Awakening Interpretation: Broadway Sets the Stage for Linguistic Equality

Kent, Stephanie Jo. Awakening Interpretation: Broadway Sets the Stage for Linguistic Equality. Street Leverage, June 2016. Reprinted in Auslan Stage Left, June 2016.

Stephanie Jo Kent explores how Deaf West Theatre’s ground-breaking production of Spring Awakening cast a spotlight on the challenges and possibilities of sign language interpretation.

Sign Language Interpreting’s Long Adolescence

Kent, Stephanie Jo. Sign Language Interpreting’s Long Adolescence. Street Leverage, December 2015.

The field of sign language interpreting has the opportunity to leave organizational adolescence behind. By connecting their emotions to the challenging tasks ahead, interpreters can foster growth and move the field to the next level.

Using Interpreters for Intercultural Communication

UmassAmherst Com397CE: Using Interpreters for Intercultural Communication and Other Purposes is a 3-credit Communication course, open enrollment, taught fully online by Stephanie Jo Kent, CI, PhD in Spring 2016. Spring classes at UMassAmherst run January 19 – April 27. Learn how to register for classes and ENROLL NOW!

Homolingualism and the Interaction Taboo: Simultaneous Interpreting in the European Public Sphere

Kent, Stephanie Jo. (2012). Homolingualism and the Interaction Taboo: Simultaneous Interpreting in the European Public Sphere. In The European Public Sphere –  From critical thinking to responsible action. Luciano Morganti and Léonce Bekemans (Eds.)  in the “Multiple Europes” series from P.I.E Peter Lang S.A. Editions scientifiques internationales, Brussels.

This case study presents conference-style simultaneous interpretation in the European Parliament as a dynamic microcosm for communicating Europe. In the enlarged EP, the regime of controlled multilingualism has been challenged by an emergent pluralingualism in which Members use multiple and mixed languages in addition to the services of simultaneous interpreters. This marks a temporal and paradigmatic shift in the larger game of languages in the European public sphere. First, ritual effects of jockeying for voice through the use of pluralingual communication skills establishes co-identification among the Members while also revealing the power of simultaneous interpretation (SI) to alleviate status inequality by leveling linguistic difference. Second, discourses of and about SI, language policy, and communication policy participate in an interaction taboo by overemphasizing information and technology. This reduces communication to one dimension—the transmission of information in space—by minimizing the relationship and identity effects of communication in the unfolding of time. This artificial separation of information from the social interaction of human beings is also evident in strategic planning about communicating Europe. The findings suggest that institutional inertia in communicating Europe can be altered by making SI a common resource for the pluralingual development of everyone who lives in the European Union.

 See the poster from the conference presentation: Beyond Homolingualism [pdf] and the original abstract.

Introduction to Communication Theory for Simultaneous Interpreters

iCORE innovative & creative opportunities for research and education
Conference of Interpreter Trainers Annual Conference, Pre-Conference Workshop
17 October 2012

Simultaneous interpretation is co-constructed activity with consequences for human society in the dimensions of culture (time) and equality (control). This workshop explores the possibilities and limits of paradigm shift from information-based to relationship-centered professional practices of interpreting, using a combination of critical lecture and experiential conversation.

For more information, see the iCore pre-conference schedule description.

Social Justice in Education Initiative: Let’s dream of an approach to social justice that enables students and teachers to bring their multiple selves to learning

with Evangelina Holvino and James Cumming of Chaos Management, LTD

Expanding Conversations about Social Justice in Education: Exploring Possibilities and Tensions
2nd Forum of the Social Justice in Education Initiative
University of Massachusetts Amherst
April 20, 2012

Our poster presents a summary of our thinking applying the concept of simultaneity to help students and teachers bring their multiple selves to enhance the learning task. Holvino’s theory of simultaneity (2010) views identities as multiple, interacting and continuously shaped by the simultaneous organizational and societal processes of race, gender, class, sexuality, ethnicity and nation, among other social differences.

Having multiple selves means learning how to accept the resulting ambiguities and contradictions in learning together. It means that interactions are frequently marked by something we call “problematic moments.” These are rich sites for understanding how people are impeded or enabled to enact simultaneity. They are also moments when an intervention has the most potential for engaging justly with differences, changing the conversation and its outcomes. We will explore how to enhance such outcomes.

