7th IATIS Conference
Barcelona, 14 – 17 September 2021

The upcoming IATIS conference–to be held in a hybrid on-ground/virtual format–will commence later this month. Featuring keynote presentations and an array of thematic panels, the conference is jam-packed with fantastic presentations from researchers from throughout the world. On-site participation is limited, prompting conference officials to implement a hybrid format. The result is a nearly boundless menu of options for participants.

I will present as part of thematic panel #18: Interpreting for Access: From Speech to Signs and Text, convened by Franz Pöchhacker and Pablo Romero-Fresco on Friday, 17 September 9 am – 1:30 pm. (See a description of the panel here.) I’ll present at 10:15 am. For details about the conference see links below.


Sign Language Interpreter Space: an example from interpreted theatre

Danny McDougall, PhD

Interpreting practices meant to create inclusion for deaf theatre goers frequently rely on sign language interpreters placed to one side of the stage space during designated sign language interpreted performances (SLIPs). This placed strategy echoes an arrangement that dominates sign language interpreting in many settings, wherein the interpreter is separated from the source of the message (in ways physical and otherwise).

This talk will present findings from a phenomenological study of a SLIP experience as described by participants from three stakeholder groups: the interpreting team, cast members, and deaf audience members. A composite description of the event reveals the central role of space production in the co-construction of meaning during the performance. A thematic analysis of the described experience is rooted in the Lefebvrian spatial trialectic, as applied in deaf studies and theatre studies.

Findings from the study provide a description of sign language interpreter space, in the tradition of Lefebvre’s spatial triad. The SLIP is described as a mix of interacting spaces, including a temporary deaf space. The interpreters are found to produce a blended space, comprised of spatial practices and constructions borrowed from the actors and the deaf audience members. The distance between the interpreters and performers has consequences for the actors, deaf audience members, and interpreters themselves. Interpreter space involves strategies designed to mitigate these effects. The findings provide practical considerations for current-day application in other settings, and highlight the ontological influences underpinning the assumptions and practices related to sign language interpreters and “access”.

Sign language interpreting, Deaf space, Theatre topography, Human geography.

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