Interpreting in legal settings is a complex task in which multifaceted factors such as the setting, individuals involved, roles of those participating individuals, expanded ethical considerations, and the language of the legal system require specialization from the interpreter practitioner (Berk-Seligson, 2002; Mathers, 2007; Russell, 2000; Simon, 1993). There are many texts, workshops, and resources that promote best practices; however, only one study has been done related to the demographics of the interpreters who do legal interpreting work and their use of proposed best practices in the legal setting (Roberson, Russell, & Shaw, 2011). This research is designed to collect information about who is currently doing the work of legal interpreting and discover what their daily practice entails. An online survey was designed and disseminated to current signed language interpreters working in legal settings to ascertain demographic information and the frequency of certain circumstances arising in the course of their work. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis, this research discusses the demographics of the practitioners, including education, training, and background, as well explores inconsistencies in the way best practices are applied in daily practice, specifically conflicts and disclosures, interpreter roles, and the definition of legal interpreting. The results of this study provide a glimpse of the legal interpreting specialization as it currently stands and potential implications for future practice and study.

Exit Requirement


Date of Award

Spring 4-26-2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies

Committee Chair

Amanda R. Smith

Committee Member

Amber D. Farrelly, Esq.

Committee Member

Amber Deets


American Sign Language, legal, interpreting, conflicts, disclosures, roles, current practices



Type (DCMI Terms)


Subject Categories

Education | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures

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