Key note speaker: Debra Russell (CA)

Debra Russell is an ASL-English interpreter and interpreter educator from Calgary, Canada.  Her interpreting practice spans thirty years, and is community based in a range of medical, legal, mental health and employment settings. As the Director of the Western Canadian Centre for Deaf Studies, at the University of Alberta, her teaching has also taken her to six continents. In addition to her teaching, she maintains an active research program, with current projects that focus on Deaf Interpreters, legal interpreting, and mediated education settings for Deaf children.  In 2011 she was elected President of WASLI.  Deb is also a dedicated student of yoga, who loves to travel


Sarah Bown (UK)
Ms. Sarah Bown is Senior Lecturer & Course Leader for the B.A. (hons.) BSL/English Interpreting programme at the University of Wolverhampton. Her professional experience spans three decades incorporating interpreting, management of interpreting services, training across the educational domains of Higher, Further and Compulsory education and extensive experience within private, public and charitable sectors. A ‘Fellow’ and ‘Academic Associate’ of The Higher Education Academy, awarded the University’s Centre for Excellence ‘Teacher of the Year Award’ and is a post graduate mentor for the Institute of Learning Enhancement. She is founder and facilitator of ‘IRIS’ – International Research Interpreting Seminars, based at the University.

Kristiaan Dekesel (BE-UK)
Kristiaan Dekesel is Principal Lecturer in Interpreting: (BSL/English) at the University of Wolverhampton. He has been involved in the training of interpreters for over two decades. Kristiaan has been instrumental in the curriculum design of undergraduate programmes in Higher Education and has actively campaigned for the access to BSL as a national curriculum subject in the education system for both deaf and hearing children. His is one of only a handful of sign linguists in the UK and his current research interests involve: the citoyen interpreter, think aloud protocols in interpreter training and battlefield command in the war of Spanish succession.

Professor Jemina Napier (UK-AU)
Professor Jemina Napier is an interpreter researcher, educator and practitioner She has practiced as a signed language interpreter since 1988, and works between English and British Sign Language (BSL), Australian Sign Language (Auslan) or International Sign. She recently returned to the UK after 15 years in Australia, where she is now Professor and Chair of Intercultural Communication in the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Prior to that she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University in Sydney, where she was Head of Translation & Interpreting, and also where she established the only postgraduate training program for signed language interpreters in Australia. And an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of SASL at the University of Free State in South Africa. She is Editor of the International Journal of Interpreter Education, and has published widely on signed language interpreting and interpreting pedagogy research. Her research focuses primarily on signed language interpretation in context (particularly education, legal and medical) to inform the wider field of interpreting studies and applied linguistics; and interpreting pedagogy, using action research to explore aspects of distance education, blended learning, curriculum innovation and discourse-based teaching practices.

Dr. Terry Janzen (CA)
Dr. Terry Janzen is Associate Professor and Department Head in the Department of Linguistics, University of Manitoba, Canada. He has research interests in cognitive and functional aspects of the discourse structure of ASL, in particular in information structure and complex verb constructions that include perspective-taking. He also conducts research on grammaticalization processes in signed languages. Dr. Janzen has been an ASL-English interpreter for over thirty years, and recently has examined the phenomenon of intersubjectivity in the interpreting process, publishing several papers on the topic with Dr. Barbara Shaffer of the University of New Mexico. He is the editor of the popular volume Topics in Signed Language Interpreting: Theory and Practice.

Dr. Barbara Shaffer (US)
Dr. Barbara Shaffer is Associate Professor in the Signed Language Interpreting Program at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Shaffer’s research interests include the grammaticalization of signed languages, stance markers in ASL, intersubjectivity in discourse, and intersubjectivity in interpreted interactions. She recently wrote a chapter entitled “Evolution of theory, evolution of role: How interpreting theory shapes interpreter role” for the edited volume Evolving Paradigms in Interpreting Education: Impact of Interpreting Research on Teaching Interpreting, as well as a chapter with Terry Janzen for the volume Sign Language Research, Uses and Practices entitled “The interpreter’s stance in intersubjective discourse”. Dr. Shaffer was also a recent Fulbright Specialist for a series of workshops at Trinity College Dublin on mental health interpreting to area Irish Sign Language interpreters.

