Signed language interpreting

Jemina Napier*

*Corresponding author for this work

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


This article describes signed language interpreting (SLI) as an emerging discipline. It provides a survey of the history and characteristics of SLI, the settings where signed language interpreters work, a summary of SLI research, and a description of the current state of the field. Historically, SLI has functioned as a separate entity from translation and interpreting (T&I). There has recently been growing recognition that signed languages are just another of the community languages that T&I practitioners work with. Signed languages are now formally taught in tertiary institutions throughout the world. The redefinition of the interpreter's role has generated detailed explorations of SLI professionalism and ethics. Some unique characteristics of SLI are its directionality, modality, techniques, and its settings. Finally, this article highlights, how the SLI field has emerged and in which areas it is still developing concluding with predictions for future directions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies
EditorsKristen Malmkjær, Kevin Windle
Place of PublicationOxford; New York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780191744020
ISBN (Print)9780199239306
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Directionality
  • Interpreter
  • Modality
  • Signed language interpreting
  • Sli research
  • Translation and interpreting


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