In the 1960s and 1970s, a cultural shift began in the interpreting and Deaf communities of America. According to Cokely (2011), the Deaf community, who once had control over the selection, vetting, and training of ad hoc interpreters, were replaced as societal gatekeepers by institutions of higher learning.

This transition has presented systemic issues in signed language interpreter education. Many fundamental aspects of interpreter education have yet to be researched or standardized (Witter-Merithew, 2004). Interpreter Education Programs (IEPs) have struggled to effectively train interpreters for work as professionals, as evidenced by a decades-old graduation-to-certification gap (Cogen & Cokely, 2015).

This research examines simulation and role-play as a possible solution to effectively train future interpreters. These activities provide exposure to authentic settings, real-world practice, and experiences that cannot be learned by observation or interpreting from a video source. The path is also then paved for the Deaf community to resume their traditional role in interpreter education. Despite the perceived efficacy of simulation and role-play as an educational technique, there has been very little research on these activities in IEPs.

Signed language interpreters and interpreter educators nationwide were surveyed about their use of simulation and role-play, their experience learning through simulation and role-play, and the effect these activities had on their growth as a professional interpreter. Responses to the survey illustrate the authenticity of current usage practices, as well as the barriers that educators face in designing and implementing these types of activities.

Exit Requirement


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies


Deaf Studies/Professional Studies

Committee Chair

Amanda Smithh

Committee Member

Elisa Maroney

Committee Member

Sarah Hewlett


experiential learning, role-play, simulation, signed language interpreter, education, authenticity



Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction