An ASL DictionarySigning 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 - CONSTITUTION
Teaching Tips | Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Recently I sat down with a deaf high school student to discuss how things were going with her classes and her interpreter. She told me that her interpreter was doing well in her 1st hour class, but she said she was bored in her 2nd hour class because her interpreter was not "doing a good job there." I know this interpreter well and had observed her many times before. I have always known the interpreter to be very professional, so I decided to observe (unannounced) both 1st and 2nd hour and see if I could observe a difference.
The difference the deaf student was experiencing between the two hours was not the fault of the interpreter; it was a difference between the teaching styles of the two teachers. The interpreter was, in fact, doing a great job in both classes at conveying the style and the atmosphere of both classes. The first hour teacher was dynamic and the second hour teacher was dry and lackluster. I made sure to let the deaf student know that the information was being presented accurately in both situations.
There is a Code of Professional Conduct that interpreters must follow. This code was developed by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) to set high standards of professionalism and ethical conduct for interpreters. The interpreter was in fact doing her job very well and it would have been against the Code of Professional Conduct for her to alter the message from either teacher. The Code states that interpreters must "render the message faithfully by conveying the content and spirit of what is being communicated" (Tenet 2.3) and "refrain from providing personal opinions" (Tenet 2.5). By interpreting the first hour lesson more dynamically and the second hour lesson more lackluster, the interpreter was staying true to the content and spirit of what was communicated from each teacher, which is exactly what a good interpreter is supposed to do.
This is a unique problem I am sure many deaf students, interpreters, and administrators experience on a regular basis. Interpreters should stay true to the Code of Professional Conduct and interpret the message as it is conveyed. Situations like these can also be good educational opportunities. The majority of deaf children have hearing parents, so they may not be aware of deaf rights like the Code of Professional Conduct for interpreters, which not only sets standards for interpreters to follow, but helps to protect the deaf consumer. Explaining that the interpreter was accurately conveying the message of the teachers and introducing the student to the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct can help the student to better understand the role of the interpreter in the classroom and their rights as a deaf consumer.
General Interest | Monday, May 11, 2015
Check out this great sign language music video performance of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. The video was a collaboration between the Digital Media, Audio and Cinema Program and the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College (LCC). The production was student driven and took around four class periods to complete.
The performer, Sam, just finished LCC’s Sign Language Interpreter Program this week and plans to take her state certification test soon to become a certified interpreter in Michigan.
Sam originally performed this song at LCC's SYNC event, which is a performance where the cast (LCC Sign Language students) work with the faculty to interpret popular songs using sign language. Doretta Fowler, the Director of SYNC, explained the show is called SYNC because “We synchronize two cultures, two languages, and we do it simultaneously.” After she performed Shake It Up live at SYNC, Sam was selected to turn her performance into a music video.
Sam had a lot of fun creating the music video. She said, “I was so surprised when I walked into the studio and saw all the cameras and the lights. I felt like I was a movie star!”
And just like Sam's 4-year-old niece (who chose the song), we think you will enjoy this great music video.
Interpreter Tips | Monday, May 4, 2015
Interpreting is 99% about being able to work with other people - having good soft skills and good people skills. These aren’t something that everyone is blessed with naturally. It is important to take time to work on and improve these skills.
When have you butted heads with a co-worker? What caused it? Notice I didn’t ask who was at fault or who was to blame. What really caused the conflict? A miscommunication? An age difference? A power difference? Assumptions? How did you resolve the issue? What are some successful strategies?
Here are 5 steps for resolving interpreter conflicts:
1. GET PERSPECTIVE
- Take time to cool off.
- First impressions matter and can affect how people work together.
- Often times negative interactions are a result of assumptions.
- Realize that the issue is coming from incongruent expectations.
- Try to see the situation from other viewpoints.
- Explain your point of view and give them the chance to do the same.
- Using the words “Help me understand…” shows that you value the other person and their opinion.
3. BE RESPECTFUL
- Strive for mutual understanding and respect.
- Show them respect.
- Don’t bring others into it.
- Talk privately.
- You can say anything - it all depends on how you say it.
- Don’t just focus on the problems, come up with solutions.
- The tried and true use of “I” statements really does work.
- Let them know, but don’t point fingers even if it was their mistake.
- If you’re wrong, apologize and try to make it right. (Even if you don't think you're wrong, you could say, "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings" or "I'm sorry you feel that way.")
5. MOVE ON
- Learn to let some things go.
- Move past it and don’t remain bitter.
- Live and learn. It is all part of growing professionally and personally.
Do you have other tips for resolving interpreter conflicts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Deaf Culture | Monday, April 13, 2015
This article is part of our "Living Loud" series, which highlights famous people who are deaf or hard of hearing and their impact in the world.
Curtis Pride was a Major League Baseball (MLB) player - he was the first full-season deaf player in the modern era of Major League Baseball. He is currently the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University. He has been awarded NEAC Couch of the Year (twice), the MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award for outstanding community service, and the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity through the attributes of spirit, courage and determination. He was also appointed to the President’s Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
Curtis Pride was born deaf as a result of his mother having rubella (German measles) while she was pregnant.
