Sign Language Interpreters: The Importance of the Day Before

December 15, 2016

Our archives are filled with the generosity of our presenters and contributors. It is often enlightening to look back at the path which leads to the present. To that end, we offer this glimpse into the StreetLeverage archives. This presentation was originally published on March 18, 2014.

Dennis Cokely reflects on the false assumptions he held prior to personally encountering Deaf people, and how the words used by sign language interpreters can reinforce – or challenge – those assumptions.

You can find the PPT deck for the presentation by clicking here.

[Note from Dennis. What follows is generally based on my presentation at StreetLeverage – Live in Atlanta 2013. It is not a translation of that presentation but uses the presentation as a general outline for this written piece. In places, I have slightly expanded on the ideas presented during that presentation. I suggest that you view the presentation first and then read what follows.]

If you enjoy this presentation and accompanying article, consider going to StreetLeverage – Live 2017.

Challenge Assumptions

I’d like to begin with a brief history lesson. Our lesson begins with Euclid – the Greek philosopher and mathematician who is widely recognized as the first person to demand that we challenge assumptions on which solutions to a problem are based. Throughout history we see examples of assumed realities and assumptions being challenged by direct experience.

Consider the “Day Before Magellan”. In 1544, people who lived in the “Day Before Magellan” believed that the earth rested on the backs of three elephants, which, in turn, rested on the shell of a giant turtle, which swam in a vast sea. In the time of the “Day Before Magellan” people believed that the earth was flat. However, after Magellan and his crew circumnavigated the globe their direct, firsthand experience couldn’t be reconciled with the assumptions of people still living in the “Day Before Magellan”. When Magellan’s crew spoke about the earth, they did so from quite a different reality than those still living in the “Day Before”.

Consider next the astronomer, Nicolas Copernicus. People who lived in the “Day Before Copernicus” believed that the earth was the center of the universe and that the sun, moon, and stars all revolved around the earth. But Copernicus, after thoroughly studying the galaxy proposed a model that placed the sun at the center of the universe. In his model, which was proven to be correct, the assumptions of those believing in the centrality of the earth were shown to be wrong. His model couldn’t be reconciled with the assumptions of people still living in the “Day Before Copernicus”. When Copernicus spoke about the galaxy, he did so from quite a different reality than those in the “Day Before”.

First Contact

Consider now the “Day Before First Contact”. In the past, people of European descent generally believed that those of African descent or those who were Native Americans were decidedly inferior, were subhuman, were savages who had no values, culture or language and thus were essentially worthless. But then, a number of people of European descent began to have firsthand interactions with people of African descent or Native Americans. Those people learned that, indeed, those of African descent and Native Americans did indeed have languages, values, and cultures. When those Europeans spoke of Africans or Native Americans they did so from quite a different reality than those in the “Day Before”.

We all have assumptions and when we communicate with each other we generally do so believing that generally, we share assumptions. Certainly, that is the case when we all use the same words. But when we have new experiences they often challenge and change our prior assumptions.

Our Own Day Before

We each have our own “Day Before” regardless of our identity as coda, IDP, Deaf, or non-deaf. I can’t possible know about your “Day Before” so I can only talk about my own “Day Before”. What follows are reflections on my “Day Before” and the impact of my own “first contact” interactions with Deaf people.

I grew up with absolutely no Deaf people in my life. To me being deaf meant you weren’t intelligent, couldn’t read or write, couldn’t hear. If you were deaf you were disabled and you were to be pitied. And then in 1968 when I was in graduate school I met a Deaf man by the name of Patrick Graybill.

I was stunned – a Deaf man in graduate school???!!! This was most definitely not in keeping with my life-long assumptions about people who were deaf.

In the time of the “Day Before Pat” I assumed that Deaf people communicated by gesturing, pointing or using mime. But then I learned that Deaf people had a complex, structured, rule-governed language, which meant many of my assumptions in the time of the “Day Before Pat” were wrong.

