Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

Latest: Social Media and Sign Language Interpreters

by • February 1st, 2011

Seeking illumination!

No one knows what recent changes in communication mean for our relationships with each other or where they will lead in the future. How can we know what to talk about now?

The fact that Facebook is a public space and the profession’s traditional confidentiality rules apply as they would under any other circumstances has been overwhelmed by the emergent social interaction made possible with online communication technology.

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Latest: The kindness of interpreters

by • August 16th, 2010

Region 1 Conference
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
Albany NY

Rene Pellerin froze in motion when the interpreter placed her hand on his back. While telling his story, he had been rotating gradually toward his right, giving the camera his profile and making it difficult for those in the audience to his left to read his signing clearly. Rene thanked Regan for saving him from talking to a wall. The laughter from the audience was rich with appreciation.

Rene shared several anecdotes from his personal life and professional career with the State of Vermont. Rene uses normal, everyday events that anyone can relate to in order  to draw us into his experience as a Deaf person gradually becoming blind. His detailed explanations take full advantage of the linguistic capacity of signed languages to put you in your body. For instance, when Rene described his train ride to college, he included walking through the carriages to get a drink from the cafe car. I didn’t just remember my own struggles with those dang doors, trying to balance against the rocking motion, and how many cars they can string together – I re-felt the embodied sensations that generate those memories.

You can perhaps imagine

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Latest: Rights & Responsibilities of Simultaneous Interpreters

by • August 14th, 2010


Region 1 Conference
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
Albany NY

Laughing our way to a healthy profession

I attend conferences in several different fields. No one laughs as often or as loud as sign language interpreters. Robyn Dean’s workshop, “I don’t think we’re supposed to be talking about this….” Case Conferencing and Supervision for Interpreters, was punctuated with humor a dozen times an hour, and occasionally we would hear outbursts from the neighboring workshop group as they took Steps to Feel More Comfortable Interpreting the Twelve Steps. Having a sense of humor is prerequisite for survival in this field, especially being able to make fun of oneself and teasing colleagues in affectionate ways. In the open comment time after Keynote Presenter Lewis Merkin’s small group activity about the passions we bring to the profession, Betty Colonomos commented on the health of growing pains: instead of staying stuck in comparative judgment, we’ve become more cooperative with each other time, allowing the recognition of each other’s humanity. Her reflection reminded me of Robyn’s definition of “responsibility” as the act of continuing in conversation. Instead of being stopped from communicating because of an unanticipated reaction, to be response-able means finding a way to respond

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Latest: managing time while learning to understand

by • August 13th, 2010

There is a special quality to connections based on conscious cooperation that distinguishes them from relationships that stem from the automatic flow of using the same language. This is the zone where the intercultural communication skills of simultaneous interpreters have particular importance and special use. No other communicative practice has as much potential for forging individual, cultural, and systemic capacities for the equitable embrace of diversity and fair treatment of difference.

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Latest: The Critical Link 6: Interpreting in a Changing Landscape

by • June 6th, 2010

26-30 July, 2010
The Critical Link 6: Interpreting in a Changing Landscape
Aston University, Birmingham UK

The interpreter-ethnographer today has to
take a stance and develop a consciousness for the
political and ethical dilemma between the
domesticating of the Other and leaving the Other as foreign.

~ Sebnem Bahadir (2004, p. 815)

This pre-conference workshop is designed to introduce interpreters to contemporary notions concerning the co-construction of meanings, identities, relationships and social-political dynamics through processes of interpreted interaction. The conceptual framework distinguishes interpretation (simultaneous or consecutive) as intercultural communication systems that are separate and apart from the activities of written translation.

Educational Objectives: the workshop is appropriate to all levels and types of practicing interpreters, interpreter trainers, and researchers of interpreting.

