Signing Exact English Transliteration: Effects of Speaking Rate and Lag Time on Production Accuracy

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This paper is the third in a series concerned with the level of access provided to deaf and hard of hearing children who rely on interpreters to access classroom communication. The first two papers focused on the accuracy and intelligibility of educational interpreters who use Cued Speech (CS); this study examines the accuracy of those who use Signing Exact English (SEE). Accuracy, or the proportion of the message correctly produced by the interpreter, was evaluated in 12 SEE transliterators with varying degrees of experience at three different speaking rates (slow, normal, and fast). Results were similar to those previously reported for CS transliterators: (a) speaking rate had a large negative effect on accuracy, primarily due to increased frequency of omissions, (b) the effect of lag time on accuracy was also negative, but relatively small, accounting for just 8% of the variance, and (c) highly experienced transliterators were somewhat more accurate than transliterators with minimal experience, although experience alone did not guarantee accuracy. Lastly, like their CS counterparts, the overall accuracy of the 12 SEE transliterators, 42% on average, was low enough to raise serious concerns about the quality of transliteration services that (at least some) children receive in educational settings.

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The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, v. 24, issue 3, p. 234-244