In the time of the “Day Before Pat”, the notion that Deaf people had a culture was simply unthinkable because they had no language. The idea that they had values was also meaningless and preposterous. But through firsthand interactions I learned that Deaf people do have a rich and vibrant culture. My firsthand experiences and my long-held assumptions were radically different. And I had to reconcile my assumptions from the time of the “Day Before Pat” with my firsthand experience.

I thought that all of my long-standing assumptions when I lived in the time of the “Day Before Pat” were totally correct – being deaf means you can’t hear; being deaf is all about how a person’s hearing is defective. And then I learned that to be Deaf means, “to be one of us”; I learned that there is a Deaf Community. And again, I had to reconcile my assumptions from the “Day Before Pat” with my firsthand experience. And then another of my assumptions was shattered when I learned that Deaf people don’t see themselves as handicapped; they just see themselves as having a different language and culture. Again I had to reconcile my assumptions from the “Day Before Pat” with my firsthand experience. And when I spoke about Deaf people, I did so from quite a different reality than those who still lived in the time of the “Day Before Pat”.

And yet another long-standing and self-evident assumption that Deaf people were abnormal was also destroyed. That assumption was destroyed when firsthand experience showed me that Deaf people see themselves as “normal”. After all, Deaf people do have a language, a culture, a community, values, traditions, etc. Those who still lived in the time of the “Day Before Pat” had their assumptions, assumptions that I had once shared. But I now had Deaf friends and firsthand experiences that stood in contrast to those assumptions. And so again, I had to reconcile my assumptions from the “Day Before Pat” with my firsthand experience.

Another assumption held by those who still lived in the time of the “Day Before Pat” was that Deaf people couldn’t possibly be linguistically oppressed because they have no language. After all, they have to be taught to speak and lipread, they have to be trained to use their hearing. But from my Deaf friends I learned that their language, ASL, wasn’t taught or used in schools, that there were few Deaf teachers and that there were many other ways in which they were linguistically oppressed.

Like most people who still live in the time of the “Day Before Pat”, I grew up with quite a list of assumptions about Deaf people that were rooted in fiction and what passed for “common sense”; but those assumptions were not based in facts. But after interacting with Deaf people, my new set of assumptions was rooted in reality and experience. And so how could I possibly communicate that with those who still lived in the time of the “Day Before Pat”? My interactions with Deaf people had changed my life and definitely had changed my perspectives on Deaf people.

New Assumptions

But although I now had a new set of assumptions about Deaf people, the language and spoken words I used remained the same as they had all my life, my life in the time of the “Day Before Pat”. So, for example, I continued to use the word “deaf” and when I said that word, those who still lived in the time of the “Day Before Pat” thought I meant “can’t hear”, “disabled” “defective”, “inferior” and “less than”. Although my new assumptions, perspectives, and firsthand experiences had changed, my language and words did not change to reflect those new assumptions, perspectives, and experiences. Because my words and language in talking about Deaf people remained unchanged, those still living in the time of the “Day Before Pat” thought that we continued to share the same assumptions. It seemed logical to them – our words and language, the language of the “Day Before Pat”, were the same, so surely our assumptions must be the same. But my assumptions were clearly quite different than theirs.  But because I still talked like those still living in the time of the “Day Before Pat” their assumptions were not and could not be challenged and opportunities to confront or discuss their assumptions were missed. Those still living in the time of the “Day Before Pat” continued to think that because we talked the same we must think the same and have the same assumptions.

The Same Old Words

Imagine interpreting for a Deaf person addressing a group of people who aren’t Deaf. The Deaf person begins by signing the following [see the videotape at 9:46 — 9:59]. In the past, my spoken English interpretation would have been something like “My name is Pat. I’m deaf [and then there would be the typical and sometimes audible response of pity from those in the time of the “Day Before”] and you are hearing [to which there would be a quizzical or puzzled reaction].” That would have been what I said in my interpretation, but what I said is clearly not what Pat meant.

How could I accurately reflect what Pat meant by using words that were so deeply attached to the flawed assumptions held by those still living in the time of the “Day Before Pat”? Those words (“deaf”, “hearing” and others) had taken on new meanings for me but those still living in the time of the “Day Before Pat” had not yet acquired those new meanings. Using the same old words that I used in the time of the “Day Before Pat” meant that my spoken English interpretations could not possibly be successful. Those same old words simply reinforced the flawed assumptions of those still living in the time of the “Day Before Pat”; those words continued to reinforce a devalued view of Deaf people.

For many years Deaf people have been trying to tell those who are not deaf that Deaf people have a language, a culture, a community, values, traditions, etc. and have assumed that sign language interpreters were accurately conveying their meaning and intent.  But my spoken English interpretations (and I daresay those of most other interpreters) do not always accurately reflect the intended meanings of Deaf people. My interpretations that used the same old words as those still living in the time of the “Day Before Pat”, merely reinforced their negative view of Deaf people. I couldn’t possibly expect those still living in the time of the “Day Before Pat” to understand my experiences or to appreciate how my interactions with Deaf people had changed my perspective on Deaf people. Absent interaction and firsthand experience, those still living in the time of the “Day Before Pat” had not and could not attach my new meanings to “the same old words”.

For decades Deaf people, proud members of a Community, have been trying to tell those still living in the time of the “Day Before” about their proud Community, language, and culture. But when we interpreters use the word “deaf” the only thing that those still living in the time of the “Day Before” hear is “can’t hear”, “can’t hear”, “can’t hear”. But I believe that’s not what Deaf people mean or intend and as a result of our interpretations that use the same old words, Deaf people suffer.

Change Words and Change Assumptions

And so I have decided to change my words and my language. By changing my words and language, the assumptions of those still living in the time of “Day Before” can be challenged. Changing my words and language does not in any way change the meaning or intent of Deaf people, not at all. On the contrary, I believe that my changed words much more accurately reflect their intent and meaning.

Rather than automatically using the word “deaf”, I have decided to use the phrase “member of the Deaf Community” unless it is clear that what is meant is “can’t hear” (which I believe is rare). Thus those still living in the time of the “Day Before” are presented with a different framing of Deaf people and one that, I believe, more accurately represents what Deaf people have been trying to say to those still living in the time of the “Day Before”. That new framing is one that does not fit with the assumptions of those still living in the time of the “Day Before”. And gradually the assumptions about Deaf people of those still living in the time of the “Day Before” begin to change.

Thus I believe Deaf people’s meanings and intentions can finally and more accurately be conveyed to those still living in the time of “Day Before”. And Deaf people’s meanings and intentions are more clearly conveyed precisely because I have changed my oppressive language. And when we, as sign language interpreters, understand Deaf people’s meaning and intent and when we change our language accordingly, Deaf people’s true meaning and intent can finally be understood by those still living in the “Day Before”. Failure to change our language means that the assumptions of those still living in the tome of the “Day Before” will persist and Deaf people will continue to be oppressed and continue to be viewed as abnormal, defective and inferior.

One Thing. Just One Thing.

If you’ve seen the movie “City Slickers” you know one of the dramatic high points of the story – Curly, a tough, weather-beaten old cowboy asks Mitch (who is from the city) a question: “Mitch, do you know what the secret of life is?” Mitch says he doesn’t, and asks Curly to tell him. Curly replies that the secret to life is “One thing. Just one thing.” Unfortunately, in one of the worst possible cases of bad timing, Curly dies and so we never learn the one thing that is the secret to life.

And so, in memory of Curly, I’d like to suggest that for sign language interpreters the secret to successful interpretations might be “One thing. Just one thing”. But unlike Curly, I do plan to live long enough to tell you the secret. That one thing is — never forget living in the time of the “Day Before”. Those who are still living in the “Day Before” are usually one-third of the interpreting triad. As interpreters, remembering the assumptions of those still living in the time of the “Day Before” will help us better frame our interpretations. Remembering when we lived in the time of the “Day Before” will help us better craft our interpretations to more accurately reflect the meanings and intentions of Deaf people.