Upon successful completion of this workshop, participants will be able

To identify space- and time-based elements of interpretation
To recognize emphasis on space-based elements as means of asserting control
To understand the time-based elements as constitutive of culture, and
To debate the situated professional norms of interpreting in the context of a much larger culture of control

If we accept the premise that interpreters are never fully neutral, then the responsible professional will begin to investigate how our

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Latest: RID Region 1 Conference: TEAM 2010

by • June 6th, 2010

RID Region 1 Conference: TEAM 2010
Albany, NY

Representative Jackie Emmart’s youtube video, Top Ten Reasons To Attend TEAM 2010, had 202 views as of 29 July. A week ago I learned there are 383 registered participants! Definitely a good showing for the northeast region of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. I’ll be at the conference participating and blogging, following up on the National RID Conference one year ago:

Moving Forward for a Noble Cause
Logical Teaming
decision-making by one and all
Beyond Political Correctness
The Eyes Have It!
Embrace Change, Honor Tradition
Framing the Future: Atlanta 2011
The Wrong Side of the Law
Make NERDAs the linguistic minority (proposal)

I’ve added tweeting to my repertoire: feel free to follow me @stephjoke, and add to the twitterverse yourself! Please use hashtag #si3 (it stands for the initials SI cubed (raised to the third power). It is a shorthand for one of the main points in my dissertation (to be completed someday).

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Latest: Conference of Interpreter Trainers 2010

by • June 6th, 2010

27-30 October, 2010
Conference of Interpreter Trainers 2010
San Antonio, TX

I actually was not able to attend the annual Conference of Interpreter Trainers. Darn.

The Reflexivity Series: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, chronicles my blogposts about ASL/English simultaneous interpretation.

The last three posts are from the RID Region 1 Conference: TEAM2010, in Albany, NY. TEAM is an acronym for Together, Empower and Motivate!

Managing Time while Learning to Understand
Rights and Responsibilities of Simultaneous Interpreters
The kindness of interpreters

Previous to these is a blog and embedded ten-minute video of a keynote presentation I gave to the New England Deaf Studies Conference in April, 2010: That’s So #DEAF!

24-25 September, 2010
New York City

Leadership. Entrepreneurship. Innovation. Sustainability. These are the themes of this third Global Summit of a young, exciting initiative linking powerful women from different positions across the globe. I learned of this collaborative endeavor through participation in the University of Massachusetts’ Entrepreneurship Initiative, which I blogged about in this entry: “Innovation Happens at the Intersections.”

That blog entry is tucked into the Series on the Science of Team Science.

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Latest: Ethics of Interpreting

by • June 1st, 2010

Damage from a spring thunderstorm in New England

professional development workshop
certification maintenance, RID
Lebanon, NH (31 October 2009)

Real World Ethics

One thing I love about the sign language interpreting community is how seriously we take the matter of professional ethics. We have no choice, actually, because the Deaf community holds our feet to the fire on a regular basis. It is an extraordinary dynamic. The effects of participating in simultaneously-interpreted communication may appear to be concentrated in the interaction between the interpreter and the signer, but the significance of using interpreters extends as well to the entire group and among all languages. Patty Azzarello writes of a team-building activity without an interpreter, detailing the embarrassing lessons learned by the team that discounted the member who was not fluent in English.

He was the smartest guy in the room.

He tried to share his good ideas with us – over and over again.

We basically threw him overboard.

I cannot speculate as to how the dynamics in Patty’s team would have been changed if there had been an interpreter included, but I can say that interpreters witness Deaf people being “thrown overboard” on a far too regular basis.  Michael Harvey

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Latest: reading the demon: simultaneous interpretation and the in-between

by • April 28th, 2010


Voices from the In-Between: Aporias, Reverberations, and Audiences
Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
University of Massachusetts Amherst

“When I saw you with the laptop,” Cecilia said to me, “I thought you must be really far behind on your presentation.”  More or less! I was in my “live” discourse and dynamics mode, self-interestedly collecting connections with other presenters (or at least with their topics). I wanted to show as well as tell about my findings and speculations based on the research I’ve done concerning language, meaning, and simultaneous interpretation.  The conference would have gone by in a blur for me, otherwise. As it was, I had a handful of heartfelt conversations with fascinating human beings, beginning at the banquet, smuggled into the quiet of rehearsal/prep space in presentation rooms, and during breaks over the abundance of food.

Warning! Relationship implied!

Huda did not believe that I really wanted to quote her presentation. “You really are dangerous!” exclaimed Nimmi, before vanishing back to Texas. Jiwei questioned the possibility of as fluid an identity as I propose – that I am ‘called into being’ by the interactions I have with others, especially those that are overtly communicative. (I’m not

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Latest: Showing Empowerment

by • April 10th, 2010


By asserting their right to have a major, influential voice in the workings of the professional sign language interpreting organization, the American Deaf community scores a victory for minority language users everywhere. This is a story that needs to be told!

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