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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assessing Interpreter Intercultural Sensitivity
by Rasmussen, Alysse Suzanne, Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2012, 263; 3531415
Abstract (Summary)

Sign language interpreters, who work regularly between at least two languages and between at least two cultures, need to be sensitive to cultural differences and need to be able to respond to these differences in an effective and efficient manner. In today's era of global citizenship, interpreting agencies, organizations, educators and mentors, as well as society in general, prize intercultural sensitivity. Yet, to date, in an extensive review of the literature, no empirical studies of this population have been uncovered. No baseline has been established. This research study used the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) to assess the intercultural sensitivity orientations of 189 sign language interpreters. This study expanded the use of the IDI to a new population, sign language interpreters, and described normative standards for this group. The study was exploratory in nature in that it investigated carefully defined degrees of intercultural sensitivity. It also explored potential correlations between stages of intercultural sensitivity and certain population descriptors, such as demographics, credentialing, motivational factors, and linguistic and cultural exposure. A profile emerged that showed that the population under study, as a group, had a Developmental Orientation (DO) in Minimization (97.43) which tends overvalue cultural commonalities and undervalue cultural differences. The spread of orientations was wide with slightly more than half in Minimization and the remainder almost equally divided between ethnocentric and ethnorelative worldviews. When trying to develop a shared vision, approximately one-quarter will want to discuss differences while the remaining three-quarters will want to focus on commonalities. In addition to investigating the IDI development scores of interpreters, this research study also tried to determine whether or not there were significant differences in the intercultural sensitivity of various interpreter groupings in terms of demographic and background variables. Of myriad factors, only Age First Learned (Linguistic and cultural exposure) proved significant for Age 13-15 (positively correlated with DO) and for Ages 0-2 and Ages 3-5 (negatively correlated with DO).

Keywords: American Sign Language, Applied Linguistics, Deaf Studies, Sign Language Interpreting, and Intercultural Communication.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gray, Chris Hables
Commitee: Buehler, Gary J., Davies, Mark, Owens, Nancy J.
School: Union Institute and University
Department: Linguistics
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics, Multicultural Education, Sociolinguistics
Keywords: American Sign Language (ASL), Applied linguistics, Deaf, Intercultural communication, Interpreting
Publication Number: 3531415
ISBN: 978-1-267-72852-4
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