Risa Shaw, Ph.D., is an educator, interpreter, consultant, presenter, researcher, and writer.

Risa is a Professor at Gallaudet University where she has been a full time faculty member since 2001, teaching as an adjunct prior to that. She taught in the Department of Interpretation from 2001-2013, and now teaches in the Linguistics Department. She has taught across the U.S. and in Canada since 1987. Risa has been interpreting since 1983, and continues to practice from the Washington, D.C. area. She has specialized in interpreting in legal settings since the early 1990’s.

Risa’s areas of expertise include teaching teachers and students of interpretation, critical pedagogy, fundamentals of translation and interpretation, consecutive interpretation, interpreting in legal settings, translation and interpretation skills courses, and research. She is frequently consulted on interpreting issues in legal cases. She continues her interpreting practice and holds the RID CSC, CI, and SC:L. Risa is a highly sought after teacher of interpreters and educators of interpretation and translation, consultant, and interpreter, nationally and internationally.

Risa’s research interests include research interests include interpreting in legal settings, the study of ASL and English narratives in disclosures stories, changes in narratives across contexts, meaning in context, tellings and retellings, trauma, and sibling sexual abuse. Her current research projects include 1) a survey of ASL-English interpreters legal settings across North America (with Dr. Len Roberson and Dr. Debra Russell), and 2) a study of interpreters’ decision-making strategies and recognition and use of power in legal interpreting settings by long time Deaf and non-deaf interpreters in Canada and the US (with Dr. Debra Russell).

Risa has co-authored several curricula, including the BA curriculum and the revised MA curriculum in Interpretation at Gallaudet University, and she contributed to the Ph.D. in Interpretation curriculum at Gallaudet University. She co-authored  a curriculum on interpreting in legal settings that continues to be used throughout the US. The curriculum on interpreting in legal settings includes a fundamentals course and several specific focus courses (Deaf/hearing teams working in legal settings; preparation in legal settings; role and ethics; the monitor role and monitoring interpretations; jury interpreting; law enforcement interpreting; and mock depositions and trials).

Risa is the editor of Not Child’s Play: An Anthology on Brother-Sister Incest, a powerful book of writings and art of first person accounts from women whose brothers sexually abused them. Her dissertation includes research on disclosure stories to family members by women about the fact that their brothers had sexually abused them, as well as sociolinguistic findings.

When Risa is not working she can be found playing in her gardens, playing soccer, cooking and baking, climbing trees, reading, doing political action work, or spending time with her friends, including being an auntie to the many wonderful young people in her life.

Ph.D. Union Institute & University, 2007 Interdisciplinary Studies with a Concentration in Sociolinguistics
M.S. Western Maryland College, 1991 Education: Teaching Interpretation
B.I.S George Mason University, 1987 Linguistics
A.A. Galluadet College, 1983 Interpreting


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