Stephanie Jo Kent

Stephanie Jo Kent, C.I., PhD, Visiting Lecturer, Framingham State University.  

I’ve been a practicing professional American Sign Language/English interpreter since 1996, with a Master’s in Social Justice Education and PhD in Communication, both from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (U.S.). I won a Fulbright for my dissertation research at the European Parliament and a Center for International Business Education and Research award for multilingual research in Bangalore, India (Kent and Kappen, in submission). I do transdisciplinary action research involving the simultaneity of identities and linguistic structures of interaction. 

Seminar One Provocation: What happens when the modality of sound is not shared, and only the sense of sight is common?  

Abstract: My research involves intercultural communication and ethics in interpreted interaction, a striking accompaniment to ETHER’s motivations. A presentation of my dissertation findings to the Interpret America conference in 2013, The Real Value of Interpreting, summarizes how skilful participation in interpreted interaction can provide human beings with transferable communication skills for encountering and engaging difference in resilient and socially just ways.  

This spring, undergraduate students under my supervision in a sign language interpreter education program in the United States will convene focus groups for Deaf and non-deaf “Hearing” academics to talk together about ethical intercultural communication within the constrained communication condition of not sharing the same language (pending IRB approval, in process). Unlike most interpreting research, the research gaze will be upon the dynamics of participant interaction rather than linguistics. The goal is to “produce knowledge about unfamiliar context-bound uses of language” with attention to social and cultural meanings of these uses, an approach known as cultural pragmatics (following Boromisza-Habashi 2020, p. xii). Generally, we will look for relational and phatic aspects of communication (moreso than explicit information transfer) to see what we can learn about communication skills that generate meaningful interactions. Specifically, we’ll watch for evidence of participant co-alignment with each other rather than with the interpreter(s).  

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