He loved sports and, in addition to baseball, played soccer and basketball. In 1985 he was named one of the top 15 youth prospects in the world for soccer and was part of the U.S. soccer team that competed in the FIFA Under 16 World Championships (the Junior World Cup) in China. Afterwhich, he received a full basketball scholarship to attend William and Mary College, where he was a starter on the basketball team for four years while earning a degree in finance. During this time, he also signed with the New York Mets and played baseball in the Mets' system part-time. Curtis played his first Major League Baseball game in 1993 with the Montreal Expos.
A History-Making Player
“I had a lot of people that doubted my ability to play major league baseball because of my disability. It was important for me to talk about what I could do, not what I cannot do.”
Curtis Pride became the first full-season deaf player in the modern era of Major League Baseball (the first deaf player in the majors since Dick Sipek in 1945). Curtis said, “I had a lot of people that doubted my ability to play major league baseball because of my disability. It was important for me to talk about what I could do, not what I cannot do.”
Curtis played for six Major League Baseball teams during his career including the Detroit Tigers, 1996-1997; Atlanta Braves, 1998; Boston Red Sox, 1997 and 2000; Montreal Expos, 1993, 1995 and 2001; New York Yankees, 2003; and the Los Angeles Angels, 2004-2006. In 421 major league games, he compiled a .250 batting average with 20 home runs, 82 RBI’s and 29 stolen bases. His best season was for the Detroit Tigers in 1996 when he had a .300 batting average with 10 home runs, 31 RBI’s, and 11 stolen bases.
Hear Curtis tell his story, watch this short (under 8 minutes) story about Curtis Pride:
Making a Difference
"Keep believing in yourself and good things will happen."
Curtis Pride established the Together With Pride Foundation, to encourage and support deaf and hard of hearing youth across a number of programs. These programs include scholarships, a hearing aid bank that supplies new and refurbished hearing aids to young people, literacy and mentoring support, and baseball and fishing clinics. He says to "Keep believing in yourself and good things will happen."
Because of his outreach and support for deaf and hard of hearing young people, he was awarded Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award for outstanding community service and the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity through the attributes of spirit, courage and determination.
Still in the Game
"Work hard, stay focused, and be positive."
Curtis Pride is currently the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University. He was named NEAC Coach of the Year two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013. He said he learned something from each of the coaches he played for in Major League Baseball and applies those lessons to his own coaching. Curtis encourages others to "Work hard, stay focused, and be positive."
In 2010, he was appointed to the President’s Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Curtis said, “It is truly an honor to be appointed to serve on the President's Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. I am extremely excited about working with the other esteemed council members to support the President and First Lady’s initiative to promote a healthier lifestyle for children and adults throughout the country."
- Gallaudet University baseball coach Curtis Pride appointed to the President's Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. (2010, June 23). Gallaudet Athletics. Retrieved 4/8/2015 from http://www.gallaudetathletics.com/sports/bsb/2009-10/releases/pcfsn
- Curtis Pride Bio. Gallaudet Athletics - Baseball. Retrieved 4/8/2015 from http://www.gallaudetathletics.com/sports/bsb/coaches/pride_curtis
- Who is Curtis Pride? Together With Pride Foundation. Retrieved 4/8/2015 from http://www.togetherwithpride.org/who.htm
- Berke, Jamie (2014, June 11). Curtis Pride - Deaf Baseball. About.com Health. Retrieved 4/8/2015 from http://deafness.about.com/cs/celebfeatures/a/curtispride.htm
- Curtis Pride Stats, Video Highlights, Photos, Bio. Major League Baseball (MLB). Retrieved 4/8/2015 from http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=120766
- Curtis Pride - Achieving Goals. Video retrieved 4/8/2015 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq2G7XoFlSo
Interpreter Tips | Thursday, April 2, 2015
I haven’t seen a particular interpreter at any workshops or conferences literally for years now. I know she doesn’t care about getting CEUs or losing her certification. She says "everyone knows my skills and will hire me anyway." Sure enough, she lost her certification and she's still out there interpreting all the time, and still charging top dollar. No one ever asks to see her card. It's business as usual, which is so frustrating for those of us who put in all the time and money into following the CMP program in a timely manner. Apparently, the rules don't apply to everyone, so why do we bother?
Frustrated and Irritated
An Experienced Interpreter's Perspective:
It is too bad that all of us are not equally committed to keeping our knowledge, as well as our skills, up-to-date. We can only trust in the process and that someday their negligence will catch up to them. In the meantime, we should just worry about ourselves. I think we need to remind ourselves from time to time that our field is changing every week, there are new colleagues we meet, new hi-tech signs to learn, and new ethical issues to deal with. We, particularly the more seasoned interpreters who are looked up to by those entering our field, can only maintain our status by continuing to know who’s who and what’s what in our field.
Experienced Deaf Consumer's Perspective:
It is truly unfortunate that there are interpreters out there working who don’t believe and realize how important we believe it is for their career to keep up with current trends and issues. From my perspective this reflects some of the "not-so-great" attitudes we've dealt with over the years and it is certainly not acceptable by the Deaf community. On the other hand, those interpreters who continue to learn and enhance their skills are strongly favored by us. In the long run, I believe your attendance at workshops and conferences will only make you even more qualified and recognized by members the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities.