Terps: what do you think of this?

Interpretrator

Crime fighter
Premium Member
YouTube - Nationl Anthem Fenway Park

A summary of the video. It was Disability Awareness Day at Fenway and they had a young autistic man singing the anthem. Partway through he appears to get nervous and begins giggling and can't finish the song. The entire stadium joins in and helps him finish. It is quite an awesome moment.

However, I'm bothered by the interpreter. She seems doggedly determined to sign the song and ONLY the song no matter what. Maybe she didn't think it was "nice" or something but she didn't appear to indicate what was happening with the singer, nor did she indicate that the entire stadium joined in singing (at least not that I could see since the camera moves around a bit).

Personally, even in this situation, I think the deaf people deserved to know what was happening. She just put her hands down at one point without explaining that the gentleman was laughing and not singing. There was no access to that information nor to the very moving moment when the entire stadium helped him out. Just a lot of "FLAG WAVING" over and over and over again with a fixed smile.

I don't know, it just bugged me. This was a cool moment where I feel the deaf people did not get equal access to what was going on. Yes, it might have been uncomfortable to have to explain what was happening but I don't think she was sparing any feelings by not doing it. She could still have been professional and neutral about it.

What would you have done? I would have indicated, once, that the singer was laughing and having problems continuing, and I also would have indicated afterwards that everyone in the stadium was singing. And then gone on with the song.
 

jillio

New Member
Not a terp, but I agree with you. Considering that this was a Disability Awareness Event, you would think that she would have been a bit more conscious of conveying such a moving moment as when the folks in the stadium showed such empathy and consideration for the singer.
 

Tousi

Well-Known Member
I totally agree with you, Terpretator. The deaf folks who were there lost out on the warm, fuzzies this must have engendered.
 

Rio

Brady lady
Premium Member
I did watch it hmm... first, I think maybe she didn't feel to explain that the singer was laughing bec that is a visual facial expression. Second, I agree she need to indicate the crowd joining in to sing along taking in consideration it was a Disability Awareness Day.
 

Interpretrator

Crime fighter
Premium Member
I think maybe she didn't feel to explain that the singer was laughing bec that is a visual facial expression.

But she should have pointed out that he had stopped singing and not continued to interpret the song (even though she had it memorized), especially since that knowledge makes it clear why the stadium joined in to sing with him.
 

Rio

Brady lady
Premium Member
But she should have pointed out that he had stopped singing and not continued to interpret the song (even though she had it memorized), especially since that knowledge makes it clear why the stadium joined in to sing with him.

Yes, I agree with what your saying. I do have hearing problems when it comes to Youtube so, forgive me for not being 100% audible to the volume bec I heard a laugh not stop in singing the song.
 

Etoile

New Member
Actually, I got the impression she was deaf. She appears to be looking for visual cues a LOT. She's off sync the entire time, start to finish, so I don't think she was aware of his pace. I'm not sure she even has a frozen text for this, based on what I saw - I sign the national anthem the same way every time, but it looks like she's not sure of what signs to use.

She's either extremely amateur, acting inappropriately, and inexplicably out of touch with the situation, or she's deaf. I'm going with the deaf theory. I could be wrong.
 

Rio

Brady lady
Premium Member
Actually, I got the impression she was deaf. She appears to be looking for visual cues a LOT. She's off sync the entire time, start to finish, so I don't think she was aware of his pace. I'm not sure she even has a frozen text for this, based on what I saw - I sign the national anthem the same way every time, but it looks like she's not sure of what signs to use.

She's either extremely amateur, acting inappropriately, and inexplicably out of touch with the situation, or she's deaf. I'm going with the deaf theory. I could be wrong.

Yes, I almost came to the conclusion possibility the interpreter was deaf herself. Now, that you point how she was off sync. We can come up a lot of theories on this one.
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
Actually, I got the impression she was deaf. She appears to be looking for visual cues a LOT. She's off sync the entire time, start to finish, so I don't think she was aware of his pace. I'm not sure she even has a frozen text for this, based on what I saw - I sign the national anthem the same way every time, but it looks like she's not sure of what signs to use.

