What do I need to change to become an interpreter?
This is a question that comes up a lot for interpreting students. Especially extrovert students like I was. When I entered my interpreting program, I was a wild child with a loud mouth. As an interpreter in the field now, I am still a wild child with a loud mouth. I was told going into my program that I would have to change many things about myself. I couldn’t have tattoos, I couldn’t show tattoos, I couldn’t have certain piercings, I had to cut my nails, I couldn’t have colorful nails. I couldn’t have a certain hair color. The list goes on and on. The truth is, almost none of those things are true. I mean absolutely no disrespect to my own former professors. However, it is almost 2023. The field is different now. People are a lot more accepting of things.
I am an interpreter with long colorful nails, bright and loud tattoos (that do show), and colorful hair. I have not changed my appearance or my personality since I graduated from my program. There are many ways to still be the person you are and be professional at the same time. By now you are probably wondering “But Taylor, how can that be?” Well, let’s find out. Most interpreters are women. We are a woman dominated field. Women love their fake nails and colored hair. Most professors will tell you that you cannot have colored nails. They either have to be nude or french tips. Well, that’s actually wrong. Go out and get those bright nails. Go get those designs you want. “But Taylor, those aren’t professional.” You’re right. They are not professional. However, that’s okay. I have worked a way around that. Go on amazon and get some nude color nail wraps. They are super cheap, easy to apply, and will not mess up the nails underneath. If you have an assignment that requires nude nails (contrary to popular belief, not every assignment is strict about nails) stick on some nail wraps and go. It takes less than 10 minutes to go from personality nails to professional nails. Most women often get bored with the same hair color for long periods of time. We like to change it up and try crazy colors. I know at one point I had bright blue hair. How was I able to still do observation assignments? A wig! If you want to have crazy hair but still need to be professional at times, buy a wig. Amazon has some great natural color wigs. Go out and dye your hair pink or blue or purple. You can still work as an interpreter. Just buy a wig. You want a tattoo on your arm but your professor said you can’t get one because it’s not professional? That is not true! Its 2022! The times are changing. Most people do not care if a person has tattoos or not. I did a concert not too long ago and had all of my tattoos showing. My clients did not care. Know your audience and do not be afraid to ask if they are okay with tattoos showing. You have a client that does not like tattoos? That’s fine! Why? Sweaters, tattoos cover sleeves, makeup! The list goes on. There are many ways to cover tattoos now.
Moral of the story? You don’t have to change yourself for a job. Let me say it louder for the people in the back. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CHANGE YOURSELF FOR A JOB! What happens when you lose your personality? You lose yourself. Go get those nails done. Dye your hair. Get that tattoo or piercing. Don’t forget to be you. At the end of the day, no one wants an interpreter who has lost their personality. How are we supposed to interpret a client’s personality if we don’t even have one of our own? An interpreter is not some robot in all black clothing anymore. Be you! So again I will ask, “what do I need to change to become an interpreter?” The answer. Nothing
According to a bulletin from the Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities is calling for art entries for the
National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Poster Art competition. Entries must be submitted by May 31, 2017.
The winning artist gets statewide recognition when the committee releases free copies of the winner’s art on posters to businesses across Texas.
“The winning artwork is incorporated into the Texas HireAbility Campaign #TXHireAbility,” according to the press release.
In 2016, the committee distributed 2,500 posters.
Submissions from Texas artists with disabilities can be sent to the committee via email at GCPD@gov.texas.gov with a photo attachment of the original work in a high resolution digital format, either JPEG or PDF.
They also accept color photocopies, or images on a CD sent by postal mail. The original artwork does not need to be submitted unless it wins the competition. It is free to enter.
Entries must be received by email or postmarked by May 31, 2017. The winner will be announced by June 21.
Besides having their art on a poster that is distributed across the state, the original art and the poster will be placed on display in the Office of the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, as well as at other exhibits.
