ASL Translational Strategies for Setting-Specific Demands
Much data exists documenting the dearth of interpreters of Color in the field of ASL interpretation; today the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf membership is 88% White. The lack of representation and recruitment of qualified interpreters of Color has been documented in a recent National Interpreter Education Center survey as reports of bias toward non-White signers, bias which in turn potentially contributes to and perpetuates a largely homogeneous interpreting profession unable to meet the needs of the rapidly diversifying American Deaf community. This pilot study hypothesizes that racial bias is a factor in determining quality standards for interpretation and translation products of ASL-English interpreters, with ASL products from a White interpreter source being preferred over non-White sources. Further, this study hypothesizes that colorism will be a contributing factor, meaning signing sources with lighter skin tones will be generally preferred over those with darker skin tones regardless of race. The question this study asks is: Does racial bias impact perceived quality of an ASL translation?