Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity


ASL & Interpreting

First Advisor

Erica Alley


ASL and Interpreting


The term “designated interpreter,” introduced by Hauser, Finch, and Hauser (2008), continues to be an emerging concept in the field of signed language interpretation. Whereas this role has been discussed by deaf professional and designated interpreter teams, or by interpreters themselves, there is a lack of perspective on this role exclusively from those deaf professionals who work with interpreters. Using a demographic survey and an ethnographic interview, deaf physicians and physician trainees were asked about their experiences with interpreters for this pilot study, and to conceptualize what a designated interpreter is and does. Results of this study suggest that a unified understanding of a designated interpreter’s work remains to be established, and that the arrangement is not a model that is desired by all deaf and hard-of-hearing physicians or physician trainees who work with interpreters. This study was exploratory and focused solely on deaf physicians or physician trainees. Additional studies are needed to better qualify the concept of a designated interpreter, as well as to better understand the experiences, preferences, and expectations of other deaf medical professionals, such as nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, et cetera.


Todd Agan's thesis presentation video is available on the Knovio platform.