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Interpreter Q & A: Are Piercings Ok for Interpreters?

Interpreter Q & A: Are Piercings Ok for Interpreters?

Interpreter Tips   |  Wednesday, August 13, 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 BC" interpreter questions.

Dear BC,

Last week, while team interpreting in a post-secondary setting, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I noticed a shiny metal ball bouncing around on my partner’s tongue. I found it very distracting and fascinating at the same time. Every time she opened her mouth it was all I could see. I know our Deaf client noticed it too, because when she was called on in class she admitted she was not concentrating, and asked if the professor could please repeat the question. My question is – do I say something to my partner or wait for the Deaf client to say something to her?

Sincerely,
Unsure Partner

An Experienced Interpreter's Perspective:

Experienced interpreter teams often have pre- and post- feedback sessions, not only with each other, but often include their consumers. If the Deaf consumer does not address the issue, you should tell your partner that "you" found it distracting and minimally suggest she consider using a clear ball instead of a metal one.

Experienced Deaf Consumer's Perspective:

As Deaf consumers have become more experienced and more empowered to speak up for ourselves in interpreting situations, we feel more comfortable addressing our needs directly with the interpreter. However, if for whatever reason the Deaf student does not address this "visual noise" issue with your partner, you should.

Have you experienced this problem too? 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 BC  |  Articles by BC

Incidental Information You Don't Get when You're Deaf

Incidental Information You Don't Get when You're Deaf

Deaf Culture   |  Thursday, July 31, 2014

By Marta Belsky

This article is by Marta Belsky. Marta is a third generation ASL user. She has been teaching ASL for 30 years and enjoys sharing her native language with new users.

Hearing people have access to “incidental information” all the time. They overhear conversations, they hear comments and remarks on the radio and television. Even background noises count as incidental information. This is called “hearing privilege.”  You don’t even think about it happening because it just does. How often can you actually pinpoint the exact moment you learned a new piece of information? Most of us forget where or how we came by the knowledge we have. We just know what we know. 

Here are some examples of when hearing people get information that deaf people don’t:

  • When a hearing person laughs at something someone said.
  • When hearing students (in a mainstream class) are talking about random things.
  • When an announcement is made over the PA system.
  • When you overhear a conversation at another table or in the next room.
  • When you can overhear 5 or 6 conversations at the same time around you and you can tune in or out of any conversation you want.
  • When interpreters (because of speed or skill) drop information.
  • When elementary school kids listen to what middle school or high school kids say on the bus.
  • An announcement on the radio.
  • A commercial on TV (not all shows or commercials are captioned).
  • Overhearing co-workers answers to client’s questions.
  • Comments between teachers and interpreters.
  • Every time a deaf student looks down to write notes they miss information from the interpreters.
  • What your kids are doing in the next room: closet doors opening, cupboards closing, water running, zippers zipping, tiptoeing up the stairs, giggling.
  • Hearing your keys drop, an alarm go off, a phone ring or a knock on the door. 

When communicating with the deaf, make sure you are aware of this incidental information and do your best to keep them in the loop.

Can you think of other examples of incidental information? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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About the Author

Marta Belsky Marta Belsky is a third generation ASL user. She has been teaching ASL for 30 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 Job Hunting as an Interpreter

5 Tips for Job Hunting as an Interpreter

Interpreter Tips   |  Tuesday, July 22, 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 BC" interpreter questions.

Today applications for new jobs are increasingly offered exclusively via websites. With social media and our entire lives online most employers know quite a bit about you, including your reputation and writing skills, before they ever meet you face to face.  References have also become more important as references are sometimes the first people that interviewers speak to. 

Are you representing yourself well? How do you decide who to ask for a reference?

Here are 5 tips for laying the foundation for your job hunting and finding a good recommender:

1. Connect with Others

  • First impressions matter. Put your best foot forward.
  • Be personable and establish bonds with colleagues.

2. Represent Yourself Well Online

  • Who you are online reflects how people see you in person.
  • Don’t put anything on FB you aren’t proud of.
  • Go through your Facebook and delete anything (pictures and words) that gives you pause.

3. Send Professional Messages

  • Keep emails professional and purposeful.
  • Put thought into each email you send.
  • Re-read your emails before hitting “send.”

4. Choose a Good Recommender

  • Be realistic in assessing your relationships.
  • Choose people you respect and who respect you.
  • Be sure the person you ask has a good reputation themselves.