The winning artist may opt to be a featured guest at the annual Lex Frieden Employment Awards ceremony this October. Sign Shares, Inc./International won a Lex Frieden award for its support and inclusion of employees with disabilities.
Spread the love for inclusion
Join Sign Shares in ensuring that your office provides access an inclusion in the workplace. If you have an employee who needs sign language or foreign language services, request language services with Sign Shares.
While many doctors with hearing only worry about earning good grades in their classes–doctors with deafness worry about admission to medical school after the good grades. In the past and perhaps in the present–doctoral candidates who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing wondered if they would be admitted at all, despite their other abilities.
Some pursued their profession past all advice and against the rejection from myriad medical schools. Another crossed the communication barrier and became a Certified ASL Interpreter to meet the needs of patients who wanted to openly communicate with their physician.
The following doctors are pioneers that have opened doors to medical school for people with hearing loss or deafness, and to the Deaf Community. They opened the minds of a Hearing Community that didn’t understand their abilities were less by the ability to hear than by the societal attitudes that believed they couldn’t achieve.
DEAF DOCTORS WHO OPENED DOORS TO MEDICAL SCHOOL
Dr. Judith Ann Pachciarz lost her hearing as a toddler, according to Celebrating America’s Woman Physicians. She believes she may be the first deaf person in history to earn both a Ph.D. and an M.D. She is also the “first profoundly deaf woman physician.” Dr. Pachciarz served as doctor at the 1985 World Games for the Deaf in the Los Angeles area.
Dr. Pachciarz advocated for the right to study to be a doctor when they were considering Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
“In 1963 I met all the qualifications for medical school admission as I did in 1979. In 1977 I wrote Health Education and Welfare Secretary [Joseph] Califano, who was considering the provisions of Section 504: ‘I am a thirty-five year old deaf woman who has wanted to be a doctor of medicine since early childhood. I have encountered resistance and discrimination at every step from grade school through graduate work to a Ph.D…thus the enthusiasm, expertise, and dedication I could provide to health care…is denied…When will our equal educational opportunities be protected under the law? Fifteen years—how much longer do I have to wait?’ Secretary Califano signed Section 504 after concerted collective action, and I was accepted into medical school two years later,” she said in the article.
At the time of the article, Dr. Pachciarz was a hospital pathologist and director of the blood transfusion service at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles.
According to a CNN report, Dr. Phillip Zazove, who is deaf, “makes patients feel heard.” Zazove, who has profound hearing loss, was the third if American physician. Not only does he serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community, but he also mentors doctors who are deaf.
According to the article, Dr. Philip Zazove is an author, physician and chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan.
Drs. Pachciarz and Zazove were both told as children not to expect much for careers. They chose to be pioneers and advocates, instead of giving up.
DR. AND INTERPRETER WHO RAISES THE BAR FOR DOCTORS
While completing prerequisites for medical school, Galboa became a certified ASL interpreter.
“People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are said to be one of most under-served disability populations in terms of health care. Lack of sign language interpretation is the most frequent subject of Department of Justice cases regarding compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act in health care settings, according to the website ada.gov,” according to the article.
Dr. Galboa said doctors need to step up and meet the Deaf Community’s needs, “The deaf community puts up with uncertainty about their health care that leaves them poorer for it, and I don’t mean financially. As doctors, we want to know what’s really going on. The deaf community’s expectations of doctors is very low. We need to raise those expectations.”
FROM THERE TO WHERE?
How will societal attitudes limit future physicians with deafness or hearing loss? How many physicians will opt to learn ASL, or at least adopt methods of communication that are suitable for truly understanding procedures and conditions?
Have times changed?
COMMUNICATION ACCESS FOR MEDICAL STUDENTS OR PROFESSIONALS
Are you a person with deafness or hearing loss who wants to become a medical professional?
Do you want to provide communication access to medical students?
Are you a medical professional who needs more communication access?
Sign Shares, Inc. can help! We provide services for people with deafness, hearing loss, and deaf-blindness, as well as foreign language translation for people with hearing.
