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Abstract

This study examines the language and communication dynamics at national conferences of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). RID conferences typically have thousands of attendees who vary in language background, type of linguistic experiences, and fluency. Data in this study were gathered through an online survey and, among other topics, included questions about behaviors, choices and perceptions of communication in structured and unstructured conference activities and language regulation at conferences. Findings indicate the majority of participants reported the perception that spoken English is used more prevalently than American Sign Language (ASL) at RID conferences. Further, 80% of respondents support the use of ASL during unstructured conference time. Slightly more than half of the respondents favored establishing a policy for language use at RID conferences. This empirical study was designed to examine language use at RID national conferences with the aim of offering insights into the linguistic perceptions and decision-making processes in a bilingual conference environment. Results may serve to guide organizations and conference planners on the development of language policy as well as increase awareness of stakeholders in the ASL-English interpreting community.

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