CODA interpreters

josey

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so a bit off track here but

I have been "forced " out of my career and need a new one so does anyone think that I would stand a chance getting any certifaction level at this point ?

I have sent away for a franschinse of sorts with the ASl so I am waiting now for that .

any help would be great and any testing info or guide inof would be also
kim
 

gnulinuxman

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signer16 said:
I've had a CODA interpreter in a ITP with me, and it's been a very interesting experience.
The CODA had never taken any ASL or intepreting classes before, this was all new to her. She grew up interpreting for her parents, neither of whom had finished high school.
She took one semester of the ITP program and dropped it because, "it wasn't for her" and " she needed to learn someplace else."
She came in with a very narrow perspective without an open mind. She saw, and sees, ASL as the language where you "take out all the words you don't need, and just put in what you can see, touch, smell, and taste." She says we don't need all this interpreter training/ brain analysis stuff, "you just do it." We had a skilled interpreting teacher, though not a CODA, and this woman said, "I can't learn from her, she doesn't do it right." She stubbornly was a thorn in that teacher's side the entire semester.
Here was this woman who had been interpreting over 30 years, whom our class could have learned so much from, who made the class much more difficult. It was totally interesting though to see her perspective compared to the majority of the class, which was the "I learned ASL in college" group. There were some in the class who had learned it in some way growing up, but no others were CODAs.
She proved that not all CODA's really understand ASL or deaf culture, and that not all CODA's make good interpreters. I very much respect her as a person, she is a very nice woman, but an ITP was not made for her.
She seems to prove that interpreters need to have open minds. I had a similar experience in Spanish class when they had this brat skip 4 levels of Spanish classes because she grew up with it, and she was one of the worst in the class to work with for that reason.

:topic: but I don't think that should be allowed in public schools. If they want a foreign language credit, they should earn it by learning another language...
 

ismi

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gnulinuxman said:
but I don't think that should be allowed in public schools. If they want a foreign language credit, they should earn it by learning another language...

I skipped a year of German in high school for similar reasons (lived in Germany for a year when I was young). Started second semester, too, so really a year and a half. I didn't get credit for the year and a half I skipped, nor should I have; but there would have been no point in sitting through 3 semesters of class with material I already knew. I finished taking German 3 with honors; I got two years of foreign language credits (1.5 from the German classes I took, and .5 from the French class I took) - that's how the system usually works.
 
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vrsterp

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I work in VRS (obviously from the SN.) I would say on probably a daily basis I have at least one caller who asks me after the call if my parents are deaf. So, usually I just smile and say "I'm sorry, I can't give any personal information." and they almost always say "Your parents are deaf! I know. I can tell!" Sometimes I ask what gave them that impression, and they say my signing style, and just by watching me, they can "tell" my skill. I usually smile and thank them without breaking company policy.
That's always one of the best compliments (to me) that I get.

I have never stepped foot in an ITP classroom. I am at the highest state level certification for my state(not that that says much), and I just recently passed the written NIC (the new RID) test, and am preparing for the performance.

I don't think anyone can generalize one way or the other. I've gotten nothing but compliments, and a lot of "I prefer you than other."



And yes. My family is deaf.
 
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vrsterp

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I also had to comment on the foreign language thing...

My cousin, who is also a coda, was started at ASL 1 in her college class. Fingerspelling. GREAT. :roll:

I see nothing wrong with jumping up some levels if you are beyond that level. ESPECIALLY when you're paying for the classes. It's the same as testing out of any other class.
 

Etoile

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vrsterp said:
"I prefer you than other."
I hate this. I respect a Deaf client's right to have their preferred interpreter, but I hate when they tell you. If it's said to me, I feel bad for my fellow interpreters. If it's said about me, especially in front of me, it makes me feel awful. I don't think a Deaf person should tell the interpreter what they think about them or other terps. That information should be between the Deaf client and the interpreting agency.
 
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vrsterp

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My post was pertaining to VRS. But I do understand your point. If anyone said that about me, and i heard about it or saw it, i'd feel horrible. But this is VRS and our interpreters are all over the country.


And personally I like it when I get compliments.

I was just making a point that sometimes deaf people DO prefer codas. Ive had some say that to me specifically.
 

ayala920

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Etoile said:
I hate this. I respect a Deaf client's right to have their preferred interpreter, but I hate when they tell you. If it's said to me, I feel bad for my fellow interpreters. If it's said about me, especially in front of me, it makes me feel awful. I don't think a Deaf person should tell the interpreter what they think about them or other terps. That information should be between the Deaf client and the interpreting agency.

I don't like it when it's said in front of other people, whether they're people I work with or not. I also understand that sometimes uncomfortable situations come up, like last week when I was interpreting a banquet for my work and a deaf co-worker had to say something on stage. We'd already discussed that I'd be voicing for her since she doesn't trust other people as much, but the person doing the on-stage interpreting at that time took the microphone. She had to tell him she'd prefer me, because she knew he'd screw it up.