When it was over sea, Hurricane Matthew was a Category 5 hurricane, with the potential to do as much damage as the Category 5 Hurricane Andrew that hit Florida in 1992 with 165 mph winds–and needlessly took Deaf lives.
Andrew took 65 people’s lives and warnings from local news stations warned that Hurricane Matthew was as serious a threat to the Eastern U.S. coastline.
For the Florida Deaf community, reporting and interpreting about Hurricane Matthew was a time for news stations to redeem themselves and not fail them as they had during Hurricane Andrew, when the Deaf community relied on reports from only one TV station that would accept and interpreter–and no captions at all.
For Hurricane Matthew, not only did news stations use interpreters for Hurricane news along the East Coast, many used Certified Deaf Interpreters too, bringing praise and surprise.
Hurricane Matthew–A Big Difference
In 2016, with Hurricane Matthew, things started differently than they did during Hurricane Andrew.
The State reports that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley set the stage for public officials sharing communications with the Deaf Community, by providing a nationally Certified Deaf Interpreter, Jason Hurdich.
One viewer posted, “The sign language interpreter is the best part of Nikki Haley’s press conference. His facial expressions are .”
The Broward County Emergency Operations Center of South Florida used a Deaf interpreter, with a hearing interpreter signing for him.
The Miami Herald reported that the Deaf interpreter, because American Sign Language is his native language, added more meaning for audience members who are Deaf.
“I process it and put it into an art form or language that is clear to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community,” interpreter Andrew Altmann said. “It’s like a puzzle and I have to put all the pieces together and present it to our community.”
The mayor’s Facebook Fan Kim Black said, “Marty, thank you for publicly supporting the interpreter! You always go above & beyond to support those who work behind the scenes. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing community is fortunate to have leaders like you. You’re a very special person. Stay safe through the storm.”
There was a time though, that the Deaf community fended for itself with no information–and Deaf people died.
Hurricane Andrew: a Deaf Catastrophe
In 1992, before Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida, no one was certain if the storm would strike South Florida. To make matters worse, there had been a few hurricane scares earlier that year and nothing had happened.
According to “Lessons from Hurricane Andrew” by Rick Eyerdam, in the 1990’s, news stations used a “crawler,” which provided a written message at the bottom of the screen to inform people with deafness or hearing loss what was happening and what to do when closed captioning and interpreters weren’t signing.
According to the a Deaf services agency representing 30,000 clients then, when the news stations changed the Hurricane Watch to a Hurricane Warning, they stopped using a crawler.
There were no captions, no crawler, no interpreters.
The equivalent for a hearing person is a TV that is turned off and no radio communications. Nothing.
The South Florida Deaf community had no idea the hurricane now had the highest probability of striking the area where they lived.
When the Hurricane Andrew Warnings were issued to the hearing population, most people went to the stores to buy food and water.
During hurricanes, water supplies can be contaminated, so the stores sold out. Home Depot ran out of generators, since many feared the 90+ degree heat with no air conditioning or power. Stores ran out of wood panels and duct tape to cover windows and keep them from shattering inside their homes.
Everyone went except the Deaf community, which didn’t know because local news stations, according to Tyrone Kennedy, stopped using the crawler to provide words at the bottom of the screen, because emergency messages were long and difficult to reduce to writing.
“Once it changed from the watch to warning, we lost it all. The deaf population had no knowledge of what was going on. They missed out completely,” Kennedy said.
When the Hurricane Warning was issued, Kennedy and Deaf Services called the National Hurricane Center to offer interpreters for hurricane announcements.
He never got called back.
The television stations refused interpreters. Finally, one television station, Channel 10, agreed to have an interpreter on the news.
“By the time those people who would have relied on this information, if it came sooner, found (the station and got the information) by then it was too late. The stores were all empty. There were no supplies left,” Kennedy said.
They also didn’t have enough time to properly evacuate to a Florida city higher north.