5. Communicate with your Recommender

  • Contact your references before you put them down.
  • Be positive, respectful and grateful to the person writing you a letter of recommendation. 

Do you have other pointers? 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 BC  |  Articles by BC

Using a Swiss Cheese Folder to Plug Holes in Education

Using a Swiss Cheese Folder to Plug Holes in Education

Teaching Tips   |  Monday, July 14, 2014

By John Miller

Being an educator of deaf children for over twenty years, I know the frustrations that occur when you are working with a student and continue to find gaps in their understanding of certain concepts. It’s shocking to find out that your second grader doesn’t know something like their middle name or their address. It’s easy to say to yourself, “Why didn’t the parents or the teachers before me teach this child this information?”  

Instead of pointing fingers, there is a simple way to keep track of these gaps - it's what I call a “Swiss Cheese Folder.” Anyone that interacts with the student can document information gaps and record them in one easily accessed folder.  The teacher or parents then help provide the information to fill in these information gaps, then ANYONE (teachers, parents, interpreters, therapists, social workers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, grandparents and families) who has interactions with the student can open up the folder during their time with the students and help “fill in the holes in the Swiss Cheese.” Much of the information isn’t hard to learn once the child understands what the concepts are about, and often times many students are struggling with some of the same concepts.

Some very common things found in some student’s Swiss Cheese folder:

  1. Full Name
  2. Birthday
  3. Address
  4. Telephone Number
  5. Family Member’s Names
  6. Pet’s Names
  7. Days of the Week
  8. Months of the Year
  9. How many minutes in an hour?
  10. How many days in a year?
  11. How many items in a dozen?
  12. Telling Time
  13. Seasons
  14. Weather
  15. Colors
  16. Shapes
  17. Numbers
  18. Letter identification and matching upper and lower cases
  19. Emergency Information
  20. Answering questions about favorites…(what it means to have a favorite color, food, sport etc…)

These are also great topics that parents can work with their kids on over the summer.

When people work together, good things happen. “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Do you have other ideas of topics that would be good for a "Swiss Cheese" folder? Share your ideas in the comments below.

 

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Interpreter Q & A: How to Handle Rude Clients

Interpreter Q & A: How to Handle Rude Clients

Interpreter Tips   |  Monday, July 7, 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 BC" interpreter questions.

Dear BC,

In the post-secondary setting where I interpret, one particular Deaf student frankly doesn’t have much in the way of social skills. She is just plain mean to everyone and it’s uncomfortable and embarrassing to be around her. She’s either rude or inappropriate or both. Her hearing classmates, upon meeting their first real live Deaf person, try to be friendly, but, more often than not, walk away completely turned off. Please don’t tell me to just not take assignments where she is the client; as a staff interpreter, we don’t always have that choice. She knows she’s a "challenge." I suspect she gets off on it!

Signed,
Wit's End

An Experienced Interpreter's Perspective:

Maybe your experience relates to cultural differences and the fact that some things hearing people might label rude, Deaf people might attribute to the fact that they are "Deaf blunt." As interpreters we do not regulate anyone’s behavior, and it can be difficult with students, both Deaf and hearing. Offering Deaf awareness activities on campus might be one way to develop understanding between hearing and Deaf students and give them a different arena to socialize. Also, all students (Deaf and hearing) need to learn the ropes of interacting in a university setting, and I think we as interpreters need to take a hands off approach on this one.

Experienced Deaf Consumer's Perspective:

It is hard to determine whether the student in this situation is in fact having a "true" social skill problem or if there is some misunderstanding about what is "culturally" acceptable. Sometimes as a Deaf person, it is hard to "park your culture at the door" and behave in ways that are considered acceptable to our hearing peers. For example, it has been my experience that it is not socially acceptable to interrupt people without letting them finish, but it’s not always clear to me when I can and can’t by watching the interpreter. Appropriate registers are not always there for me to be cued correctly and after years of "jumping in" and cutting people off, I thought this was the way to get your point across or make yourself heard. Of course, later I learned to trust the interpreter or professor that I would have a chance to participate. Without knowing more specifics, I assume the "rudeness" or "inappropriateness" is more of a lack of subtleness between the two cultures. For example, hearing people equate being blunt with being rude, whereas Deaf people consider it being honest or direct. Without more specific information, I would not be so quick to say it’s the student’s problem, but to look at the situation as a whole and to determine what exactly is causing this perception.

Have you experienced this problem too? 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 BC  |  Articles by BC

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