Keynote Speakers

Maya De Wit

London Corporate Photography


 Maya de Wit is a sign language interpreter and consultant. She interprets between Dutch, English, German, Dutch Sign Language (NGT), American Sign Language (ASL), and International Sign (IS). She is the coordinator of the Sign Language Network of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC). Maya also conducts workshops and seminars on sign language user rights, cooperation between interpreters and consumers, conference sign language interpreting techniques, and requirements for specific settings such as TV interpreting. From 2006 till September 2012, Maya was president of the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters (efsli). Maya was also a board member of European Legal Interpreters and Translators Association (EULITA). Since 2018, Maya has been conducting PhD research at Radboud University, focusing on interpreting to and from International Sign in conference settings. 


 Sign language interpreting: best practices for remote teaming

 Most sign language interpreters have been trained to work in a team of interpreters. The interpreters’ teaming knowledge and skills are mostly based on interpreting in on-site situations. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the sign language interpreting profession in Europe. At the height of the crisis, work changed from being a typical on-site activity to remote interpretation only. As a result, many interpreters were forced to work from home, alone, which was challenging but also brought opportunities. This shift required interpreters to quickly adapt and find new ways of cooperating in a team.  

Providing remote interpretation in a team, as opposed to working on site, requires interpreters to add new skills. This interactive presentation will give a range of best practices and team strategies for sign language interpreters who work remotely. We will discuss examples based on authentic situations and participants are invited to share their experiences and questions. Participants will also receive practical tips and tools that they can directly apply in their work.

Professor Alys Young


Professor Alys Young PhD FAcSS, is a social scientist who for the past 30 years has specialised in applied health and social care research specifically concerning deaf people across the lifecourse.  She has led numerous multi-site research studies focussing on health and wellbeing, the organisation, delivery and reform of services to promote equality(ies), and innovative research methodologies.  

She leads the SORD (Social Research with Deaf People) group at the University of Manchester in the UK which is a sign bilingual team of deaf and hearing applied social scientists and is Professor of Social Work and Senior Fellow of the NIHR School for Social Care Research at the University of Manchester, and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.  

In recent years she has become particularly interested in the impact of professional behaviours and interactions on personal wellbeing, individual agency, and the (re)production of structural inequalities within service delivery.  This interest extends to sign language interpreters as actors in resilience- enabling change processes.   

You can read the abstract here of Alys’s article:

Dr Robert Skinner


Dr Robert Skinner is a lecturer and research assistant based in the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies (LINCS) at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. In 2014 Robert joined the LINCs team working on the Insign project, Justisigns, Translating the Deaf Self and the SLTI UK census. In 2020 Robert completed his PhD at Heriot-Watt University investigating at video-mediated interpreting in frontline policing contexts. Robert is a Fellow of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters UK and an experienced BSL/ENG/IS interpreter practitioner of 23 years. His areas of expertise include mental health interpreting, television production interpreting, in-vision public service interpreting (such as news and political broadcast).



In 2021 a UK sign language translator and interpreter (SLTI) census was administered to establish a baseline description of the UK’s SLTI workforce. The census was commissioned by the Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) UK and carried out by Heriot-Watt University in collaboration with University of Wolverhampton and University of the South West of Scotland. The impetus for the census was in response to public demands to better understand “how diverse is the profession” and pathways for reform, in terms of recruitment and training needs. As the first snapshot, this census functions as a baseline for future comparison and can be modified and improved through open dialogue with the profession and community groups. The presentation will cover four key themes (i) key findings from census; (ii) challenges with designing and disseminating a census; (iii) lessons learned; and (iv) the census recommendations. 


Maartje De Meulder

Maartje De Meulder is a senior researcher at HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on language and communication from applied language studies and Deaf Studies perspectives. Her research interests are in sign language policy and planning, sign language technologies, family language policy, sign language interpreting studies and discourses around inclusive education. 

Maartje has co-edited two edited volumes, Innovations in Deaf Studies (2017, Oxford University Press) and The Legal Recognition of Sign Languages (2019, Multilingual Matters) and published in a range of different journals. Her academic work is informed by her position as an engaged scholar. She is editor-in-chief of Acadeafic, a deaf-curated multi-author academic platform that aims for Deaf Studies and sign language researchers to share their work in a bite-sized format. She is also active on Twitter as @mdemeulder.

Hilde Haualand

Hilde Haualand is a social anthropologist and a professor at the Department of International Studies and Interpreting at OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University. She is a teacher and researcher in deaf studies, sign language interpreting as a profession and as a social institution, and language ideologies. She has been a guest researcher at Gallaudet University and has researched the politics and ideologies behind video interpreting services. Currently, she is the chair of the committee that will make a Norwegian Official Report on sign language. She has also co-edited the book “Tolking – språkarbeid og profesjonsutøvelse” (Interpreting – Language work and professional practice (2018, Gyldendal Akademisk) Her Twitter handle is @hildemh 

Maartje and Hilde are currently guest editors with Jemina Napier for a special issue of Translation and Interpreting Studies: Deconstructing sign language interpreting as a social institution: Politics, ethics and ideologies.


This presentation rethinks the impact of sign language interpreting services (SLIS) as a social institution. It starts from the observation that sign language interpreting services (SLIS) have become tied with ideologies of ‘access’ and ‘inclusion’ for deaf people (De Meulder & Haualand 2021). The often uncritically proposed and largely accepted solution at the institutional level to lack of access seems to be increasing the number of interpreters. Using documented examples from education and health care settings, we raise concerns that arise when SLIS become a prerequisite for public service provision. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, there has also been a rapid increase in the presence of sign language interpreters at public briefings, but few governments have made an effort to provide public information in sign language outside these interpreted briefings. In the presentation, we will discuss if or how the current ideologies surrounding SLIS contributes to replacing or concealing the need for language-concordant education and public services, and if the right to sign language is confined to interpretations of spoken language provided by mostly hearing second language users of sign language. Like any social institution, SLIS should be studied and analyzed critically. This includes more scrutiny about how different kinds of “accesses” can be implemented without SLIS, and more awareness of the contextual languaging choices deaf people make beyond the use of interpreters.


De Meulder, M., & Haualand, H. (2021). Sign language interpreting services: A quick fix for inclusion? Translation and Interpreting Studies. The Journal of the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association, 16(1), 19-40.  doi: