dog mess cleanup or even website design), what stood out most were the comments.

In general, the logic went like this

If people would learn English, we wouldn’t need to supply interpreting.

It sounds so convincing. We need to provide interpreting because people don’t speak English (oh and because it is a European law) so if people did speak English, we wouldn’t need interpreting. Problem solved.

Such a pity that won’t work, at least not for a long time. The truth is that “speaking a language” can mean thousands of different things. At the moment, I can claim I “speak” German – within strict limits, but I can speak it. I have spent two years learning it and can have a conversation and even write a letter or an email but you bet I would need an interpreter for the doctor’s office or a court.

I also “speak” French. In fact, I have been “speaking French” since I was 8. I have interpreted at high-level conferences and can read and understand everything from contracts to research papers. I have a degree in the language and an MSc in French-English Conference Interpreting and Translation. In fact, you might even want to call me nearly bilingual.

Still, drop me in a court and you bet I would want an interpreter. My legal French is good but not good enough to risk my freedom or someone else’s freedom for. The stakes would be just too high. I have not studied and used enough legal French to be completely aware of what the lawyers were attempting to get at with their questions.

In other words, language ability is not a single skill, good for all areas of life. It is perfectly normal, for someone to have excellent conversational skills in a language and yet struggle to transact business or talk to someone about their government benefits. Even after years in a country, it is very likely that even people who have “learned the language” might need help in certain key places, coincidentally, the same places where interpreting is needed the most now.

Learning a language to any level takes time and during this time, interpreting is required. It is a massive oversimplification to think that language classes will mean interpreting is not necessary.

All this has assumed that we are dealing with new arrivals to a country. What about Deaf people? Their need for interpreting will be ongoing.

So what do we do to save money? Simple: get a good system, don’t waste time and pay professional interpreters a professional rate. Getting things right first time will always cost less than having to clear up after a mess.

Author: Jonathan Downie

Whose Job is it to make you a translator?

It’s a common complaint. A number of students graduate from translation and interpreting courses only to find, to their horror, that their courses have prepared them for the technical and linguistic aspects of translation and interpreting but have not assured their career success. Outside of the feathered nest of a university program, they find, to their horror that clients are not clamouring to work them and (shock!) they must find ways to get clients themselves.

It is very easy to blame the universities for this. It might seem perfectly reasonable for students to think that, if they are paying for a translation degree, that their degree will make them translators. It will not.

The truth is that, even in four year degrees, there simply isn’t time to give students all the skills they will need to establish their career in translation or interpreting. Besides language skills, research ability and flexibility, freelancers need to understand and use marketing, negotiation, pricing, accounting, networking, presentation skills, writing, and much more besides. Many of these will even be used differently in different sectors of the same industry.

It’s is unfair to expect students to emerge from any degree as a complete freelancer, ready to face the world. The reality is that they have much more learning to do, even after getting their first job or first project.

This, of course, does not entirely exonerate universities from any responsibilities. There are good reasons why students should expect that their degrees will at least introduce them to market realities and that their course will have some sort of connection to the world they will enter when they graduate.

Hence why Heriot-Watt University, like many in the UK, is pleased to hold (in partnership with ITI) Starting Work as a Translator or Interpreter events every year for final year and masters students. At such events, students can get vital introductions to freelancing, and even staff work. Rather than filling in gaps that “should” be in the degree, such events show that it is possible for academia and the market to cooperate in making sure that students are ready for their next stage of learning.

The key to all this is partnership. In most countries, even the biggest professional associations have neither the time nor the expertise to create the infrastructure for providing full training for hundreds of students every year. Universities do. They also find it much easier to accept the inevitable fact that not all students trained as translators or interpreters will ever find their way into these professions.

On the other hand, universities, due to resource restrictions, are not able to provide the kind of career-long support to professionals that their associations are increasingly offering. In fact, such support is, quite correctly, normally not within their remit.

The point is that no one becomes a translator or interpreter simply by getting a degree. It takes time, perseverance and, crucially, a decision to take part in your local (or not so local) professional community. All of this takes places as students and new professionals learn to apply their university training to real-life realities and to make decisions on further training. We are trained in the classroom but become professionals at the wordface.