Like I said, I typically don't like being told this in front of any other interpreters, but I don't mind compliments on the side. :)
 

cwosigns

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I get the same comments from Deaf VRS users when they get me as their interpreter. They ask me if my parents are deaf, and my reply is the same. I can't reveal any personal information - company policy. They then tell me stories about other interpreters that they feel didn't do a good job. They smile and thank me.

My family is not deaf. I learned sign language in college and from deaf friends.

So when they prefer coda interpreters, is that just another way of saying, "I prefer someone that I can understand, and s/he understands me?"

Often codas are fantastic terps. Sometimes, they are not. Would VRS users want an unskilled coda over a skilled interpreter whose native language isn't ASL?
 

Interpretrator

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cwosigns said:
Would VRS users want an unskilled coda over a skilled interpreter whose native language isn't ASL?

Well said. And not just VRS users either. Although I would imagine some people might in fact prefer that. I hope the interpreters they end up with at least have solid ethical practices.

Skilled CODA interpreters, though, such as one of my ITP instructors...just wow.
 

me_punctured

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gnulinuxman said:
My fiancee and I would put it this way: Many hearing people who grew up speaking English don't speak it very well. The same often happens with CODAs--just because you grew up with ASL doesn't mean you're better at it than someone who learned after growing up. Same goes with any other language.

To which form of English are you referring? If a hearing person grew up speaking African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) primarily, would you judge that person to be lacking proficency in English?
 

me_punctured

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Interpretrator,

Thank you for your articulate responses! I expected this thread to die out and remain dead for good, because the moment I posted my inquiry, I realized that I was inviting people to open a can of worms. But you answered my question beautifully, no blemishes and no stains attached. :)

You brought up a fundamental point: native or native-like proficiency in a language does not automatically qualify a person to be a competent interpretator. Recently, in another forum, I came across a group discussion about the number of professional translators with bi/multilingual backgrounds working for the United Nations. It turns out that there are quite at least a few excellent translators who grew up monolingual.

me_punctured
 

Etoile

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me_punctured said:
To which form of English are you referring? If a hearing person grew up speaking African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) primarily, would you judge that person to be lacking proficency in English?
I'm not familiar with that term; I assume it refers to what is commonly called "ebonics." Personally, I would judge that person's English proficiency skills based on their writing. If they wrote in AAVE, then yes, I would say they lack proficiency in English. If they spoke AAVE but wrote proper English, then I would say they had English proficiency.
 
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vrsterp

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Etoile said:
I'm not familiar with that term; I assume it refers to what is commonly called "ebonics." Personally, I would judge that person's English proficiency skills based on their writing. If they wrote in AAVE, then yes, I would say they lack proficiency in English. If they spoke AAVE but wrote proper English, then I would say they had English proficiency.


I agree. Although I think there's something to be said for people who purposely speak in ebonics. And i think calling it AAVE is silly, considering most of them have never even visted africa, much less come from africa. They are american. If i'm "white" and not "european/caucasian", then they're black. And "black" isn't a language.
 

Interpretrator

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Etoile said:
If they wrote in AAVE, then yes, I would say they lack proficiency in English. If they spoke AAVE but wrote proper English, then I would say they had English proficiency.

In the world of applied linguistics I think you'd say something like "written proficiency in standard American English." The term "proficient" has about 300 different shades of meaning depending on which researcher you read; in fact you see a lot of research papers that have to take a moment and define their construct of proficiency before anything else.

How do you know the person writing in Ebonics/AAVE doesn't actually have procedural knowledge of how to write in perfect standard American English, but chooses not to? I'm not arguing with you at all because I get your point; I'm just playing devil's advocate. I think it's almost impossible to generalize because there are so many factors (cultural, political, affective) that affect language use.
 

ismi

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Interpretrator said:
How do you know the person writing in Ebonics/AAVE doesn't actually have procedural knowledge of how to write in perfect standard American English, but chooses not to? I'm not arguing with you at all because I get your point; I'm just playing devil's advocate. I think it's almost impossible to generalize because there are so many factors (cultural, political, affective) that affect language use.

My father used to be an ESL teacher (foreign students) and so we talked a lot about the latest ideas in TESL (teaching ESL). I'm not sure when this happened exactly, but a few decades ago, it was the hot new idea that maybe teachers in inner city schools would reach more students if they used Ebonics when appropriate. I'm not sure how much of that was actually fluency based (i.e., determined by the level of fluency in standard English of the students) and how much was cultural (using the vernacular allowing teachers to present themselves as something besides the Other).

As with anything, I think context is important; you wouldn't interpret for the UN in AAVE, but you might do so if you're in Cabrini Green. Similarly, with manual languages, PSE may be considered "sloppier" or "not Deaf enough" compared with ASL or SEE by some (note: I'm not saying that it is, just that some claim that), but the client's ability to use the language is the key.

I think this question of CODAs is something different, though. As an interpreter, you need a firm grasp of the language; you don't necessarily have the luxury of choosing not to express an idea, or express it differently, because you don't have the words. Similarly, you are going to be in situations that push you outside of your comfort zone - outside of the things you talk about at home. So while you may be fluent in the sense that you can express yourself, that is entirely different than being able to express someone else's ideas exactly, on the fly, in both directions, and simultaneously cover any cultural gaps or differences in expectation that may arise. And that's leaving aside things like professionalism and ethics ...
 