In closing, StreetLeverage – Live is all about change and becoming a change agent. I suggest that one very doable change each of us can make on a personal level is to change our words, change our language so that our interpretations more accurately represent the meanings and intentions of Deaf people.  Remembering the time we spent living in the time of the “Day Before” and the assumptions we held at that time, helps us avoid oppressive language and words that merely reinforce the assumptions of those still living in the “Day Before”. And so I encourage you to find and hold near your own “Day Before Pat”.

Enjoy this talk and accompanying article? Consider going to StreetLeverage – Live 2017.

* Interested in receiving StreetLeverage posts in your inbox? SignUp!

Stay Current

Want to be among the first to know when we publish new content?

Are you an interpreter?

We respect your privacy.
We will never share your info.

Conversation

Leave a Reply

41 Comments on "Sign Language Interpreters: The Importance of the Day Before"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Member
Pamela Kiner

I loved this article!! As an interpreter for 33 years, it really made me reflect on my “Day Before”! Thanks!!

Dennis Cokely
Member
Dennis Cokely

Pamela

Thanks for this. I hope the reflection on your “Day Before” was and is as fruitful as mine always is.

Member
Obed Mambwe

Good reading. Dennis has been interpreting for FOUR DECADES and I have been interpreting for a paltry slightly over FOUR YEARS!!

I will always remember my time of the “day before Dennis Cokely” on changing my language when interpreting.

Dennis Cokely
Member
Dennis Cokely

Obed

Thanks for the posting. I wish you well in the next several decades of your work!

Member
Obed Mambwe

Dennis, the pleasure is all mine! Thanks for the best wishes.

Member
Linda K. Stauffer

Dennis, Great article! I remember my “day before” when I met a person who is deaf blind for the first time. Your comments on interpreting intent and meaning resonated with me and what I try to teach students! I think you are correct that all interpreters, including myself, need to evaluate our interpreting language for impact on those still in the “day before”. Thanks for such a thoughtful and enjoyable article.

