As the world watched: A cross-linguistic analysis of interpretations of President Obama’s inauguration speech

Name of Award

Carol Easley Denny Award

Date Awarded



ASL and Interpreting

Project Description

Dr. Laurie Swabey, Professor of ASL and Interpreting, was awarded $11,000 to both evaluate the pattern of errors, omissions, and infelicities (EOI) across six ASL interpretations of a single English source text, in this case President Obama’s inauguration speech, and compare patterns of EOIs between the ASL interpreters with 10 spoken language interpretations to discover similarities and differences to determine if they are the results of interpreters’ linguistic ability or a regular feature of interpreting performance. Together these two studies measure the linguistic and cognitive variables inherent to the task of interpreting.

Error analysis is often used in Interpreting Studies as a means to investigate the nature of the interpreting process, and provides information about the number and types of linguistic inaccuracies. To date, there are no comparative studies of interpretations across language modalities. This project has the potential to broaden and challenge how students think about language and interpretation.

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