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A Social Justice Framework for Interpreting — From Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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This is the eleventh installment featuring highlights from the 20 chapters in the new book, Deaf Eyes on Interpreting, edited by Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith, which was recently released by Gallaudet University Press.

This chapter continues to explore the theme of interpreting issues related to Deaf academics. In their chapter, “Case Studies of International Conferences: A Social Justice Framework for Interpreting,” co-authors Patrick Boudreault and Genie Gertz provide an analysis of events that transpired at two international conferences. At both conferences, the Deaf people in attendance were frustrated with their limited access to participate in the conference proceedings. Because of this, they prepared formal documents outlining their concerns with the goal of identifying problem areas and solutions for increasing equality and access in future conference spaces. Using the social justice framework, Patrick and Genie examine these two documents with a focus on how interpreters can work closely together with Deaf people to ensure equality in multilingual spaces. They discuss the role and position of the interpreter, dynamics and power structures, and provide an action plan for getting interpreters to adopt a social justice framework.

Through the Eyes of Deaf Academics: Interpreting in the Context of Higher Education — From Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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DEOnIbookpageThis is the tenth installment featuring highlights from the 20 chapters in the new book, Deaf Eyes on Interpreting, edited by Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith, which was recently released by Gallaudet University Press.

Shifting the focus from the experiences of Deaf college students to Deaf professors, co-authors Dave Smith and Paul Ogden provide a close look at the expectations college faculty members have for their interpreters in order for them to successfully navigate the academic environment.

In this video clip, Dave Smith mentions several requirements for interpreting for Deaf professors in this environment where the focus is on supporting Deaf faculty members. Interpreters must possess an understanding of the wider context of higher education, including the specifics of the tenure and promotion process, the importance of collegiality, the critical need for appropriate register in voice interpretations, a feeling of trust between the professor and interpreter and even the vital role of the interpreter in picking up and relaying incidental information and office politics.

 

Higher Education: Higher Expectations and More Complex Roles for Interpreters — From Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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This is the ninth weekly installment featuring highlights from the 20 chapters in the new book, Deaf Eyes on Interpreting, edited by Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith, which is scheduled to be released in June by Gallaudet University Press.

As an attorney, Tawny Holmes shares her perspective on legal issues related to access for Deaf college students in her chapter, “Higher Education: Higher Expectations and More Complex Roles for Interpreters.” Her goal is to empower future Deaf college students to thoroughly understand their legal rights so that they may receive appropriate services to support their education.

She discusses ways that students can self-advocate regarding the interpreters they will use to access their education. For example, she comments that even though it is nice to have a “certified” interpreter, it is better to have one who is well-versed in the major area of study. She recounts her own experience in law school, where the interpreters were not familiar with the legal terminology used in her classes. So she had to spend extra time preparing the interpreters in terms of vocabulary and sign choice.

 

Harnessing Social Media as a Tool of Empowerment and Change — in Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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DEOnIbookpageThis is the eighth weekly installment featuring highlights from the 20 chapters in the new book, Deaf Eyes on Interpreting, edited by Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith, which is scheduled to be released in June by Gallaudet University Press.

As Leala Holcomb discusses in the clip above, although information sharing has always been an important feature of Deaf Culture, it is no longer restricted to in-person discussions at Deaf clubs or schools. The emergence of social media has created an important source of support and information that can counteract widespread negative messages and encourage shared strategies for overcoming discriminatory barriers.

As the only doctoral student in a university setting, Holcomb gives the example of a common discriminatory practice, the dreaded two-week advance notice requirement that prevents Deaf students from participating in impromptu meetings arranged by their professors. This advance notice requirement is illegal as this two-week advance notice requirement for such meetings is not expected of any other students on campus. Leala also challenges interpreters to be more aware of unconscious oppressive behavior on their part and the policies imposed by the Disabled Student offices and urges them to learn directly from Deaf people’s experiences by following them on social media.

 

Whose Reputation is at Stake? — From Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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DEOnIbookpageThis is the seventh weekly installment featuring highlights from the 20 chapters in the new book, Deaf Eyes on Interpreting, edited by Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith, which is scheduled to be released in June by Gallaudet University Press. This chapter, “Whose Reputation is at Stake?” was co-written by Tara Holcomb and Aracelia Aguilar.

As  Tara Holcomb describes in the video clip, this chapter stems from experiences that the two women had while attending a large professional training with participants from all over the country. Holcomb and Aguilar experienced frustration while trying to participate fully in this conference when they realized that they and the local interpreters hired to work with them had very different ideas about what constituted appropriate behavior. They explain the steps they took to take back the control of the situation so that they could present themselves as capable Deaf professionals that they are.