She's either extremely amateur, acting inappropriately, and inexplicably out of touch with the situation, or she's deaf. I'm going with the deaf theory. I could be wrong.
I think you're right, that she's not an interpreter but a Deaf performer. It makes sense. On Disability Day, they use a Deaf performer to sign the National Anthem, not interpret it.

I noticed her eye gaze was on someone or something off-camera. She was definitely watching for visual cues, and nodded her feedback. She kept her eyes on that point, like she was afraid to look away and lose her place (maybe using cue cards?). Her timing was quite off from the audio. I don't think she ignored what was happening. I think she wasn't aware of what was happening.

I wish I could have seen the sidelines better.

That being said, here's my take on interpreting this event, if that's what happened. A terp should have included information on what was happening. I hope they didn't plunk a newbie signer up there with just the Star Spangled Banner memorized, and no other signing or interpreting knowledge!

Sometimes during a church service or funeral, the person singing becomes choked with emotion and can't continue. Even if I know the words to the song, I don't continue signing the song. I use signs and expression to indicate what's happening with the singer, and also sign the "Amens" that other people vocalize in support of the singer. If and when the singer resumes, I do, too.
 

Interpretrator

Crime fighter
Premium Member
Ah, very interesting, I hadn't considered the possibility that she was deaf.

I just rewatched the video without sound to see if I noticed anything that would give a clue to this. It's not clear at all whom she's nodding to or if it's just part of her performance; at one point it looks like she's interacting with the photographer and/or the camera.

There are a few things that make me think she is an interpreter and not a performer is that at the very end, she puts her hands up in a "Deaf wave." It seems odd that a performer would do this for her own performance, whereas an interpreter would definitely convey the applause of the arena.

Secondly, and I'm not trying to be mean here, but that was not like any true Deaf performance I've ever seen. Her signing was mostly very tight and repetitive, with very little body involvement. Deaf performers I have seen doing both this song and original poetry...well, it is ASL poetry. This just looks like straightforward interpretation, without the depth of feeling that native signers convey when performing.

Also, she was dressed all in black. Not that a performer wouldn't be, but she wouldn't have to be. She just looks like an interpreter to me, and not a native signer.

Her timing was quite off from the audio.

I've been on a professional sports stadium floor before the game and you can hardly hear yourself think. It's INCREDIBLY loud, so it's possible she could not hear him singing next to her nor hear the microphone feedback. That might explain her lack of communication about what was happening, in fact. Except there's no way you wouldn't hear an entire stadium singing in unison.
 

authentic

Well-Known Member
Interpreters are so lucky to stand in the professional sports' baseball field, basketball court, football field, among others, and to get paid. :eek3:
 

Etoile

New Member
Interpreters are so lucky to stand in the professional sports' baseball field, basketball court, football field, among others, and to get paid. :eek3:
And we're lucky to stand next to mothers giving birth, couples getting married, and children graduating from school.
But that's not really the point here, is it?
 

Etoile

New Member
Interpretrator, I agree with you that she is dressed like an interpreter, but as you noted, performers sometimes dress that way too. Also, it's probably more likely that a stadium would hire an interpreter for Disability Awareness Day, rather than having a deaf person do it.

However, just because she's not doing the song beautifully doesn't mean she's not deaf. Even if the stadium did find a deaf person, they almost definitely don't know what poetry looks like in ASL, and they said "oh here's a deaf person, she can sign, let's use her!" without evaluating her skill.

