Date of Award
Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity
ASL & Interpreting
Hearing children born to deaf parents, known as Codas are born into a world where they are bimodal bilingual, as well as bicultural. They must navigate the distinct differences between spoken and signed languages and hearing and Deaf communities, often acting as interpreters for situations well beyond their maturity level. Codas simultaneously belong to both worlds, but to neither. Many Codas go on to become professional interpreters, and their unique childhood experience and identities create a space of complexity within the interpreting community. Older Codas grew up in a time before technological aids to the Deaf were available, or professional interpreters were available to the Deaf community. This qualitative study, which uses a phenomenological approach, explores two different generations of Coda childhood experiences and how they have shaped their identities and work as professional interpreters. Thematic analyses reveal that, in spite of generational differences, there are few cultural differences between the older and younger generation. Notably, they all share a feeling of isolation and, at times, hostility from non-Coda interpreters, while feeling preferred by Deaf clients. They also tend to feel a large sense of responsibility to their Deaf clients, rooted in the adult responsibilities placed upon them as children.
Crosby-Martin, Athena. (2018). The Evolution of Coda Interpreters. Retrieved from Sophia, the St. Catherine University repository website: https://sophia.stkate.edu/maisce/6