- message coherence
- spatial structuring/discourse mapping
- depiction in ASL
- semantic equivalence
- Comprehension: ASL Discourse (Taylor, 2002)
- Skill 13: ASL referencing is interpreted accurately (especially when gender is not specified)
- Production: English Discourse (Taylor, 2002)
- Skill 23a: The high level of visual detail in ASL is not retained in the interpretation
- Skill 23d: ASL cultural information is interpreted accurately
- Cross-cultural interpretation: Deaf community experience with police, communicating with non-signers
Time Required for Activity: 30-45 mins
- Interpret correctly when the speaker references more than one person.
- Accurately interpret reported speech (conversations).
- Maintain an appropriate level of detail when interpreting from ASL to English.
- Accurately interpret cultural experiences.
Taylor, M. (2002) Interpretation Skills: American Sign Language to English. Edmonton: Interpreting Consolidated.
Step One: Preparation
What do you know about encounters that Deaf people have with law enforcement? What are some of the dangers involved?
Check out some resources
- Marlee Matlin on interactions between Deaf people and police from the ACLU
- Tips for police interactions with deaf subjects from Police One
- Avoidable killings by police must stop from the NAD
Step Two: Interpret into English
Interpret the Police Trouble video cold, without watching it first, and record your work.
Prepare for the interpretation by getting centered. For example, you may want to take a deep breath, get calm and determined and ready to do your best. Visualize yourself demonstrating the skills you are working on. You can do it!
Whenever possible, you are encouraged to interpret for a live person. When you work with real people, you are able to adjust your interpretation in real time based on cues you get from the person you are working with and do your best work. If you are not able to interpret for a live person, visualize a hearing individual with whom you are comfortable. In your mind, your goal is to make sure that this person appreciates the story as much as someone who uses the same language as the speaker and may want to meet the presenter.
Whether you were able to interpret for a live person or not, you are encouraged to ask for feedback form a hearing person (friend or mentor). Either show your listener your recorded work or request feedback or upon completion of the live interpretation.
Ask your listener to look for specific features, especially about the features you are working on for this interpretation, rather than just overall feedback. Some questions you can ask are:
- Where in the interpretation did you feel confused?
- Could you tell who was doing what?
- Were there terms that weren’t clear?
- Were enough facial expressions/vocal inflection used?
- Were classifiers used/interpreted correctly?
You can also ask comprehension questions specific to the interpretation, or ask your listener to summarize the information from the interpretation to find out if your message was clear.
Step 4: Assess Your Work
This step consists of several parts.
Assess your English:
- First, to accurately assess your work, listen to your recording and transcribe your English interpretation.
- Next, translate your interpreting work into numerical data that you can use to assess improvement, first get some numbers to use in assessing your interpretation. By doing so, you can focus your attention on increasing the frequency of the patterns that you want, rather than reducing those that you don’t. You can assess your improvement in clarity, grammatical accuracy, and use of unnecessary filler words (or any other skill). To do so, first count the number of total English sentences in the transcription you created of your work.
First, count the number of sentences that are:
- Clear and accurate
- Sound like natural English
- Grammatically correct (not counting filler words at the beginning of a sentences)
- Start with a word other than a filler word
For each category, you can determine the percentage of successful sentences by dividing the number of sucessful sentences by the number of total sentences. For example, if there are 50 sentences in the interpretation rendered, and 40 of them are clear and accurate, your percentage for the category is 80%. The percentage will give you a goal to exceed in subsequent ASL to English interpreting work.
Now, count the number of sentences that meet the goals of this activity. Count the number of sentences that are:
- Interpreted correctly when the speaker references more than one person
- Maintain an appropriate level of detail when interpreting from ASL to English
- Accurately interpreted cultural experiences
For each category, you can determine the percentage of successful sentences by dividing the number of sucessful sentences by the number of total sentences eligible for that category. For example, if there are 10 sentences in the source text that conveyed an experience unique to Deaf culture, and 6 of them are clear and accurate, your percentage for the category is 60%. The percentage will give you a goal to exceed in subsequent ASL to English interpreting work.
Fouls and penalties: While you are assessing the percentage of successful sentences in your interpretation, consider that there are certain features of less successful interpretations that are more severe than others. These are significantly disruptive or deceptive. These can be thought of as fouls in sports, and efforts should be made to eliminate them whenever possible to avoid penalties. Examples are:
- Failure to clearly articulate in a way that is easy for the audience to comprehend
- Non-sensical sentences, sentence fragments, and random words or phrases
- Apologies, announcements that you missed what was signed, self-criticisms, or swearing
If you had difficulty understanding the source video, re-watch it as many times as you need to fully comprehend the content.
Step 6: Re-do Interpretation and Re-assess
Now that you have reviewed your work, try the interpretation again, incorporating what you learned from feedback from others or from reviewing your interpretation. Don’t forget to record your work.
Finally, review your work one last time. Were you able to incorporate features that resulted in an improved version? If you can do it even better, try it again. Repeat until you are satisfied with your work.