The Finnish Association for Applied Linguistics (AFinLA) has granted the annual award for a timely and topical Master’s thesis conducted in Finland within the field of applied linguistics during the previous academic year (August 2016 – July 2017).
This year the Afinlandia award has been awarded to Minttu Laine, University of Jyväskylä, Department of Language and Communication Studies, applied linguistics, for her Master’s thesis titled ”Viittomakielentulkin katsekontakti asioimistulkkauksen siirtymätilanteissa: multimodaalinen näkökulma” (Sign language interpreter’s eye contact during transitions in community interpreting: a multimodal study). In the thesis Laine applies linguistic methods to a contemporary context of language use, and addresses a topic that has thus far remained rather marginal. In its assessment, the awarding committee saw the thesis as timely, innovative and with a strong social relevance.
In her Master’s thesis, Laine examines the actions of the interpreter, the collaboration between the participants, and the various ways in which the interpreter coordinates the interaction between the participants at scheduled appointments at the child welfare clinic. Previous accounts of sign language interpreting have found that moving and simultaneously interpreting is challenging. Laine has shown that interpreting in sign language in these types of contexts can be successfully carried out when the interpreter has a good command of the conversational norms of sign language interaction and is able to contribute to the creation of visually oriented interactional space. The results of the study are directly applicable to sign language interpreter training.
AFinLA grants an award in the Master’s thesis series annually, and every three years in both the Master’s and Doctoral or Licentiate’s dissertation series. In 2017, the Afinlandia award was awarded in the Master’s thesis series. The many theses which were nominated for the award represented various fields of applied linguistics and multiple Finnish universities. The recipient of the award was announced on November 10, 2017, at the AFinLA autumn symposium, organized this year by the University of Turku.
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