The Infiltration of Hedging and Rising Terminal Pitch in an ASL to English Interpreted Presentation

Adam Spannagel, St. Catherine University


Interpreting from ASL to English requires an interpreter to accurately portray a deaf individual’s character, personality, and language. This representation is accomplished through the language the interpreter uses and their way of speaking. When an interpreter’s own language infiltrates an ASL to English interpretation, this can lead to a misrepresentation of the deaf individual and provide a poor perception by a hearing audience. This research examines common weak language occurrences of hedging (e.g., you know, kind of, so) and rising terminal pitch (ending clauses or statements with an upward inflection). A linguistic analysis of an ASL to English interpretation was conducted to find influencing factors that lead the participant to employ hedging strategies and/or utilize rising terminal pitch within the interpretation. This research impacts current interpreters and interpreter training programs by providing opportunities for further training and intentional practice targeting perceptual challenges caused by hedging and rising terminal pitch. The analysis allows for future research to further assess the influencing factors of an interpreter’s language patterns and the impact had on effectively representing deaf individuals through ASL to English interpreting.