Robert Skinner is a British Sign Language (BSL) and English interpreter practitioner with more than 20 years of experience. When working as an interpreter, Robert’s area of specialism includes interpreting in police settings, video-mediated interpreting, community settings, mental health settings, television (onscreen broadcast and production). Robert also works in academic settings where he is familiar subjects such as applied linguistics, language processing, social/cognitive psychology and statistics.
In 2007 Robert became involved with academic research where he undertook an Applied Linguistics Master degree at Birkbeck (University of London). For his thesis, Robert conducted a typological study of BSL number variation in the UK: What Counts? A Typological and Descriptive Analysis of BSL Number Variation. This research documented four distinct BSL number systems and several sub-categories and led to Robert’s employment as a researcher & in-house interpreter at the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL), University College London. During his time at DCAL Robert worked closely with Gabriella Vigliocco’s lab on a series of signed language processing studies investigating the effects of iconicity (the imagistic properties of sign), for more information click here. As an interpreter at DCAL Robert worked alongside deaf academics in neurology (the Deaf Brain project), language development (the BSL McArthur Bates CDI), sign linguistics and the BSL Corpus Project. In 2009, whilst at DCAL, Robert completed an MSc in Research Methods in Experimental Psychology. For his thesis, Robert developed a phonological decision paradigm where participants were required to identify upward or downward movements within BSL production: We Have Lift Off: Iconic effects with Up/Down Motion. This study contributes to the embodied theory of language processing, having found a facilitation effect when the upward/downward movement itself was iconic.
Between 2014 and 2016 Robert continued his work as a Research Associate at Heriot-Watt University. Here Robert contributed to three research projects: Insign, Justisigns and Translating the Deaf Self. Find Robert on Research Gate or Academia.
The Insign project looked at establishing a pan-European multi spoken/signed language video-interpreting and remote captioning service. The purpose of the platform was to enable Deaf and Hard of Hearing European Citizens to access the European Commission, European Union, European Parliament, European Courts of Human Rights and other European Institutions.
The Justisigns project was another pan-European project with the specific focus of investigating the provision of interpreting services within legal settings. The research team undertook a series of focus groups and interviews with various stakeholders and a detailed analysis of an actual police interview mediated by a signed language interpreter. For more information about JUSTISIGNS click here: http://www.justisigns.com
Translating the Deaf Self project funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council. The project seeks to understand the impact of mediation on the identities & experience of deaf people. Research includes: Focus Groups & Interviews with interpreters, (deaf) employees & (hearing) employers, parents of deaf children.