Few Black students graduate from signed language interpreting programs across the United States and even fewer continue practicing in the signed language interpreting field. Black Deaf consumers are often left with White interpreters who know little of Black cultural norms, and the complexity of cultural information is sometimes mishandled while messages are relayed (Shambourger, 2015). The longevity and numbers of Black interpreters in the field of signed language interpreting needs to increase, and Interpreter Training Programs should be trailblazers in this effort (West-Oyedele, 2015). In addition, many White interpreters in the field need to learn about the cultural norms, and linguistic features of Black Deaf and Black hearing consumers (Shambourger, 2015). Such learning could take place in cross-cultural mentoring relationships with Black interpreters. Black interpreters are already mentoring, but as the numbers of Black students entering the field grows, the need for seasoned interpreter mentors also grows. In some areas of the country, especially rural areas, there may be no experienced Black interpreters. Through conversations and interactions with Black mentees, White mentors could gain knowledge of Black cultural norms and linguistic features, thereby enhancing their interpreting for the Black Deaf and Black hearing communities they serve. At the same time, Black interpreters may be encouraged to continue in the interpreting field from cross-cultural relationships with White interpreters who support skills development and introduction to professional norms and to other interpreters. In this study the findings indicated that there is much ground to be covered before cross-cultural mentoring can become routine.

Exit Requirement


Date of Award

Winter 12-1-2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies

Committee Chair

Elisa Maroney

Committee Member

Amanda R. Smith

Committee Member

Leandra Williams


Cross-Cultural, Mentoring, Interpreter, Black, White, Deaf, Hearing, Education, Gap, Racism



Type (DCMI Terms)


Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Education

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