After the storm, they couldn’t contact people who were Deaf by phone, since TTYs needed electricity. Fortunately, they forwarded all calls to one apartment with electricity and sent out volunteers with replacement batteries for their TTYs.
After Hurricane Andrew, according to the report, “the deaf community has discussed the effectiveness of closed captioning in the emergency environment and is now recommended all messages be sent in open captioning…”
While it’s too late for those who lost their lives during Hurricane Andrew, at least the Deaf Community received greater emergency communications and acceptance, far beyond anything they dreamed of long ago in 1992.
Almost as soon as its documented discovery in 2013, Hawaii Sign Language was on its way to extinction.
Linda Lambrecht, a career American Sign Language teacher and past president of the Aloha State Association of the Deaf, is documenting Hawaii Sign Language, or HSL, while its few remaining native signers are still living. She’s one of them.
She hopes they can teach HSL to Hawaiians to preserve it as something that belongs to the Hawaiian Deaf community’s history.
Lambrecht learned HSL from her older brothers, who are Deaf. According to an article in Hawaii News Today, “‘It wasn’t formal instruction, it was just exposure and that’s what we used to communicate,’ signed Lambrecht, who is also an ASL instructor at Kapi’olani Community College. ‘When foreigners came here and taught American Sign Language it was quite confusing.’”
She presented Hawaii Sign Language to the world at an endangered language conference and stunned the community because a new language hadn’t been discovered in America in decades.
The results of the battle within the Hawaiian Deaf community about the value of its native sign language versus the more common and powerful American Sign Language will determine whether Hawaiians keep or abandon their unique sign language and its history.
Two things led Hawaiians who are Deaf to desert their native sign.
The first was the establishment of a Deaf school, which promoted speaking over signing, according to The Guardian article. “‘The turning point, the beginning of the end of HSL,’ according to Barbara Earth [one of Lambrecht’s students], was the founding of Hawaii’s deaf school in 1914. Like most schools at the time, it promoted oralism, the system of lip-reading and speaking that is almost universally despised in Deaf communities for being painful, unnatural and ineffective.’”
The second language-killing event was Hawaiian military participation during World War II. While soldiers trained on the U.S. mainland, more Hawaiians moved to mainland states to attend college. Since most Americans who were Deaf used American Sign Language, Hawaii’s Deaf community used it too.
Mildred was one of the most fluent HSL “masters,” but she preferred ASL. According to the article, Linda Lambrecht said, “‘I remember Mildred would always tell me, ‘I don’t like HSL, I like ASL, it’s for educated people like me.”
However, when Mildred had a bad fall and was placed into hospice care, she reverted to using HSL, according to the article. “‘Linda visited her recently: “I saw her signing – and I noticed that she had reverted to HSL.’”
Whether anyone will translate HSL in the future depends on the Hawaiian Deaf community.
Houston and Dallas have opened cooling centers across their metropolitan areas for people to escape the heat.
Houston-area cooling centers
With temperatures forecast in the upper 90’s all week, and heat indexes making it feel like it’s in the mid-100’s, the City of Houston has activated its heat emergency plan to provide cool places for people to spend hours or the day.
Most of the locations are libraries. Some run regular business hours, as early as 8 a.m. to around 4, 5, or 6:00 p.m. Others stay open as late as 9 p.m. The cooling centers are open different days, with many being closed on weekends or having certain days open.
This Tuesday, 12 Deaf lawyers were sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court bar.
According to an Upworthy report, the first Deaf lawyer argued in front of the Supreme Court in 1982. Now, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts communicated in American Sign Language from the Supreme Court bench.
“Some deaf or hard-of-hearing lawyers doubt that they can actually practice law,” Howard Rosenblum, one of the lawyers who was sworn in that day, told the Washington Post. “But the real practice is based on intellect and deaf people have that in spades,” according to the report.
Upworthy also took a stand on Deaf issues: “Deaf people, like anyone else, are capable of amazing things. But if we’re going to make them find their way in the hearing world, the least we can do is talk to them on their terms.”