 

 

 

 

 

ASL Head Movements: Critical Features in Interpretation — From Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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DEOnIbookpageThis is the sixth weekly installment featuring highlights from the 20 chapters in the new book, Deaf Eyes on Interpreting, edited by Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith which is scheduled to be released in June by Gallaudet University Press. This chapter, “ASL Head Movements: Critical Features in Interpretation,” was co- written by Keith Cagle, Sharon Lott, and Phyllis Wilcox.

Can a simple nod or shake of the head contribute to misunderstanding of interpreted messages? Yes! As Sharon Lott explains in the video clip above, head movements are an essential prosodic feature of ASL, but ASL curricula typically do not devote much attention to their study.  The authors contend that interpreters need to understand the different roles and functions of head movements in ASL in order to do their work effectively. Otherwise, Deaf people will continue to be confused by their interpreted messages.

 

The Heart of Interpreting from Deaf Perspectives — From Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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DEOnIbookpageThis is the fifth weekly installment featuring highlights from the 20 chapters in the new book, Deaf Eyes on Interpreting, edited by Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith which is scheduled to be released in June by Gallaudet University Press. This chapter, “The Heart of Interpreting from Deaf Perspectives” was written by Kim Kurz and Joseph Hill.

In the video above, Kim Kurz describes the motivation for conducting research with Deaf Professionals to discover their expectations and concerns regarding interpreters. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, they interviewed 10 Deaf professionals to identify what they would consider as “the heart of interpreting.” After analyzing their data, they found some common themes and concerns. These include:

1) A lack of bilingual skills (English and ASL) among interpreters  2) A less than effective use of fingerspelling to support the Deaf professionals  3) Skill in employing the elements of depiction in ASL, such as the use of space, classifiers, constructed action, and role shifting were found to be sorely lacking among many interpreters. These areas of concern, the authors feel, may be due to changes in the formation of interpreters from traditional cultural immersion to more emphasis on academic settings.

Providing ASL Interpreters in College Classes Does Not Ensure Equity —— From Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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DEOnIbookpageThis is the 4th weekly installment from the 20 chapters in the new book, Deaf Eyes on Interpreting, edited by Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith, which is scheduled to be released in June by Gallaudet University Press. This chapter, American Sign Language Interpreting in a Mainstreamed College Setting: Performance Quality and Its Impact on Classroom Participation Equity, has three co-authors John Pirone, Jonathan Henner, and Wyatte C. Hall.

As John Pirone describes in the video clip above, their research shows it is an illusion to think that providing an ASL  interpreter in mainstreamed college classes provides equity for the Deaf students. He enumerates several areas of concern regarding interpreters’ skills and actions, including lack of ASL fluency, less than adequate ASL receptive skills, intercultural incompetency and lack of professionalism. In the full chapter,  the co-authors propose solutions to this troubling state of affairs for Deaf students in interpreted college classrooms.

Accountability and Transparency: The Missing Link in Ensuring Quality from Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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This is the third weekly installment featuring highlights from the 20 chapters in the new book, Deaf Eyes on Interpreting, DEOnIbookpageedited by Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith, which is scheduled to be released in June by Gallaudet University Press. This chapter, entitled Accountability and Transparency: The Missing Link in Ensuring Quality in Interpreting, has three co-authors: Chad Taylor, Ryan Shephard, and Justin “Bucky” Buckhold.

It focuses on how the new “professional” relationship between agencies, interpreters and Deaf consumers has resulted in a lack of accountability and transparency. Interpreting agencies assign interpreters to jobs without much attention to quality. Interpreters accept jobs without any accountability for their work. These facts have resulted in less than satisfactory experiences for many Deaf people involved in interpreted sessions. Expert interpreters are often embarrassed by the unprofessional, subpar work of their poorly qualified peers. The authors argue that both interpreters and interpreting agencies must be held accountable for their work and that increased transparency is long overdue for this profession. Chad Taylor, in the video clip above, suggests that using crowdsourcing reviews can return to Deaf people the decision making power and control they deserve when it comes to hiring interpreters, instead of just having to accept “a roll of the dice.”.

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Deaf Dream Team: The DEAM Approach from Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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DEOnIbookpageThis is the second weekly installment featuring highlights from the 20 chapters in the new book, Deaf Eyes on Interpreting, edited by Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith which is scheduled to be released in June by Gallaudet University Press.

In this chapter, Thomas K. Holcomb coins a new term, DEAM, which is a play on three English words: Deaf, Dream, and Team. He discusses how both interpreters and Deaf individuals often leave interpreted sessions feeling less than satisfied, even with the best interpreters involved. He proposes that the current standard practice is not adequate for Deaf people to fully understand the interpreted message and participate well in mostly hearing groups and suggests several ASL discourse techniques that interpreters can incorporate while interpreting lectures by hearing presenters.   He also questions several long traditions in the field of interpreting, such as the 20-minute switch rule. Tom encourages both Deaf people and interpreters to explore these issues in depth to come up with solutions that will result in better experiences for both Deaf people and interpreters.