Biomechanical analysis of upper extremity risk in Sign Language Interpreting

Año: 1991
Editorial: Journal of occupational rehabilitation, Vol. 1, nº 3 (1991) pp. 217-225
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Traducción e Interpretación


Upper extremity cumulative trauma distorders (UECTD) have been identified as an occupational health problem in professional Sign Language Interpreters (SLI). A previous study of UECTD in SLI has indicated significant differences between interpreters working with pain and those working without pain. This earlier research focused on gross measures of hand/wrist movement, work/rest cycles, and deviations from an optimal work envelope. The present paper describes a detailed biomechanical analysis of wrist and forearm activity associated with SLI. This assessment included forearm (flexion and extension) and wrist (flexion/extension and radial/ulnar deviation) measures of movement frequency, counts of individual motion, joint movement velocities and accelerations as well as range of motion. The analyses revealed that the postures required for interpreting result in the signing hand frequently held in a fully pronated position, with the palm facing out. The wrist was most frequently in an ulnar deviation and/or extension while the elbow was flexed more than 90° and held in close to the body with the fingers pointing up. The frequency of motions for the forearm and wrist were observed to be 270 per minute (4.5 Hz), which is equivalent to 13,600 per 50 minute lecture hour. The mean absolute joint movement velocity and acceleration values were relatively high in contrast to industrial jobs with wrist and forearm accelerations between 34,754 degreees/sec(2) and 36,046 degrees/sec(2), respectively. The findings from this biomechanical analysis indicates that SLI can involve highly repetitive, awkward movements with significant accelerations of the hand and wrist. Such job characteristics may predispose interpreters to upper extremity CTD-related disorders.