Christopher Stone (UK/US)
Christopher Stone is a sign language interpreter whose research is concerned with aptitude, bilingualism, identity, Deaf interpreters and the history of sign language interpreting. He received his PhD in Deaf Studies from Bristol University’s Centre for Deaf Studies and is currently an Associate Professor at Gallaudet University in the Department of Interpretation. He maintains his research and teaching there and continues to work as a sign language interpreter both in the community and conference sectors.

David Vinson (UK)
David Vinson is a psycholinguist whose research is concerned with lexical representation and processing in spoken and signed language, and the relationship between language and other aspects of cognition. He received his PhD in psycholinguistics from University College London and currently holds a UK Economic and Social Research Council Future Research Leaders fellowship focusing upon behavioural and neural characteristics of multimodal communication.

Sophie Pointurier-Pournin (FR)
Sophie Pointurier Pournin is a French sign-language interpreter. She was trained at ESIT where she now teaches (Université Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle). At the same time, she is finishing a PhD in interpreting under the supervision of Professor Daniel Gile. Her research interests include the lexical gap phenomenon in French to French Sign Language interpreting, simultaneous interpreting process and interpreting tactics. She is also co-director of the Sign Language interpretation department at ESIT.

Anna-Lena Nilsson (NO)
Anna-Lena Nilsson is Professor of Sign Language and Interpreting Studies at Sør-Trøndelag University College, Trondheim, Norway. Her PhD-thesis was titled “Studies in Swedish Sign Language: Reference, Real Space Blending, and Interpretation.”. She has more than 30 years of experience of signed language interpreting, and has been responsible for a number of continuous professional development courses at Stockholm University. She was also part of the team planning the BA program in Sign Language and Interpreting launched there in 2013. In 2012 she received a research grant form the Swedish Research Council for the project “Use of Signing Space in Simultaneous Interpretation.”

Karen Bontempo (AU)
Karen Bontempo has over 23 years of experience as an Auslan (Australian Sign Language) / English interpreter and has worked part time as an interpreter educator since 1996 in both college level and university interpreter education programs. Karen holds a PhD from Macquarie University, where she is an Honorary Associate of the Linguistics Department. In addition, she works at Shenton College Deaf Education Centre and provides curriculum leadership for Auslan programs in Western Australian schools. She is the national chairperson of the Interpreter Trainers’ Network in Australia, serves on the national interpreting authority examiners panel, and on the national interpreting qualifications assessment committee. Karen’s research interests centre primarily on interpreter aptitude and performance, and issues surrounding interpreting pedagogy.

Tobias Haug (DE)
Tobias Haug studied sign language linguistics at Hamburg University and Deaf education at Boston University, where he received his masters in 1998. In 2009 he earned his PhD in sign languages with the specialization on sign language assessment at Hamburg University. From 1998 to 2004 he worked as a sign language interpreter and researcher. Since 2004 he has been the programme director and lecturer in the sign language interpreter programme in Zurich, Switzerland. One of his main research interests is sign language development and assessment for different target groups (L1 and L2 learner) in connection with computer assisted language testing and sign language interpreting. Since 2002 he has hosted a website on sign language tests.

