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


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.


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.