abrace
Member
Aaron Brace
Hi Dennis, Thanks for this! It’s nice to see we have Pat’s influence in common, as I was fortunate enough to get to know him in the NTID theater department at the very beginning of my learning ASL. The reminder to never forget how our “day before” got changed into our “day after” is invaluable. The increasingly industry- and market-driven forces on how and who we are with Deaf people can distract us from the reason we want to be with them in the first place. Thanks for this tool to keep us and our work grounded in Deaf Community… Read more »
Member
I like the basic point of this article, that we need to take our assumptions into account and realize how we are often part of the problem. I couldn’t agree more. It’s great to have such a recognized interpreter share this valuable point. Aaron, I have to agree, though, that while I understand what Dennis is saying, the particular example he gives does risk backfiring. Or to put it in Dennis’ own words, his own example risks assuming that the Deaf person *doesn’t* recognize the multiple valences of the term “Deaf” for a hearing audience, and doesn’t intend to capitalize… Read more »
Dennis Cokely
Member
Dennis Cokely
Austin Thanks for your post. I think your discussion of the Greeks and Magellan’s crew help to make my point even clearer. Certainly some Greeks KNEW, but had no firsthand experience, that the world was round and yet that knowledge couldn’t convince the vast majority of people at that time that the world was not flat. Likewise, I (and I daresay everyone else living in the time of the Day Before) KNEW deaf people weren’t smart, couldn’t read or write, were inferior to those who could hear. It wasn’t until I had firsthand experience that I could convince those still… Read more »
Dennis Cokely
Member
Dennis Cokely
Aaron Thanks for the post. It is indeed nice to know that we have a common touchstone to the DEAF-WORLD. I also appreciate the caveat. I definitely agree that “one size does not fit all”, but I fear that has been the case for most of us — our default is always “deaf” or “hearing” when in fact those words generally do not convey the intent of the signer. And I completely agree with you that sometimes the presenter intends to probe or “teach a lesson”. Certainly we should inquire of the presenter what his/her intentions/goals/tactics are, but sometimes that… Read more »
Member
Wow. So, the day before/day after phenomenon is pretty universally human; I have Days I can think of that changed how I view the world. That idea – and the reminder to keep that phenomenon in mind when working with people – is pretty unobjectionable. But as a Deaf person, if an interpreter I was working with changed “I’m Deaf” into “I’m a member of the Deaf community” (and I caught it, either at the time or later), that would be a massive red flag for me. I’m not sure whether it’d be a “never hire again” red flag or… Read more »
Dennis Cokely
Member
Dennis Cokely
Ian Thanks for your post and, more importantly, your honest reaction to my posting. I hope you and I can continue this discussion so I can better understand your thinking on this issue, if you’re willing. As stated in Aaron’s posting and my response, it is always desirable to (and necessary to) inquire about a presenter’s goals so that my interpretations can accurately reflect the wishes of the presenter (and this is true whether the presenter is Deaf or not). But, as Laurie Schaffer asks in the next post, what about those times when that is not possible? What should… Read more »
Member
(I don’t know if you remember me, I don’t know if we ever really talked, but we ran into each other a few times in 2005-2010 when I was a college student in Boston.) I agree that “determine what I mean and how to express it in English” is a thing. Language is not unambiguous, and that is the central challenge of the language interpreter. I think there are two things that made this particular example feel really off to me. The one is the, I suppose, presumption of accuracy. *Which* Deaf community? That an individual is signing does not… Read more »
Dennis Cokely
Member
Dennis Cokely
Ian Thanks again for posting again. I do remember you from your BU days and I hope all is well with you. In your post you mention “the presumption of accuracy”. I think that that is precisely my point; which is generally more accurate – “can’t hear” or “member of the Deaf Community”? And even though there may be sub-communities, I think that the “community” framing is usually more accurate than the framing of “can’t hear”. And while I agree that there are deaf people who sign whose primary identity is oral/cued, in my experience deaf people who use ASL… Read more »
Member
(The comments only allow us to nest so far, looks like, so replying here.) When I sign “I DEAF”, I don’t think either of “am a member of the Deaf community” or “can’t hear” is correct. I think that’s a false dichotomy; I want an interpreter to say “I’m Deaf”. When I speak English, that’s the phrasing I use. That’s the phrasing most of us use, I think, who are bilingual. It is absolutely true that many hearing people associate that strongly with “can’t hear” and not “community”, but to me that is an error on their part. Much like… Read more »
Member
Laurie Shaffer
I agree with the danger of assumption and the power in language and also had the same caveat as Aaron. I would be interested in what members of the Deaf community think as regards defaulting to “member of the Deaf community” in circumstances where dialogue with the presenter on the choice may not present itself. Again, in principle I agree with the premise. I call myself an American Sign Language/spoken English interpreter for the same reason – I am not a Deaf interpreter or a sign language interpreter… I work in 2 languages for parties who do not share a… Read more »
Member
Barbara P. Haschmann

Amen, Aaron. Well said.
-Barbara Pilato Haschmann
Rochester, NY

Member

Thank you Dennis for your insightful presentation. What a pleasure to see you present in person for the first time! I have had the privilege to read much of your academic research and papers on S/L through my studies at Macquarie University in Sydney Australia. Utilizing your taxonomy in order to analyze some of my own interpreting work. I hope we see you in Australia sometime soon!

