Current Call for Papers

Special Issue

Deconstructing sign language interpreting as a social institution: Politics, ethics and ideologies

Call for Papers

Guest Editors

Hilde Haualand, hilma@oslomet.no OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University

Maartje De Meulder, maartje.demeulder@hu.nl University of Applied Sciences Utrecht HU

Jemina Napier, j.napier@hw.ac.uk  Heriot-Watt University 

This special issue aims to assess the politics, ethics, and ideologies of sign language interpreting as a situated practice and sign language interpreting services as a social institution, in particular in countries where sign language interpreting services have been institutionalised by legal provisions, certification of interpreters and financial resources. The issue looks at sign language interpreting and sign language interpreting services through a socio-political lens, scrutinizing the ideologies, discourses and practices of sign language interpreting and sign language interpreting services. Sign language interpreting services are not just services in their own right, they are enabling services that function (among others) as a means to make other services accessible, because most public servants and professionals do not know a sign language. Legal provisions such as access to public services and telecommunications are but two examples of services that are (seen as) impossible to implement without sign language interpreting services As such, there is reason to ask if sign language interpreting services have become synonymous with ‘access’ and ‘inclusion’ for deaf people. The aim of this special issue is not just to highlight concerns about the ideologies and discourses of sign language interpreting as a situated practice and social institution, but also to scrutinize how sign language interpreting services have become a prerequisite for public service provision.

Sign language interpreting services now appear to be self-sufficient, institutionalized services which seem to be taken for granted by most actors involved, including most deaf people, at least in the global North. It is therefore timely and crucial to address the pragmatic consequences of these ideologies, discourses, and practices, as well as to discuss and analyse alternatives to the provision of sign language interpreters. 

We welcome contributions from a variety of perspectives and disciplines, including but not limited to, Interpreting Studies, applied linguistics, educational studies, Deaf Studies and sociology. The issue welcomes both theoretical and data-driven empirical work, or a combination: 

Theoretical Work

  • assessing the politics, ethics, and ideologies of sign language interpreting as a situated practice; assessing the politics, ethics, and ideologies of sign language interpreting services as a social institution

Data-Driven Empirical Work (qualitative, quantitative, and/or mixed methods) that examine:

  • if, when, and how sign language interpreting and/or sign language interpreting services actually provide access, and for whom; 
  • the pragmatic consequences of various ideologies surrounding sign language interpreting and sign language interpreting services; 
  • the impact that sign language interpreting services (or a lack thereof) have on a range of variables, including, but not exclusive to, access measures in healthcare or legal settings and comprehension of health/educational information; 
  • alternatives to the provision of sign language interpreting services; 
  • concerns that arise when sign language interpreting services become a prerequisite for public service provision, despite the documented challenges and potential shortcomings related to sign language interpreting.  

Timeline for Authors

Abstracts (400-500) words due to guest editors

1 June 2020

Decision on abstracts

1 September 2020

Submission of full manuscripts

1 March 2021

Decisions to authors

1 July 2021

Final versions of papers due

1 February 2022

Publication of special issue

Fall 2022

Contact Information and Submission Instructions

Abstracts will be sent to the three guest editors (see e-mail addresses above) by June 1, 2020.

After all of the abstracts have been submitted by potential contributors, the guest editors will review the submissions based on the manuscript’s contribution to the field, the relevance to the special issue theme or topic, the appropriateness of the methodologies used or proposed, and the overall quality of the abstract. Those who will be invited to submit a full manuscript, will be notified by September 1, 2020. All abstracts and manuscripts should adhere to the Translation and Interpreting Studies style guide (http://www.atisa.org/tis-style-sheet).

Authors of abstracts that are accepted for consideration will be invited to submit a full manuscript that is 5500–7000 words in length (exclusive of bibliography). Length requirements must be strictly observed. Any manuscripts that will include images or graphics should submit high-resolution images with their manuscript. Any copyrighted images require the permission of the copyright holder, and this permission should be submitted with the manuscript. 

All articles will be subjected to double-blind peer review. Once the manuscript has been submitted, the managing editor will ensure that the manuscripts have been appropriately anonymized and submit the manuscript to automatic plagiarism detection software. After reviews for each manuscript have been received, the guest editors in consultation with the editors, will make a decision to accept or reject each manuscript. In some cases, manuscripts that require extensive revisions may be subject to additional review and an invitation to revise is not a guarantee of publication. 

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