Hearing people perceiving deaf people through sign language interpreters at work: on the loss of self through interpreted communication
This article addresses the impact on occupational relations of mediated communication through a sign language interpreter from the perspective of hearing people who do not sign but who work alongside deaf signers in the workplace. Based on a phenomenological analysis of eight semi-structured interviews, findings address the influence of phonocentrism on working practice between deaf and hearing people. In particular, the implications of the inscription of identity and presence through an embodied language are discussed. The consequences of failure to acknowledge the interpreter as a contingent practice for all, not just the deaf person, are examined. The findings have implications for the recognition and promotion of deaf agency and talent in the ‘hearing’ work place and extend understandings of structural influences on workplace discriminations to include those of interpreted communication.