I did try to peek into the people standing on the edge of the field, looking for a signer, but I didn't see one. However, I am quite certain that the black woman in a white shirt to the left of the photographer is using cue cards (and wearing a headset). Also, notice that the signer's gaze shifts toward the end of the song. The next time the camera pulls back, at the very end of the song, we can see that the black woman with the headset has moved to the photographer's right, and she is talking with somebody else. The signer is now looking at this position as the song finishes. I didn't see a deaf wave at the end - just finalizing the song with "brave" held high...very high. :)

I did try looking up the event (it was 6/30/07) to see if I could find any names associated with the performance, but I didn't come up with anything helpful. It may forever remain a mystery!
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
...Secondly, and I'm not trying to be mean here, but that was not like any true Deaf performance I've ever seen. Her signing was mostly very tight and repetitive, with very little body involvement.
You are correct in your observation, if she were a professional or experienced Deaf performer. I was thinking more along the lines of a Deaf student recruited from a local school as part of an inclusive ceremony, like the autistic boy singing the anthem. I've seen Deaf students (especially mainstreamed) perform the anthem exactly that way for their daily opening exercises at school. They perform it the way their school terps or deaf ed teachers show them. No deviation from the frozen text allowed. :whip:

I'm not saying that means she's Deaf; just giving you my thought process. :)

Also, she was dressed all in black. Not that a performer wouldn't be, but she wouldn't have to be. She just looks like an interpreter to me, and not a native signer.
I was wondering about that myself; she did have the terp dress mode (except was she bare-footed?). I need to look at the video again.

Of course, there actually are some people in this world who wear black just because they want to wear black, ha, ha. I know, it's hard for terps (and former terps) to imagine that sometimes. :lol:


I've been on a professional sports stadium floor before the game and you can hardly hear yourself think. It's INCREDIBLY loud, so it's possible she could not hear him singing next to her nor hear the microphone feedback.
Good point. But I did notice at the end that someone seems to cue her to continue, that the song isn't over, and she tries to ad-lib some phrasing to fill the gap. :dunno:


...Except there's no way you wouldn't hear an entire stadium singing in unison.
Unless you were Deaf? ;)


It's a mystery....
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
...I did try looking up the event (it was 6/30/07) to see if I could find any names associated with the performance, but I didn't come up with anything helpful. It may forever remain a mystery!
:( I was hoping there would be some information about the event.
 

Interpretrator

Crime fighter
Premium Member
Unless you were Deaf? ;)

My statement about that was assuming she was an interpreter. Which, until I hear otherwise, I'm guessing she was from the evidence. In a lot of platform interpreting (theatre, concerts, etc.) interpreters need visual cues because of the noise.

I'll come right out and say if she was a deaf performer, she would never make me want to see another one.
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
My statement about that was assuming she was an interpreter. Which, until I hear otherwise, I'm guessing she was from the evidence. In a lot of platform interpreting (theatre, concerts, etc.) interpreters need visual cues because of the noise.
I'm not disputing that; just brainstorming. :P

I'll come right out and say if she was a deaf performer, she would never make me want to see another one.
If she is deaf, I don't think she is a professional performer. I think it's possible that she could be a deaf student volunteer, maybe representing a school group (although she looks a little old for that).

Possible scenario: Deaf school gets a letter from the Disabled Awareness Day organizers requesting a student from the school to sign the National Anthem. Organizers have already set up the vocalist from a learning disabilities program, and the bat boys are volunteer kids with Downs Syndrome from the Special Olympics. Another kid in a wheelchair will throw out the first pitch. Between innings, kids from the blind school will demonstrate the use of "beeper" soft balls out on the field. And so on....

I think in the past, the Olympics and other events used deaf people to sign the National Anthem instead of using terps. I think Marlee Matlin was one, and a whole group of young deaf kids was another.

It probably was an inexperienced terp after all but I'm just daydreaming, heh, heh.
 

Silentwolfdog

New Member
If she is really an interpreter then she is not a good one. Either she's new or just a lousy one.

I don't think she's deaf because she looked at the boy like she is waiting for him to continue or something.

My interpreters would include background sounds, even if I am speaking to the class. She even inform me that someone in the class was laughing when I am speaking (uh I mean I gave my presentation, I don't know how to word it correctly, but you know what I am talking about) very seriously. At that point I wish I did not know that the classmates were laughing but she was doing her job and I appreciate that.

JMO.
 
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