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Category Archives: ASL

Effectively Interpreting Content Areas Utilizing Academic ASL Strategies — Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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This is the nineteenth 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 was released in June by Gallaudet University Press.  In this chapter, co-authors, Chris Kurz, Kim Kurz and Raychelle Harris promote a Deaf-centered model of interpreting.

Currently, most deaf children are mainstreamed and receive their educational content through interpreters, not directly from teachers in their first language. The goal of this chapter is to help interpreters become more effective in presenting information in ways that Deaf children can really understand and learn academic material such as math, science, and history.

The co-authors’ work is based on empirical findings in brain research, academic ASL, and language acquisition.  One example from the research has shown that the brain seeks patterns and relationships in order to compartmentalize knowledge, thus making it easier to recall at a later time. They urge interpreters to tap into valuable resources in the Deaf community, such as Deaf mathematicians and scientists who have grown up using ASL, as well as Certified Deaf Interpreters and learn from them how to best present complex information in ASL.

 

On Resolving Cultural Conflicts and the Meaning of Deaf-centered Interpreting — Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

DEOnIbookpageThis is the seventeenth 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 was released in June by Gallaudet University Press.

Wyatte Hall makes the case that cultural conflicts are the basis of many of the problems between Deaf people and interpreters. While interpreters feel that they are following professional standards, Deaf people feel insulted that their cultural norms are being violated. For example, each group has a different perspective on the concept of “neutrality.” To Deaf people, neutrality means that an interpreter should work in a way that elevates the position of Deaf people to a level where they could truly function as equals to hearing people. But to most interpreters, neutrality means to treat both their Deaf and hearing consumers the same.

To improve the interpreting experience for Deaf people, Hall proposes that interpreting models need to evolve to a more on Deaf-centered approach. This model would address: feedback, pacing and partnership among other topics. His basic message is that interpreters should work WITH Deaf people, not FOR them.

 

 

Hey Listen, Mainstreamed Deaf Children Deserve More! – From Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

 

DEOnIbookpageThis is the fourteenth 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 was released in June by Gallaudet University Press.

Fallon Brizendine is a Deaf professional working to educate future interpreters. She expands on concerns raised by Amy June Rowley in our last blog post regarding placing novice interpreters in the pivotal role of working with Deaf children in mainstreamed schools. Whether they like it or not, without a critical mass of Deaf language models in their lives, the Deaf students will look to their interpreters as language models. This places a heavy responsibility on them.

However, Brizendine has some concrete ideas to remedy this situation. She suggests that interpreters be ready to take on this important role by visiting bilingual ASL/English classrooms and observing the bilingual teachers to see the manner in which they deliver lessons and interact with their students in ASL. She also puts responsibility on Deaf professionals who work in the educational field, such as herself, to connect with educational interpreters and offer them feedback and support.

Educational Interpreting from Deaf Eyes — from Deaf Eyes on Interpreting

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DEOnIbookpageThis is the thirteenth 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 was released in June by Gallaudet University Press.

In her chapter, Amy June Rowley explains why she refuses to subject her own Deaf children to interpreter-mediated education, based on her own personal experiences growing up in mainstreamed programs. In addition, she cites studies showing how Deaf students are being serviced by poorly qualified interpreters in many mainstreamed programs.

Rowley emphasizes several points: young Deaf students in mainstreamed settings are often isolated without full access to language, culture and social opportunities. Interpreters may be the only persons with  knowledge of Deaf culture and ASL, yet many interpreters do not have a clear understanding of the scope of their roles. In fact, Interpreter Training Programs often put their students in educational settings as internships, giving the message that this is an appropriate place in which to start their careers. Rowley disagrees and sees it as a place for experienced interpreters with many years of experience.

She recommends interpreters partner with members of the Deaf Community and educators of Deaf children to give Deaf children the best, most supported start.

 

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.

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.