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vrsterp

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ismi said:
My father used to be an ESL teacher (foreign students) and so we talked a lot about the latest ideas in TESL (teaching ESL). I'm not sure when this happened exactly, but a few decades ago, it was the hot new idea that maybe teachers in inner city schools would reach more students if they used Ebonics when appropriate. I'm not sure how much of that was actually fluency based (i.e., determined by the level of fluency in standard English of the students) and how much was cultural (using the vernacular allowing teachers to present themselves as something besides the Other).

As with anything, I think context is important; you wouldn't interpret for the UN in AAVE, but you might do so if you're in Cabrini Green. Similarly, with manual languages, PSE may be considered "sloppier" or "not Deaf enough" compared with ASL or SEE by some (note: I'm not saying that it is, just that some claim that), but the client's ability to use the language is the key.

I think this question of CODAs is something different, though. As an interpreter, you need a firm grasp of the language; you don't necessarily have the luxury of choosing not to express an idea, or express it differently, because you don't have the words. Similarly, you are going to be in situations that push you outside of your comfort zone - outside of the things you talk about at home. So while you may be fluent in the sense that you can express yourself, that is entirely different than being able to express someone else's ideas exactly, on the fly, in both directions, and simultaneously cover any cultural gaps or differences in expectation that may arise. And that's leaving aside things like professionalism and ethics ...


I agree that there's more to interpreting than just being able to sign. You need to be able to have a relatively high grasp on BOTH languages.
A lot of people don't understand that. I've always heard "You'd be great." "you'll do fine, you've been signing all your life.." and it's SO much more than that.

I also think (and this is just my 2 cents) that the ultimate interpreter is usually the coda with the education. Although I think everyone is out of their element at some time or another. Put me in a conversation about religion or sports and my interpreting skills would shame my family. :laugh2:

ETA: I heard an odd one today. A coda I know told me she thinks Jehovah's Witnesses make the best interpreters. :confused:
 

Interpretrator

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ismi said:
I'm not sure when this happened exactly, but a few decades ago, it was the hot new idea that maybe teachers in inner city schools would reach more students if they used Ebonics when appropriate.

Yep, I absolutely remember that. It's important to know (as I'm sure you do) that Ebonics has been shown to be a true dialect and not just "sloppy English." I'm not sure that's necessarily a justification for teaching it, though, or using it to teach. (I never did make up my mind about that whole debate.)

ismi said:
As with anything, I think context is important; you wouldn't interpret for the UN in AAVE, but you might do so if you're in Cabrini Green.

Right, or I know a VRS terp who has fielded calls from people using regional black sign slang (I have no idea what the proper term for it is) and she ended up interpreting into what I guess was a sort of adapted Ebonics. Context is definitely the point. You wouldn't voice interpret for, say, an older white Deaf woman into Ebonics even if that is your native dialect.

It bothers me when I hear a strong mismatch in register between the signing and the voice interpreting and I think it's because we non-CODA interpreters get a LOT of training in voice-to-sign but there's a slight assumption that because English is our native language, we will automatically pick the right tone and register while voicing. As you say, ismi, I would guess this would apply for CODA interpreters when they're doing voice-to-sign as well.

vrsterp said:
A coda I know told me she thinks Jehovah's Witnesses make the best interpreters. :confused:

Was she a Jehovah's Witness herself? If not...what was she basing that on??
 
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vrsterp

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Interpretrator said:
Yep, I absolutely remember that. It's important to know (as I'm sure you do) that Ebonics has been shown to be a true dialect and not just "sloppy English." I'm not sure that's necessarily a justification for teaching it, though, or using it to teach. (I never did make up my mind about that whole debate.)



Right, or I know a VRS terp who has fielded calls from people using regional black sign slang (I have no idea what the proper term for it is) and she ended up interpreting into what I guess was a sort of adapted Ebonics. Context is definitely the point. You wouldn't voice interpret for, say, an older white Deaf woman into Ebonics even if that is your native dialect.

It bothers me when I hear a strong mismatch in register between the signing and the voice interpreting and I think it's because we non-CODA interpreters get a LOT of training in voice-to-sign but there's a slight assumption that because English is our native language, we will automatically pick the right tone and register while voicing. As you say, ismi, I would guess this would apply for CODA interpreters when they're doing voice-to-sign as well.



Was she a Jehovah's Witness herself? If not...what was she basing that on??


No, she isn't. She just said "I don't know what it is. They're just amazing.."
 

Interpretrator

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vrsterp said:
No, she isn't. She just said "I don't know what it is. They're just amazing.."

Huh. Maybe it's just a case of hasty generalization, the inductive fallacy where you see a few examples of something and you assume it's the case all over. Like she saw a few really great JW terps and decided that all JW terps are great.

Or search this board for any number of other delightful examples. :whistle:
 
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