Lorraine Leeson (IR)
Lorraine Leeson is an interpreter (Irish Sign Language/English), educator and linguist. She holds a PhD in linguistics from Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) and is the inaugural Professor of Deaf Studies at that institution. Her research interests focus on aspects of interpreting research, and the linguistics and sociolinguistics of signed languages, with a particular interest in Irish Sign Language and corpus led research. Lorraine has worked on many pan European projects; currently she is the coordinator of the European Centre for Modern Languages PRO-Signs Project and leads the Irish strand of a European Commission funded project looking at the Deaf community’s access to justice. She is also engaged in the development of a L2 sign language learner corpus (working with colleagues in Stockholm University). Lorraine is the current Chair of the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters’ Committee of Experts and in 2013-14 is the Julian and Virginia Cornell Distinguished Visiting Professor at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, USA. In 2009, Lorraine was named a European Commission „Language Ambassador“ for her work.

Brenda Nicodemus (US)
Dr. Brenda Nicodemus is Associate Professor and Director of Interpretation and Translation Research Center at Gallaudet University. She holds a PhD in Educational Linguistics from the University of New Mexico. Her areas of research include translation asymmetry in bimodal bilinguals, healthcare interpreting, and ASL prosodic markers. Publications include Prosodic Markers and Utterance Boundaries in American Sign Language Interpreting (Gallaudet University Press, 2009), and co-edited volumes Advances in Interpreting Research (Benjamins, 2011) and Investigations in Healthcare Interpreting (Gallaudet University Press, forthcoming).

Beppie van den Bogaerde (NL)
Beppie van den Bogaerde is a sign linguist and English-Dutch translator/interpreter. She is chair of the Research Unit Deaf Studies at Hogeschool Utrecht UAS and professor of Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT) at University of Amsterdam. She stood at the basis of the bachelor and master programs for interpreters and teachers of NGT in Utrecht. Her main interests are in first and second sign language acquisition, especially bimodal bilingualism and SL2 (sign language as a foreign language). She has been one of the driving forces behind the Common European Framework of Reference for Signed Languages that appeared in Dutch in 2013. The CEFR4SL forms the framework for sign language pedagogy, as well as for NGT assessment in the HU educational programs. Research focuses on translation issues, language levels of signed materials offered to students, for teaching purposes and for assessment and on path of NGT acquisition in adult hearing learners.

Myriam Vermeerbergen (BE)
Myriam Vermeerbergen is a sign linguist and a sign language interpreter trainer in Flanders, Belgium. She works at the KU Leuven, Faculty of Arts in Antwerp, where she teaches courses on general sign linguistics, the linguistics of Flemish Sign Language and Flemish Sign Language interpreting. Her research interests include different aspects of sign language interpreting, the grammar of Flemish Sign Language, cross-linguistic work on signed languages, and the comparison of (aspects of) signed languages and other forms of gestural communication (including co-speech gesture). Myriam has also been involved in sociolinguistic and lexicographical projects related to Flemish Sign Language. She is co-founder and former president of the ‘Vlaams GebarentaalCentrum’ and a member of the Advisory Board on Flemish Sign Language.

Rachel Mapson (UK)
Rachel Mapson is a UK-based interpreter and a member of ASLI. She has 20 years of interpreting experience. Rachel initially trained as an interpreter at the University of Bristol and then worked in London for ten years before moving to Edinburgh. She currently works on a self-employed basis in a wide range of domains, including medical settings, social work, higher education and conferences. Rachel commenced part-time study for a PhD in 2010 through the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol. Her research focuses on the interpretation of linguistic politeness between British Sign Language and English.

Rafaela Cota Silva (PT)
Rafaela Cota Silva has a Degree on Portuguese Sign Language Interpretation and a Master on Alternative Communication and Supporting Technologies with a thesis about SignWriting. Right now is attending a Master on Accessible Communication. Works as a Portuguese sign language interpreter at Higher School of Education at Coimbra, Portugal. Is one of the interpreters of the Fátima Sanctuary and is a member of interpreters team of Portuguese Federation of Deaf Associations which work at court in collaboration with Justice Department. Since 2011 has been doing interpretation in live performances, mainly concerts. She’s a board member of the National Association of Sign Language Interpreters.