Professional identity is a complex and multi-faceted concept that encompasses definitions pertaining to the professional identity of the collective, the professional identity of the individual practitioner, and the process of developing a professional identity. Individuals start with a fundamental concept of self and then layer on a variety of identities, including a professional identity, thereby forming the answer to the question: who are you? Utilizing the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) directories and online social media resources to survey interpreters, this study attempts to explore the professional identity for ASL/English interpreters. In order to explore the collective identity of ASL/English interpreters, the Professional Identity Scale in Counseling developed by Woo (2013) was adapted to fit the interpreting profession. This adapted scale is an instrument intended to measure the professional identity of ASL/English interpreters. Survey participants also took the Campbell et al. (1996) Self-Concept Clarity scale to assess the individual interpreter professional identity and impact of self-concept clarity on professional identity. Finally, survey participants answered optional open-ended questions to evaluate the process of professional identity development for ASL/English interpreters. The mixed-methods approach allowed this research study to begin the exploration of the broad and intricate topic, and the resulting data is a foundation for future research. While credentials alone may not hold the key to understanding the professional identity of ASL/English interpreters, the experiences of the collective profession and individual professionals present a glimpse into the possible connections between professional identity, self-concept clarity, professional confidence, and ultimately, professional competence.

Exit Requirement


Date of Award

Spring 6-14-2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies

Committee Chair

Vicki Darden

Committee Member

Erin Trine

Committee Member

Ruhama Freeman


professional identity, self-concept clarity, ASL/English interpreters



Type (DCMI Terms)


Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Educational Leadership | Educational Psychology | Leadership Studies | Other Education | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Psychology | Sociology | Teacher Education and Professional Development

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Additional Files

Nicole Harwood Thesis.pdf (2663 kB)



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