Regards Mark

Dennis Cokely
Member
Dennis Cokely

Mark
Thanks for your post. I am glad you found the presentation fruitful and I hope that some of my work has helped you have a deeper appreciation for the complexity of the work we do.
Australia is definitely on my places to visit, so hopefully we will meet in person one day.

dennis

Member
Julie Leung

Dennis,
Fantastic article and presentation. I enjoyed reading about your personal experiences and while I know and understand we each have our own “coming of age” of interpreting/Deafness, I wonder about how The Day Before RID or The Day Before Interpreting can impact the framework of our settings and our Work. My experiences and expertise pale in comparison to the longevity of your career, so I’m wary, but trusting, of the advice and encouragement you give. Maybe after I get my first decade under my belt, the uneasy feelings will subside.
Thank you for challenging me!

Dennis Cokely
Member
Dennis Cokely

Julie

Thanks for the post. Being wary is a good thing; you need to test new ideas and suggestions gingerly because someone elese’s journey can’t be yours. Talk to your Deaf friends and your interpreter mentors and get their advice. But at the end of the day the decisions you make are yours.
And don’t worry about longevity – continue to deliver quality work to and with Deaf people and the years will take care of themselves.

dennis

Member
Anderson Chimfumpa
I do realize the the importance of the day before and the day after. And I had the privilege of reading your research and your intensive study on the importance and seriousness of the interpreter in your presentation. For a decade over 14 years of hard work with the Deaf I still find it easy every day wanting to develop myself in signing. I have in so many ways default, and the bad part is finding myself failing to humble me, and go to the presenter and ask him what his/ her goals are for the workshop or seminar or… Read more »
Member

Dennis, thank you for sharing. After reading this article and with 36 years of interpreting experience, 2 words come to mind — “humility” and “gratitude”— Humility in our service and gratitude for being welcomed into the Deaf community. I hope, as interpreters, we never lose these as we continue to remember “our day before….”.

Dennis Cokely
Member
Dennis Cokely

Danette

Thanks for the post. Very well said – humility and gratitude!!

dennis

Member

Hey Dennis,

Thank you for the wonderful comment.
I remember you when you voiced for us, the actors, in “Becket” in 1970 (i was of these 4 barons and the one who killed Becket). We had fun in those days.
Good to know how much you have really been involved with us, the Deaf community. It is so cool to have you as our best faithful friend over the years.

Mike Gough

Dennis Cokely
Member
Dennis Cokely

Mike

Thanks for the post. WOW!!!Quite a while ago, but I definitely do remember Beckett, you and the fun we had. I hope you are doing well. Where are you?

dennis

Member
THANK YOU !! For the first time in my life I now understand why I have been so driven to explain-give details -go into long monologues when I am talking – By the time I was 12 I was mixing regularly with several subcultures all of whom used the same words but with very different meanings. And how could I be sure that the people I was talking to had also experienced the same “day before” ? Also clarifies my struggle in interpreting – how could I be sure that I was also doing the same thing. I will be… Read more »
Dennis Cokely
Member
Dennis Cokely

Shirley

Thanks for the post. I’m glad you found the piece helpful and I hope the others to whom you pass it along will also find it helpful. It is certainly true that htings become way mre complicated the more languages/cultures we add into the mix.

