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Essence of interpreting: tools and techniques

by Daniel Gough & Leslie Greer


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The essence of ASL interpreting is most challenging to master for any hearing interpreter. It requires understanding target culture and language, in which education is a collective effort and can serve as a model to create an essence in interpreting students that commonly come from an individualistic cultural background. It can provide an ongoing experience of a collectivist cultural lens, preparing interpreters to share decision-making with deaf people, who are the experts in their life experiences, during the interpreting process. Leslie and I propose that paying attention to the essence of interpreting can be used for effective instruction in Interpreter Training Programs, in contrast to the pitfalls of the traditional and proprietary approaches to learning. Adopting other cultures, preferably fuse two cultures and express in the target language will pop themselves and get Deaf consumers’ focus on interpreters by normalizing and internalizing Deaf cultural behaviors throughout the training process.

Participants will be able to:

  • understand what is the essence of interpreting.
  • identify what is traditional teaching approach
  • identify what is proposed approach and name techniques and be able to bring tools with them.

A white man with a crew cut and rectangular-rimmed glasses wearing a black polo shirt stands in front of a yellow wallDaniel Gough: I am from a Deaf family. I earned my Master of Science in Deaf education, Deaf studies, and ASL majors at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, in 2007. I graduated from Lamar University with the terminal degree in Deaf education and Deaf Studies in May 2014. My dissertation was about how to motivate Deaf students to learn English as their second language. I have a lot of passion for teaching deaf students, and my goal is to help them enrich their learning experience by training Deaf educators to learn how to motivate Deaf children to have successful bilingual literacy. In addition, I taught in the educational setting for 10 years and 3 years as an administrator. I taught ASL for 21 years. Currently, I am working at Ohlone College as assistant professor for Deaf education, Deaf Culture, ASL studies, and interpreting.

Leslie Greer headshot wearing CIT shirtLeslie C. Greer received her MA from the University of Rochester, New York in Linguistics. She holds Professional Certification from the American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA) and serves as ASLTA certification evaluator. She is a past president of ASLTA for two terms. She served the Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT) as Director of Public Relations and Outreach from 2007 to 2012. Leslie is the first Deaf President of CIT for two terms. She had a stint as a weekly TV talk show host with ASL as the official language and was dubbed the “Deaf Oprah.”

In December 2016, Leslie retired as the ASL Department Chair at Mt. San Jacinto College, Menifee, California. She has presented numerous workshops on sign language teaching, Deaf culture, linguistics and interpreting throughout the country and world. She is fluent in Japanese Sign Language.