CIBER Business Language Conference

CIBER Business Language Conference: Building Bridges from Business Languages to Business Communities

UNC Center for International Business Education & Research and UNC-Chapel Hill
March 21-23, 2012

“ESL and Innovation” (Business Language Research and Teaching 2011 Award Presentation)

Feedback from the conference evaluations:

Dear Ms. Kent,

As you may know, the post-conference evaluation survey for the Business Language Conference includes a section where we ask people to tell us if there were any specific sessions they particularly liked. I hope you’ll be pleased to know that your presentation was one of the most often mentioned.

(via email, April 2, 2012)

Description: Executives and employees negotiate misunderstandings arising from thinking in different languages as well as having different levels of English fluency. Moments of repair and explanation after so-called ‘communication breakdowns’ or ‘odd’ or ‘funny-sounding’ instances of English usage can serve many functional uses within workgroups, providing the basis for valuing intercultural differences as an intra-organizational social norm and cultivating innovative thinking.

Dialogue in DUO: Future Change Through Language and Interaction

Dialogue Under Occupation VI
Beirut, Lebanon
May 2012

Blogentries (Dynamic Diagnosis):

  1. stumbling into spirit
  2. Presupposing Salmon: Ready DUO Players?
  3. Fantasia
  4. A Temporal Turn?

Proposal (Prelude):

Dialogue at the Dialogue Under Occupation conferences is contested territory. Participants in this workshop will analyze the language use and social interaction among a roundtable of participants from a previous DUO conference discussing the academic boycott of Israeli universities. Specifically, two “problematic moments” will be presented for collective analysis. Dr James Cumming theorizes, “Problematic moments are unlike other moments because they mark a brief point in time when the conditions of possibility for the group to have new, more productive and deeper conversations can be realized.”

For the purposes of this workshop, to dialogue is theorized as collectively changing the meanings of the past in order to collaboratively invoke new meanings for the future. The goal of re-visiting problematic moments is to proactively engage the question of re-calibration in the Bakhtinian sense of orienting to a chronotope. Can we learn how to generate alternative timespaces with revised identifications and altered relationships? Workshop participants will explore and evaluate the language use and interaction among roundtable participants from DUO IV, with an eye upon ourselves as human subjects contributing to the persistence or alteration of existing social realities.

Mini-Bakhtinian conference in education

Promises and Challenges of Dialogic Pedagogy

with James Cumming of Chaos Management LTD

School of Education, University of Delaware
March 26-April 2, 2011

Blog entries about the experience and our learnings:

  1. Is Dialogue Possible? posted 2 April 02012


We dream of a dialogic pedagogy practice that helps learners access and apply the total fabric of their multiple selves to the current situation and context when appropriate. In order to study how to do this, we would like to try actually doing dialogic pedagogy during the conference. Our focus is on learning about the impact of identity in heteroglossic interactions. Our project has three components:

1. Collecting and providing data on notable incidents of language use meaningful to our study by taking on the role of action researchers during the conference. The observations and data collection will focus on identifying challenging moments where identities surface as relevant in particular interactions.

2. Conducting a workshop (preferably in the middle of the conference) where the data we have gathered is analyzed by us and other conference participants in order to explore the transactional processes by which the social is collectively generated. Our workshop will be a setting for discovery and diagnosis of a potential shared chronotope of the conference membership. We will share two frameworks – Holvino’s simultaneity theory (2010) and Cumming & Holvino’s problematic moment approach (2003). We will take the lead in our role as action researchers and workshop attendees are invited to collaborate with us in a “fishbowl” type setting.

3. Contribute to a twitter stream (hashtag #bakhtin) and write a few blogposts in order to create a strand of meta-commentary about what conference participants are learning from and with each other while we are in the process of experiencing the conference together.

By bringing a backchannel into active use we immediately display the fact of heteroglossia and we can explore together, dialogically, what meanings, learnings and promises may be in the data. We will use Freire’s notion of dialogic pedagogy which involves developing the skills of recognizing and working with language as both a symbol of and a container for social realities (1970). In order to access the communicative resources embedded in their/our multiple social identities, learners need to:

  • Understand the impulse and resist the pressure to conform to one-dimensionality in our own and towards others’ identities. Amartya Sen calls this process “miniaturization” (2006). It refers to the ways in which we make our own and others’ complex and multiple identities singular and one-dimensional.
  • Become skillful at acknowledging and communicating our own matrix of identities as well as exploring and accepting others’ complex social identities.

Informed consent for participating in human subjects research will be provided to all conference participants.