Cross language research typically ignores the role the translator and translation play in the research process. This paper adds to the literature by examining some of the challenges experienced during the translation and interpretation aspect of research. This autoethnography explores the positionality of a non-native user of American Sign Language who conducted research with native American Sign Language users. Findings indicate that translation and interpretation in research is not simply a matter of rote process and deserves more attention as an integral aspect of cross-language research.


Deaf, Bilingual Research, Cross Language Research, Interpreter, Translator, Sign Language, Interpreting, Autoethnography

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Serena Johnson is an assistant professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Baylor University, master’s degree in ESL and Literacy Education from Southern Methodist University, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of North Texas. Johnson is an educator committed to eliminating barriers for d/Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Over the years, she has served the Deaf community in several capacities, including as a community American Sign Language interpreter, as a Deaf and hard of hearing educational consultant, and as Director of Education at a non-profit benefiting Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Johnson’s research interests include college access and success for d/Deaf students in higher education in general, d/Deaf students in community college in particular, and English as a Second Language students in higher education. Please direct correspondence to serenaj@csufresno.edu.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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