Tips for Writing

Expectations and Requirements

The RID Code of Professional Conduct encourages interpreters to engage in professional development, including familiarity and reading of current literature in the field. Interpreters must not only understand the communication needs of Deaf people but also 1) be familiar with the academic research of the field and 2) be able to articulate the cogent and salient points found in the core issues that face the field today.

Evaluation Criteria for Postings and Projects

This rubric primarily addresses the content of your blog postings but could also be generalized to assess the content of other assignments and projects. Caveat emptor: while you may feel this is a fairly subjective grading scale, it’s also quite self-evident—and accurate—to assess by reading the actual amount you post.

Please note: The points breakdown below isn’t just an arbitrary explanation of requirements; you’ll be held to these scoring standards. If you want to earn a 40 on a posting, you really need to show it.
35–40 points:
  • Several well-constructed paragraphs which comprise a complete argument/thought or thoughts in relation to the question and/or topic;
  • formatting, content, and mechanical specifications met or exceeded;
  • excellent and insightful original annotations;
  • engaged in several other peer evaluations/thread commentaries
29–34 points:
  • A few paragraphs which have a fairly to nearly complete argument/thought or thoughts in relation to the question and/or topic;
  • most formatting, content, and mechanical specifications not met;
  • fairly original annotations;
  • engaged in a handful of other peer evaluations/thread commentaries
23–28 points:
  • One or two paragraphs which have partial or meandering thoughts in relation to the question and/or topic;
  • several formatting, content, and mechanical specifications not met;
  • a few annotations mixed with quotes and references;
  • engaged in one or two other peer evaluations/thread commentaries
0–23 points:
  • One or half a paragraph with unrelated/undeveloped thoughts in relation to the question and/or topic;
  • most formatting, content, and mechanical specifications not met;
  • little to no original annotations, mostly just quotes and references;
  • not engaged in any other peer evaluations/thread commentaries


Students inevitabily say or ask:

“This is all I could think of. Even though it’s only a couple of lines, it’s okay, right?”

“I really don’t agree with what s/he said about the topic. I think there’s a different way to look at it, but I don’t want to offend him/her by saying that. I'll just back off.”

“I didn’t understand how to reference everything so I just did it my way. Is that okay?”

Posting/Discussion Topics

See class schedule for due dates.

While Mindess’ Reading Between the Signs is a fairly comprehensive look at intercultural perspective in sign language interpreting, it also leaves open areas for thought, research, and application. These posts/discussions are intended to give you the opportunity to consider issues in the interpreting field, and then decide on a stance on particular issues and defend them.

Make no mistake: these are argumentative exercises. You should be primarily concerned with forming an opinion about the issue(s) you bring up, then discuss and document research to defend your position. This is not an exercise in pleasing the instructor with an opinion you hope he will like. Feel passionate about your position on a topic and then convince your reader of its validity.

Feb 16 Feb 22 (Chapters 4–5, 7) Comment on significant features of American hearing culture and American Deaf culture. How dissimilar/alike are these features really? Aren’t we all just ‘Americans’ anyway; why should we expect to treat anyone different/similar? How might an interpreter struggle in making a cultural adjustment while interpreting?

Mar 28 (Chapters 8, 11, in-class praxis) Defend or criticize the claim that “it sure seems like making a cultural adjustment is adding information that wasn’t signed/spoken. Isn’t that against the Code of Professional Conduct?” Discuss the impact of various adjustments that we discuss—and techniques for making them—on an interpreted message.


Your writing/postings/evaluations must:


Common problems:


Having trouble with putting words and sentences together? The Hemingway Editor is a solid helpful tool. Here are some fairly common problems to watch for in your paper:

  1. Awkward sentence structures. Avoid fragments and run-on sentences. “The Hartford school helped refine ASL. And standardize it too.” is a fragment.
  2. Incorrect punctuation. Don’t misuse commas and semicolons. Semicolons only link two related—but independent—sentences together.
  3. Incorrect use of it’s. It’s = It is (“It is a tragedy.”); its = belonging to ‘it’ (“Its process was way off.”)
  4. Incorrect use of quotation marks and italics. Book, play, poem, periodical, film/TV titles should be italicized, not in quotation marks.
  5. Spelling errors. Yes, it’s an ASL class. But you’re also writing college-level thinking. Use a spell checker and proofread your papers.
  6. Use of colloquial/conversational slang expressions. Words such as “like,” “way,” “y’all,” are not acceptable.
  7. Failure to cite references. See the syllabus for clarification. If you use any reference—printed or otherwise—it must be cited. Otherwise, you are plagiarizing and in danger of failing the assignment. If you use conversations as sources, make sure to cite them.

Here’s some additional help with writing concerns and mechanics. Mind the HTML assistance; the principles are still applicable.

I’m very willing to clarify any of these potential problems or concerns for you.