Honors Senior Theses/Projects

Date of Award


Faculty Advisor

Vicki Darden


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires medical facilities to provide auxiliary aids, including interpreters, to all patients who need them to ensure that they have the same level of access to effective communication as those without disabilities (National Association of the Deaf [NAD], n.d.). However, without a national certification for signed language interpreters who work in healthcare settings, that law is hardly enforced, which is problematic. Multiple communication breakdowns have resulted from: family members and friends taking on the role of an interpreter; an interpreter not being provided; medical facilities hiring unqualified interpreters; and controversial use of video remote interpreting (VRI). These negative experiences have also led to many Deaf people being less inclined to seek medical care and routine appointments. Ultimately, the lack of access to qualified interpreters has affected the general health of the Deaf community. The goal of this thesis will be to examine the need for a national medical specialization certification for signed language interpreters. The research and findings are presented as a meta-synthesis of the existing literature on the topic. The thesis will also provide suggestions for how that certification could be implemented, and the training programs necessary to equip interpreters for the specialization certification.