Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity


ASL & Interpreting

First Advisor

Erica Alley

Second Advisor

Melissa B. Smith


ASL and Interpreting


Emergent signers are Deaf students with a spoken language foundation who are learning within educational environments where ASL is the shared and dominant language. Emergent signers’ growing presence within Deaf school classrooms has created a new opportunity in educational interpreting research because they require spoken language interpreting services while learning within these settings. Interpreting is produced primarily from ASL to spoken English. This pilot case study illuminates the factors that influence interpreters’ decision-making in an ASL-dominant K-12 educational setting, at one school for the Deaf. Furthermore, the study documents strategies used by interpreters in response to those factors. This project’s methodology includes observations and field notes, video footage of interpreters at work, and filmed video elicitation interviews. Three interpreters participated, whose voices were prioritized in the quantitative data. Results are categorized with Smith’s (2013) three overarching aims of educational interpreters. Findings indicate that the highly visual nature of ASL-dominant classroom, particularly during ‘question and answer’ times generate unique factors that influence interpreters’ strategic decision-making. Implications of the study suggest that educational interpreters must be trained to evaluate and prioritize in their moment-to-moment decisions.


Lena Stavely's thesis presentation video is available on the Knovio platform.