2017 Recipient

Name: Erin Poudrier

Institution: Ryerson University

E-mail:  erin.m.poudrier@gmail.com


Erin Poudrier is an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter and for over 15 years has worked in a variety of educational, community and medical contexts. Her work is underpinned with the belief that we all have the human and civic right to participate in meaningful ways. In her paper titled, ‘Precarious Terrain: Narratives of American Sign Language Interpreters’, Erin returned to her roots to uncover the experiences of interpreters that are situated in precarious working conditions. In June 2019, Erin is expected to complete her Masters of Professional Education in the field of teaching students with learning exceptionalities at the University of Western Ontario.

Paper title

Precarious Terrain: Narratives of American Sign Language Interpreters


Issues surrounding the retention rate for American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters is of critical importance in constructing a society that is based on the social model of disability and disability justice; whereby the Deaf community has the opportunities to not only access information, but more importantly to have opportunities to participate and contribute as a valuable citizens through meaningful interactions within social, political, economic and cultural contexts. This study incorporated both quantitative and qualitative methods: 48 interpreters responded to an online survey and three interpreters participated in interviews. The study facilitates the narration of how neoliberalism and capitalism penetrate and interact between personal experience and professional life. This interaction creates a ripple effect in human services that perpetuate the imbalance of power and the marginalization of people. With a deeper understanding of the lives of ASL interpreters, it is hoped that this study will spark discussion and collaboration towards strengthening the supports that interpreters may need.


disability, Deaf, sign language, interpreter training, precarious employment, neoliberalism