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Blog Articles by: Brenda Cartwright

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 BC" 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 BC  |  Articles by BC

Prepare Your 10-Second Interpreter Elevator Pitch

Prepare Your 10-Second Interpreter Elevator Pitch

Interpreter Tips   |  Thursday, September 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 BC" interpreter questions.

Interpreters often have just seconds to explain what we do to professional people who don’t really care. Say you just entered the elevator with the doctor of the deaf patient on the way up to the appointment.  What would you say? What’s your “elevator pitch?”

Try it out. Time yourself. Can you get it out in 10 seconds?

Here are some examples:

  • Hello, I am a certified Sign Language interpreter and I’m here to assist in communication between the hospital staff and the deaf patient. I look forward to working with you.
  • Hello, I am (your full name), a certified American Sign Language Interpreter. My job is to facilitate communication between you and the deaf patient.
  • Hello, I’m (your full name), I’m a certified Sign Language interpreter.  You can think of my role in facilitating conversations similar to a phone line. Anything I hear will be signed to the patient and anything they sign will be voiced to you.
  • Hello, I’m (your full name), I’m an interpreter. Anything you say to the client I will interpret into Sign Language. Go ahead and look directly at the client and I will make sure the message is conveyed.

You will want to tweak your elevator pitch for different audiences – always think about who you’re talking to and how you will be helping them so you can describe what you do in terms they will understand and in a way that relates to them.

Do you have your 10-second interpreter elevator pitch down pat?  We'd love to hear it!  Share it 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

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

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

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.
 

View/Add Comments (0 comments)

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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