take care

dennis

Member
Shirley Wilbers
I found your site again and noticed your response. Just wanted to add that it just registered that you are THE Dennis Cokely that co-wrote the ASL textbook I used way back in college when I majored in ITP. In fact its still on my bookshelf. The major reason I did not continue on in the interpreting field is that I couldnt do interpreting at the same time I was busy thinking “how can I connect ?” and as you know with the code of ethics thats a big no no !! and trying to disconnect the connecting mode would… Read more »
Member
Martha Ingel
Perhaps one consequence of interpreting the introduction, “ME DEAF”, as “I am a member of the Deaf Community,” is that we may be removing the opportunity for hearing consumers to have the unfolding of their own “day before” experience. And we do know, that for some of us, that experience was profound. At the same time, there are no interpreting/translation decisions that do not carry consequences. The choice NOT to convey the cultural depth of meaning potentially intended in the sign glossed as DEAF may lead to fostering further assumptions and stereotypes among hearing consumers, and that is a negative… Read more »
Member
Anna-Lena Nilsson
Hi Dennis, Thanks for a really interesting presentation and the following discussion. It makes me think of two things in particular: 1. My own “day before”, which I’m wondering if others have experienced – I didn’t even know there were deaf people! At least not on any kind of conscious plane. I lived in an area with absolutely no deaf people, they (or indeed signed language) were never seen or mentioned on TV, etc. So, I first got to know some deaf people, and their language – and then realized there was a whole bunch of political issues going on… Read more »
Member
Dennis: This presentation/article has had me curious for the past several days while I’ve been on vacation, but I just got the chance to view/read it. When I saw the title, I thought “Sign Language Interpreters: The Importance of the Day Before” would be about Pre-assignment Controls in direct preparation for interpreting work (Dean and Pollard, 2013, p. 19). So my predictions about this presentation were off, but nevertheless it kept my attention throughout! I’ve enjoyed the discussion following the text as well. I identified with the comment Aaron Brace wrote on March 18, 2014: “This is something that I… Read more »
bcolonomos
Member
Hi Dennis, Thanks for this great piece. I had the pleasure of watching it firsthand. From the responses I read, it is clear that impacted many people n significant ways. I appreciate Ian Smith’s perspective and respect his right to have what he wants. In my 45+ years of interpreting for grass roots and professional d/Deaf people I have not encountered this argument from a Deaf person. Ian is clearly extremely fluent in English (I cannot judge if this is so for Sign language) and he appears to be savvy about the norms and nature of hearing people who are… Read more »
Member

Excellent article/presentation. On a more trivial note I can remember when Dennis made us interpret an English text about the world being supported by turtles back in our ITP. Interpreting 1 if I remember correctly. Brought back some nice memories. 🙂

Member
Dennis Cokeley’s essay, both written in English and well-signed in ASL, which is perhaps his third or fourth or later language, is what I have said all the time as a deaf person, like his mentor the famed actor Patrick Graybill, even before he entered the Deaf World in the late 60’s. What he signed and wrote, I endorse. I always have said that the problems of the interactions between the Deaf and Hearing lie in the society with its audism as the guiding philosophy of to how to deal with humans who do not (not to say “cannot”) hear… Read more »
Member
I haven’t responded to the discussions part. Here is what I would like to respond to Aaron Brace’s comment. A very experienced interpreter like Aaron Brace has that dilemma when interpreting an eloquent Deaf speaker. He needs to know or could anticipate the line of argument. Nothing helps in my experience as a frequent speaker that the interpreter prepares beforehand with the Deaf speaker how he presents his point, etc. The interpreter still needs to have the Deaf speaker’s overall goal in his mind to understand all the details of the arguments to prove his point. I have presented rather… Read more »
Member
The discussion has veered off to how to interpret correctly, when a deaf speaker signs DEAF. Cokeley was talking about the broader sociological issue of the relations between the Hearing and the Deaf, and the role a sign language interpreters play or (ought to?) play to rectify the disadvantages Deaf people have been experiencing living in the country’s society. He appears to be advocating, the interpreters to play the role of social reformers in their work (and as a person), which I support wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, I want to throw in my dime into the discussion of how to render appropriately… Read more »
Member
For me, there was indeed a “Day Before”. I did have certain audistic behaviors, when I came over to these shores from Germany, even though I had been sufficiently encultured into the Deaf Culture and became already an activist as a 17-year-old when I started a youth club. Since I can speak fairly intelligibly in German and English, my second spoken language, I believed that every deaf person should learn to speak and lipread fairly well, even I had seen that more than half of my classmates could not do so despite extensive speech training. I thought, the speech profession… Read more »
trackback

[…] View the ASL, English and PPT here. […]

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

(National)

(Nevada)

(New York)

(California)

(Wisconsin)

(Massachusetts)

(Pennsylvania)