Preventing the Re-Ghettoization of the Uneducated and Untrained Deaf in America

Educating the Deaf in America is an expensive proposition — especially in a modern mainstream setting with Hearing students and interpreters are required.  Educating the college-capable Deaf is an even more daunting project because of the massive amount of money it takes to educate just a single Deaf student.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is now 22 years old, but that Act still doesn’t begin to really protect the rights of the disabled.  All the Act does is try to level the playing field of fair play by mandating equal access and opportunity but, in many cases, if you want full and verified ADA protection, you have to hire a lawyer and sue.  That’s an expensive proposition for any disabled person to conjure.

Continue reading → Preventing the Re-Ghettoization of the Uneducated and Untrained Deaf in America

The INTJ Interpreter

On June 24, 2005, I wrote — Mark of the INTJ Rational-Mastermind — and today, that article has over 440 comments:

My temperament type is INTJ or Rational-Mastermind and I’ve known that over many tests over the arc of my life and here is a fun link to a fancy online report on my personality type that makes it really easy and clear to understand how your type affects you and others around you.

Living as an INTJ can be challenging because so few people really understand how you think or where you’re coming from, and in a business setting, we INTJs really need to be careful because our comments are so often negatively misunderstood as we operationally make our way through the world.

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Is an Interpreter a Clarifier?

As an ASL instructor at, and as co-author of books on American Sign Language and as co-sponsor of the emergency communication website and, most importantly — as the Hearing husband of a Deaf Wife — I was shocked to learn a major hospital interpreter teaching program in the New York City area is instructing its students that the role of an interpreter in the patient/doctor dyad is one of a “clarifier.”

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Interpreting for Cyndi Lauper

A former co-worker asked me to translate songs for the Deaf into American Sign Language, my native language, for the Gay & Lesbian Pride Rally on Father’s Day, June 21st. I said, “Sure, give me a call.”

The Call
When the call actually came, I had no idea I’d have the grandest opportunity to “sing” with Cyndi Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and True Colors Lauper! While I’m neither Gay nor Lesbian nor Transgender, I still felt I could play a support role in contributing to the event by providing a Deaf interpretation of Cyndi’s songs for the Deaf.

The coordinator for the sign language interpreters assigned all three of Cyndi’s songs to me! I was thrilled. I am Deaf and I depend upon vibrations and some hearing in order to perform these artistic interpretations so I really had to practice and I only had one week! I was given an audio cassette of Cyndi’s songs along with a lyric sheet for each song. Using both the tape and the words, I was able to de-construct the song down to its ASL core.

(NOTE: I also interpreted a song from the hit Broadway musical, Rent, but this article will deal only with Cyndi.)

The Interpreting Trick
When people see other people use sign language, it is generally assumed by those not in the know that they are really watching ASL (American Sign Language) when they are actually seeing PSE (Pidgin Signed English). At the rally ASL was used. ASL is a language that has its roots in French with its own unique syntax and rules that are not English.

ASL is a visual language where facial expression and body movements are as important as nouns and verbs in identifying people, place and time. If you happen to see someone signing without very obvious facial expressions, you are not seeing ASL. You are seeing PSE and that isn’t the same as pure ASL.

Continue reading → Interpreting for Cyndi Lauper