StreetLeverage-Live: A Water Cooler Upgrade for Sign Language Interpreters

September 6, 2012

Water Cooler in the Sign Language Interpreting ProfessionAs most sign language interpreters will readily admit, much of the meaningful dialogue they have on the developments within the field occur at the water coolers of the profession—“small talk” sessions with a colleague.

If you are reading this post, you are likely aware, that it is the plight of StreetLeverage to offer interpreters a platform to elevate these conversations into the broader consciousness of the industry.

Underneath the Imperfection

This isn’t news to anyone, but the work occurring with StreetLeverage to amplify these conversations isn’t a perfect work. If you look, not particularly hard, you will find typos, incorrectly sized images, grammatical mistakes, questionable video quality and the like.

Having said that, if you look beyond the platform and it’s imperfection you will find something special; the authentic desire sign language interpreters have to share and genuinely dialogue to the betterment of their field.

This desire leads people to give freely of their time to write articles and initiate and enrich discussions by adding perspective and experience.

These contributions are remarkable.

StreetLeverage – Live

In an effort to honor this authentic desire and extend the platform available to interpreters to dialogue on topics and ideas relevant to the field, I am please to announce the second phase of StreetLeverage, StreetLeverage – Live.

StreetLeverage – Live is a thought leadership event designed to bring together industry visionaries, leaders, educators, entrepreneurs and practitioners to share ideas that foster proactive thinking and dialogue in order to propel the field of sign language interpreting forward.

How Does it Work?

Main Session

The StreetLeverage – Live main session is modeled after the TED speaker series. Meaning, attendees will be engaged by a series of speakers, topics, and live dialogue in a single primary session.

Concurrent Sessions

Following the main session, speakers will present concurrent sessions. These sessions will be a deeper dive of a speaker’s main session talk.

Inaugural Event

I am excited to share that the inaugural StreetLeverage – Live event is scheduled to occur November 10, 2012.  The event has been embedded within the PCRID annual conference being held November 9 – 11, 2012.  Click here for details.

I would like to offer my appreciation for Josh Hughes and Jennifer Bell, PCRID Conference Chairs, and their vision for the conference. You guys are doing yourselves and PCRID proud!

Progressive Thinkers

Lyle Vold, Brad Leon, and Ryan Leon 




In addition to the PCRID conference leadership, it’s the progressive perspective of people like (left to right above) Lyle Vold, Brad Leon, and Ryan Leon on giving back to the sign language interpreting profession that enables game changers like StreetLeverage—Live to get started.  As owners of Access Interpreting, and as interpreters, they see true value in open dialogue on issues facing the field.

A hearty thanks to each of them for their leadership, generosity and support of the PCRID conference to enable StreetLeverage—Live to become a reality.

In the End

I have no delusion that StreetLeverage – Live will be perfect work either. With that said, it is my hope that it can play a role in redefining and expanding the platform available to sign language interpreters to engage in meaningful dialogue on the issues we face as a field.

If you have suggestions on how to improve StreetLeverage – Live, or for that matter, I welcome your feedback.

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21 Comments on "StreetLeverage-Live: A Water Cooler Upgrade for Sign Language Interpreters"

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Mike Ernest
Brandon – What you are bringing to the table is ideas, opinion, real-life experience and controversy.Sometimes it’s not pretty or perfect. Sometimes it is emotional. Just like a real conversation. The conversations that appear on StreetLeverage reflect the need of our field/industry to engage in meaningful dialogue. I no longer believe that Interpreter education can keep up with the rapid changes in our profession/field/industry. Practicioner dialogue after educational training may be the future of how we will share information. I act as mentor to a number of emerging interpreters. They are required to read StretLeverage in order to understand the… Read more »
Stacey webb

Love this idea! I also am in love with Ted Talks…. You are pioneering the way for excellent conversations and a positive avenue to praise what we have done right in our profession and look forward to what we need to change and improve.


Perfection is overrated. Congratulations on StreetLeverage and keep up the good work.


A huge BRAVO and congrats to you Brandon! As an interpreter practitioner and educator, I am finding this venue a valuable teaching and learning tool. Your foresight in bringing us together in this virtual environment is likely more impactful than we are fully aware of right now. Know that your labour of love has been well received and is supported by many. Thank you for your courage in providing a stage for our voices to be heard.



Well, dang.. I am going to the Georgia RId Conference.let me know what’s up for the next one!!! Thanks for doing this. As a long time professional interpreter.. We are so into a need for an alternative platform it’s like a cold glass of water .. It brings a refreshing relief.

laurie shaffer

As an interpreter and also an artist, I know there is no thing as perfection and believe that to achieve perfection is to stagnate. We as a profession can hardly afford to stagnate but instead need to continually engage in a creative process that improves our profession and our relations with the Deaf community. Street Leverage is an invaluable resource and I am more than impressed with your efforts. I hope to be to Street Leverage Live.

Breanna Andrews

I love the idea! I am a fan of TED and can’t wait to see StreetLeverage – Live. You should create an app so people can watch these talks on their phones too 🙂


Hi Brandon….
We follow your Street Leverage activities at The Sign Language Company and sometimes wonder when you find time to actually “work” as an interpreter! Your topics are always unique and relevant. We’ll be sharing this information with our network and we applaud you for venturing into brand new territory. If we can assist or participate in any way, please let us know.

Sherry Smith
Hello Brandon, I am very grateful for the opportunity you gave to me to share part of my story on Street Leverage as an interpreter in the minority. I hope the best for Street Leverage Live. It can be used in a very educational way, and with that being said, I hope you can even be accredited to give CEUs to those who participate in the workshops. Since interpreters can receive CEUs from webinars, or from giving reports about various educational dvds, etc…why not gain CEUs from interactive educational workshops. I also feel that fair minded interpreters would also readily… Read more »
Nancy Riley

From another Street Leverage fan…I too am using “homework” from Street Leverage in an upcoming class that will practice decision making latitude….The quality of the articles is unlike any other resource I know. Thanks for doing it.

Forward-looking organizations committed to retelling the story of the interpreter.



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