Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1932-2798
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2700



Sign language version of the abstract

This article rethinks the impact of sign language interpreting services (SLIS) as a social institution. It starts from the observation that “access” for deaf people is tantamount to availability of sign language interpreters, and the often uncritically proposed and largely accepted solution at the institutional level to lack of access seems to be increasing the number of interpreters. Using documented examples from education and health care settings, we raise concerns that arise when SLIS become a prerequisite for public service provision. In doing so, we problematize SLIS as replacing or concealing the need for language-concordant education and public services. We argue that like any social institution, SLIS should be studied and analyzed critically. This includes more scrutiny about how different kinds of “accesses” can be implemented without SLIS, and more awareness of the contextual languaging choices deaf people make beyond the use of interpreters.

Available under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): access; deaf; inclusion; public services; sign language interpreting
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