Directionality in signed language interpreting

Jihong Wang, Jemina Napier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This mixed methods study investigated the effects of directionality (language direction and age of signed language acquisition on the simultaneous interpreting performance o professional English/Auslan (Australian Sign Language) interpreters, who comprise native signers and non-native signers. Each participant interpreted presentations simultaneousl from English into Auslan, and vice versa, with each task followed by a brie semi-structured interview. Unlike a similar study, results reveal no significant difference between the native signers' English-To-Auslan simultaneous interpreting performanc and their Auslan-To-English simultaneous interpreting performance, suggesting that balance bilingual interpreters are free from the rule of directionality. Although this findin held true for the non-native signers, results indicate a need for the non-native signers t continue to enhance their signed language (L2) competence. Furthermore, although th native signers were similar to the non-native signers in overall simultaneous interpretin performance in each language direction, the native signers were significantly superior t the non-native signers in both the target text features and delivery features of Englishto Auslan simultaneous interpreting performance. These findings also suggest that th non-native signers need to further improve their signed language (L2) proficiency Nevertheless, an analysis of the qualitative interview data reveals that the professiona interpreters perceived distinct challenges that were unique to each language direction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-541
Number of pages24
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • signed language interpreting
  • simultaneous interpreting performance
  • directionality (language direction)
  • native signers
  • non-native signers


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