If you’re currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at college, this internship opportunity provides training in disability advocacy and laws, and an opportunity to travel to the nation’s capital to attend a national conference regarding disability issues.
According to a recent announcement from the Independent Living Research Utilization program, the internship includes a $2,160 to $3,600 stipend and will last six to ten weeks during the time frame of June 6 to August 12, 2016.
According to the announcement, interns will attend the annual conference of the National Council on Independent Living in Washington, D.C., where they will gain additional exposure to disability issues, policy and the disability movement.
Interns will also assist in conducting town hall meetings regarding centers for independent living, learn from disability leaders, and visit federal agencies and meet federal officials in the disability network.
Applicants should submit:
a cover letter indicating their interest and availability,
Vox and Curbedcreated a video and article to demonstrate how DeafSpace differs from spaces created for people who hear.
The close captioned video begins with the open captioned words: “We live in a world built for people who hear.”
Curbed houses the article, “How Gallaudet University’s Architects Are Redefining Deaf Space.”
Gallaudet University is America’s only liberal arts college for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
According to the article, “Deaf (with a capital D) is a cultural identity that stems from pride in signed language and what Deaf Studies professors call ‘Deaf ways of being,’ or shared sensory experiences and cultural traditions.”
“DeafSpace is an approach to architecture and design that is primarily informed by the unique ways in which Deaf people perceive and inhabit space,” according to the video.
The video explores some of the five basic principles of DeafSpace.
Space and Proximity
According to the article, “Facial expressions are important in ASL. So are body movements; to be able to sign comfortably, a person needs adequate space—more than is typically required for someone engaged in spoken conversation.”
The video shows wide hallways that accommodate two people signing and using full body language while having more space to sign and maintain eye contact.
The principle refers to “how Deaf people use their senses to read the environment,” according to the article. DeafSpace would extend the person’s sensory reach, by allowing him or her to view between rooms and have low-glare reflective surfaces so people would see shadows indicating someone is outside the room.
In the video, they show transparent elevators and some offices have opaque glass walls, while some public rooms have clear glass walls.
Mobility and Proximity
“DeafSpace design calls for ramps and wide, gently sloping stairs; ‘soft’ intersections to prevent pedestrian collisions…” according to the article.
In the video, instead of stairs, which hinder the free-flow of communication, ramps allow greater access and would accommodate other disabilities that might need white canes or wheelchairs.
The video also shows classrooms in a U-shape that allows for signers to view one another.
Light and Color
“Certain colors, especially muted blues and greens, contrast well with a variety of skin tones, making them easy on signers’ eyes,” according to the article. “Lighting should be soft and diffuse, and avoid dimness, backlighting, glare, and abrupt changes in illumination levels.”
In the video, Derrick Behm, from Gallaudet’s Office of Campus Design and Planning, signs in natural lighting that is restive to the eyes.
According to the article, “In general, acoustically quiet spaces are the goal. Hearing aids and cochlear implants amplify sounds, and for their users, the hum of air conditioning or loud echoes can prove extremely distracting.”
DeafSpace is part of an architectural movement similar to Universal Design, where architectural design considers how to complement all abilities, not just mainstream ones.
Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin will perform the national anthem with Lady Gaga at the 50th Super Bowl, according to a report in the Washington Post.
Lady Gaga will sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, according to the report. Matlin will perform in American Sign Language, or ASL.
According to Matlin’s official website, the actress, author, and advocate has “received worldwide critical acclaim for her film debut in Paramount Pictures’ Children of a Lesser God, for which she received the Academy Award for Best Actress … In addition to the Oscar, Marlee received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama.”
On her website, Matlin says, “The opportunity to communicate in sign language, one of the most beautiful languages in the world, is an advantage that deaf people enjoy. It’s a language that combines several elements at once with a simple hand movement and facial expression: meaning, affect, time and duration. It’s just so beautiful that printed or spoken words can’t begin to describe it.”