Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity


ASL & Interpreting

First Advisor

Justin Small


ASL and Interpreting


Interpreters are humans and, despite historical assumptions and beliefs, do not remain completely neutral when performing interpreting duties. At times, interpreters will feel emotions that surface as a reaction to source messages. These emotions can arise quickly with little warning, causing interpreters to navigate them in a matter of seconds and make decisions regarding how to best interpret the source message. This is especially true if the source message contains any form of taboo / strong language. Such messages may cause trepidation when voicing - working from American Sign Language into English - and word choices may affect the hearing client’s perception of the deaf consumer. Interviewing twenty-four currently-practicing hearing ASL interpreters produced qualitative data regarding the emotions felt while voicing neutral content versus voicing taboo content. The results are useful for current practitioners in recognizing patterns of work and striving to correct them as well as developing skills and habits conducive to the interpreting profession.