Getting it right from the start: program admission testing of signed language interpreters

Karen Bontempo*, Jemina Napier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter presents data from two related studies concerning signed language interpreter education in Australia. In the first study, 110 signed language interpreters were surveyed on their perceptions of the efficacy of interpreter education programs in Australia in preparing graduates for work as an interpreter. The second study was designed by drawing on the qualitative survey findings of the first study, coupled with previously published results from the survey (Bontempo & Napier 2007), which identified the skills gaps of interpreters that need to be addressed in interpreter education programs. To this end, a program admission test was designed to include six elements considered potentially predictive of performance, and was piloted with a cohort of applicants to a signed language interpreter education program in Australia. Eleven out of 18 screened students were accepted into the program. The exit outcomes showed however that only 55% of the students successfully completed the program; thus the screening test results were not predictive of student performance. We present discussion of the relationship between admission testing and achievement in signed language interpreter education, and make recommendations for researchers and interpreter educators.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTesting and assessment in translation and interpreting studies
Subtitle of host publicationa call for dialogue between research and practice
EditorsClaudia V. Angelelli, Holly E. Jacobson
Place of PublicationAmsterdam; Philadelphia
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages49
ISBN (Electronic)9789027289025
ISBN (Print)9789027231901
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameAmerican Translators Association Scholarly Monograph Series
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISSN (Print)0890-4111




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