An ASL Dictionary

Signing Savvy is a sign language dictionary containing several thousand high resolution videos of American Sign Language (ASL) signs, fingerspelled words, and other common signs used within the United States and Canada.

And Much More!

Signing Savvy is an ideal resource to use while you learn sign language. It includes the ability to view large sign videos, build your own word lists and share them with others, create virtual flash cards and quizzes, print signs, build sign phrases, ...and more

Sign of the Day - BLESSING

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Practice Signing at Home While Making Your Favorite Holiday Treats

Practice Signing at Home While Making Your Favorite Holiday Treats

Teaching Tips   |  Friday, December 19, 2014

By John Miller

One really fun idea for teachers to do for their students’ families for the holidays is to assemble a virtual cookbook filled with recipes to create at home.  We all know how important it is for children to be communicated with at home, as well as school, but many times parents are reluctant to do some activities at home because they don’t have the sign vocabulary to do so.

Like with any lesson plan or our favorite children’s books, teachers can create Signing Savvy word lists of their favorite, easy, sweet treats’ recipes.  After creating a word list for a favorite recipe, teachers can email the link to parents so families can checkout these recipes on Signing Savvy and be able to see the key signs to be able to recreate some great treats at home!

If you also make the goodies as part of a classroom activity, the children will be very excited to make something at home that they have already done at school.  It will give them the opportunity to become the expert and actually work as a teacher with their families.

One thing parents need to remember though, is that some of the actions that they will be doing while cooking or baking may be more miming rather than actual ASL signs.  One example of this would be the word SPREAD.  If you look at SPREAD in the Signing Savvy website, you'll find the sign for something spreading or spilling across a table or the floor, which would not be the same kind of action you are talking about when you are spreading the frosting on a cake.  Instead, to sign that you want to SPREAD frosting, mime the motion you would make in real life to indicate spreading. This is one of the most common mistakes non-fluent signers make.  They look for an exact sign to go with their English word when really they would just be better going with their instinct and miming the action of frosting a cake.

So dig into your favorite holiday recipes and start creating word lists that you can share with your families this holiday season. They will really enjoy them, I am sure!

I have included links below to word lists for two of my favorite recipes to get you started.

Word List for Angel Bark or Peppermint Bark Recipe

Angel Bark or Peppermint Bark
(Photo Credit: A Taste of Koko)

Word List for Christmas Wreath Recipe

Christmas Wreaths
(Photo Credit: Recipe.com)

 

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Guidelines to Help Interpreters When Doing Pro Bono Work

Guidelines to Help Interpreters When Doing Pro Bono Work

Interpreter Tips   |  Thursday, December 4, 2014

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the "Dear Abby" for the interpreting world - author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear Brenda" interpreter questions.

By offering pro bono services, interpreters are enriched professionally and personally. This is something interpreters should all do on a regular basis.  Pro bono work is an important part of professional development and it is a great way to help others in need, provide a gift to thank others, and give back to your community.

Interpreters provide a specialized skill and it has monetary value.  Interpreters are trained professionals who have and continue to invest a lot of time and money in being an interpreter. Additionally, quid pro quo, the deaf community has invested time in interpreters. It is important to avoid giving the impression that interpreting services are “no big deal.” This is an important conversation to have with our clients and among other interpreters. If clients do not understand the value of our services or that we interpret to earn a living, the gesture of pro bono work will not be valued.

By following some ground rules, you can set better expectations and have better working relationships with your clients (and friends) when doing pro bono work.

1. Establish the relationship.

Pro bono work is usually a one-time occurrence and the next interpreter will reasonably expect payment.  Before agreeing to a job, consider how/if doing this will affect the next interpreter who follows.

Evaluate the interpreter services required.

  • Is it going to be an ongoing situation or a one-time occurrence?
  • Is this a way to avoid paying for services that others customarily pay for?
  • Is it a gift (for example a wedding gift)?

Be willing to discuss the job and the client’s expectations bluntly so you are in agreement of what services you are providing. Is it a gift, a favor, or are you giving back to the community?

2. Define your services.

When a client knows up front that there are fees but that you are providing them pro bono, it is less likely for misunderstandings to happen.

Use the term “pro bono” as opposed to “volunteer.” Volunteers donate their time and are not necessarily trained professionals in a specific field, while pro bono work, short for pro bono publico, is when a professional provides their skills as a public service, typically to people who cannot afford their services.

There are many fields where it is common for professionals to engage in pro bono work, most notably lawyers, but also professionals in medicine, technology, architecture, marketing, and strategy consulting firms.  Sometimes a comparison between lawyers doing pro bono work and interpreters doing pro bono work helps clients understand the concept.

3. Determine and share the value.

Determine what you would normally charge for the services you provide and share that information with your client.

Fill out an invoice to show the amount it would have cost and then put $0.00 as the total due to show the true value.

Optionally, you could charge for your services and then donate that amount back to the organization. (However, if you choose this method, communicate that when establishing the relationship and defining your services).

Sharing the value will help the client to respect you as a professional, understand the value of the services you provide, and appreciate the pro bono work you provide.

If you have your own tips about taking Pro Bono work, we'd love to hear them. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about Brenda  |  Articles by Brenda

Happy Thanksgiving!

General Interest   |  Wednesday, November 26, 2014

By Jillian Winn

We hope that you have a very happy Thanksgiving! 

Did you notice the theme of our Signs of the Day for the past week?  Leading up to Thanksgiving, all of our Signs of the Day have been Thanksgiving related: 

We also have a Thanksgiving Coloring Page from our partners at WonderGrove Learn Animated Lessons with Sign Language that you can print out and color.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Coloring Page

 

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Certified Deaf Interpreters Explained

Interpreter Tips   |  Friday, November 14, 2014

By Marta Belsky

This article is by Marta Belsky. Marta is a third generation ASL user. She has been teaching ASL for 20 years and enjoys sharing her native language with new users.

While the concept of Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI) is not new, many people are not familiar with what they do, so misunderstandings can occur on how to utilize deaf interpreters.

What is a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI)?

CDI’s are deaf or hard of hearing individuals who are nationally certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). They serve as an equal member of the interpreting team along with a certified hearing interpreter. The CDI interprets the message from the deaf consumer to the hearing interpreter and the hearing interpreter then relays the message to the hearing consumer.

Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) explained

When to use a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI)?

A CDI is always a great addition to the interpreting team. Certified Deaf Interpreters have extensive knowledge and experience with deafness, the deaf community, and Deaf culture, in addition to having sign language as their native language – all of which can enhance the interpreting experience.

While a certified hearing interpreter may be adequate in many situations, CDIs are particularly useful when the communication mode used by the deaf consumer is unique, such as when they have minimal or limited communication skills or use signs that a hearing interpreter may not be familiar with (non-standard signs, "home" signs, a foreign sign language, regional signs, etc.).

It is important to remember that except for Children Of Deaf Adults (CODAs), American Sign Language is not the first language of hearing interpreters. CDI’s provide interpretation to the deaf consumer in their native language without the addition of an English accent and may also have a better understanding of what the deaf consumer is communicating.

Why to use a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI)?

Some hearing interpreters may be hesitant to work with a CDI. They think, "I can interpret very well so there is no need for a deaf interpreter." Others feel "demoted" or "insulted" to have a Certified Deaf Interpreter working with them because they feel it indicates their own interpreting skills are lacking. Some may even feel intimidated to have a certified deaf interpreter "watching" them.

While all these feelings are understandable, hearing interpreters would not have those feelings if they had proper training and knowledge of how to utilize a Certified Deaf Interpreter.

Reasons to support the use of a deaf/hearing interpreting team include:

  1. Often when a deaf consumer meets a hearing interpreter they tend to worry about their English. With a CDI present they are more relaxed and express themselves more freely.
  2. When the hearing interpreter hears a question and signs it to the CDI they have the opportunity to double check if the message is the same when the deaf interpreter signs the question to the deaf consumer.
  3. The hearing interpreter can watch the deaf consumer’s answer and then watch the deaf interpreter sign it to double-check before voicing the answer.
  4. The deaf consumer has the advantage of being able to double-check as the deaf interpreter relays their message to the hearing interpreter.
  5. If there is confusion, the CDI and hearing interpreter can work together to better understand the message and provide the best interpretation.

More deaf interpreters are now obtaining CDI certification. Including a CDI as part of the interpreting team enhances the experience for the consumers (deaf and hearing), improves the service the hearing interpreter is able to provide, and makes communicating the message more successful.

Resources:

 

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About the Author

Marta Belsky Marta Belsky is a third generation ASL user. She has been teaching ASL for 20 years and enjoys sharing her native language with new users. Marta is on the Lansing Community College Interpreter Training Program Advisory Board and has also been a board member for the Michigan Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and the Michigan Chapter of American Sign Language Teachers Association.

More about Marta  |  Articles by Marta

5 Tips for Being Successful in an Interpreter Training Program

5 Tips for Being Successful in an Interpreter Training Program

Interpreter Tips   |  Monday, October 20, 2014

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the "Dear Abby" for the interpreting world - author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear Brenda" interpreter questions.

This article is specifically for Interpreters in Training.

Interpreter Training Programs are both challenging and rewarding.  It is really up to the student to make the most of the Interpreter Training Program (ITP).  The more passionate and hard working you are, the more rewarding the experience will be.

Think for a moment about your definition of success. What does a successful person do? What does a successful person think? What does a successful person believe? How will you ensure that your time in your Interpreter Training Program is successful? What changes will you need to make?

Here are 5 tips for being successful in an Interpreter Training Program:

1. Set Yourself Up For Success

  • Plan your schedule and follow it.
  • Set goals and exceed them.
  • Control the things you can control.
  • Have a good support system.

2. Work Hard

  • Always act professionally.
  • See challenges to improve.
  • Don’t procrastinate.
  • Stay focused.

3. Build Relationships

  • Socialize!
  • Get involved in your Sign Language Club.
  • Build bridges.

4. Learn and Grow

  • Ask questions.
  • Accept feedback.
  • Face your fears.
  • Do positive self-talk.
  • Learn from your mistakes.

5. Go Above and Beyond

  • Seek as many ah-ha moments as possible.
  • Jump at chances for “hands on” opportunities.
  • Observe as many different interpreters as you can.

Following these tips will help you make the most of your Interpreter Training Program and be well on the way to becoming a successful interpreter.

Are there other tips you would recommend? Share them in the comments below.

 

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about Brenda  |  Articles by Brenda

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