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Utah Valley University | Fall 2019 | ASL3370.601 Sign to Spoken English

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Contexting interpretive work and depersonalizing feedback

  • ASL3350
  • ASL3360
  • ASL3370
  • ASL3380
  • ASL
  • English
  • interpreting
  • work
  • feedback
  • depersonalization

Learning to talk about our work as a function of ‘work,’ not of ‘me’

One of the greatest struggles of the professional signed language interpreting field is the difficulty practitioners have in depersonalizing work product. Discussing interpretation work is a scientific process, concerned with gathering data and scrutinizing equivalency of message from source to target, not adjectival commentary on an interpretation’s ‘goodness’ or ‘badness.’ However, talking about ‘equivalence’ in transliterative decisions is different and requires more subjectivity; there is less room for creativity and interpretation in a transliterated event.

Here are some bullet points/learning outcomes of which we might want to be aware:

  • Why is evaluative language in discussion about work product problematic? What formulas persist from speaking this way about our work?
  • What kind of language should we use when we’re giving formative feedback to each other? Because interpretation evaluation criteria is slightly different, what language should we use when we’re talking about transliterated work product?
  • How do we shift our discussion language away from evaluative to equivalency?
  • How can we move past “it depends” when trying to answer questions about how we can solve intepreting problems?
  • What rubric(s) should inform our evaluations of transliterated work product?
  • Based on what we read in Witter-Merrithew and Colonomos, how can we measure equivalency and accuracy in our transliterations?


Textbook chapters

Transliterating: Show Me The English (Kelly)

Chapter 11 (pp. 93–100)

Talking about what we talk about

Feedback: A Conversation about ‘The Work’ Between Learners and Colleagues

This article contains an unpublished article (2001) by Anna Witter-Merithew, Director of the Mid-America Regional Interpreter Education Center (MARIE) and an assistant director of the DoIT Center (now Department of American Sign Language and Interpreting Studies) at the University of Northern Colorado, regarding how we have historically spoken about interpreting work and posits a new paradigm of discussion. Required

Text/HTML version of “Feedback: A Conversation about ‘The Work’…”

Non-evaluative feedback language

Colonomos’ “yellow sheet.” Simple yet essential recontexting of feedback language we use with interpreter colleagues. To be used in class discussions and interpretive work processing. Live it. Love it. Learn it. (Don’t download this unless you lose the yellow copy handed out in class.)

Do We Eat Our Young and One Another? Horizontal Violence Among Signed Language Interpreters

This 2012 thesis by Western Oregon University graduate Emily Ott explores the incidence of intergenerational communication conflict and horizontal violence between new and experienced interpreters.

Why Is It So Hard to Accept Feedback

Short but applicable vlog by writer/educator Trudy Suggs on how to view feedback and commentary on our work. Based on our class discussion about reframing feedback and evaluation discourse, can you see how this would be important? (From Vimeo) Highly Recommended

How to give (and not give) feedback

Courtesy of our friends at GoREACT, this article correlates our other readings about effective feedback (specificity, timing, focus on product not person, etc.) Required

PDF version of ”How to Give (And Not Give) Feedback”

How to Turn Disagreement Into a Team Strength

Again, written from the perspective of product designers, this article reminds is that disagreement is not inherently bad, if we’re both working towards the same end. “You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.” Consider how disagreeing with your team member can actually be productive in the work we produce. Highly Recommended

Measuring work with rubrics

Transliteration Equivalency Rubric

This is a transliteration performance rubric based on twelve skill categories. Your pre-assessment assignment will be rated on these skills. Let’s use this rubric as part of our discussion.

EIPA Skills Rating Rubric

This is EIPA’s rating form (20XX) used to measure equivalency and accuracy on EIPA performance assessements. Let’s also use this rubric as part of our discussion.

The Demand Control Schema for Interpreting Work (DC-S)

While we won’t be directly referencing DC-S in this discussion about evaluation language, clearly any discussion about evaluation of our work is informed and benefitted by understanding how decision-making processes impacts our interpreting choices.

The Demand Control Schema for Interpreting Work (DC-S)

Definition and explanation of Dean & Pollard’s Demand Control Schema. Required

Consumers and Service Effectiveness in Interpreting Work: A Practice Profession Perspective (2005)

Article by Dean & Pollard (2005) discusses the concept of SL interpreting as a practice profession and why overlooking outside factors on SL interpreters is potentially dangerous to the profession. (Read pp. 259–271; stop at “Ethics, Consumers, and…”) Required

Application of Demand-Control Theory to Sign Language Interpreting: Implications for Stress and Interpreter Training

This seminal work in the DC-S theory framework introduces various types of demands — (para)linguistic, environmental, interpersonal, and intrapersonal — and discusses their impacts on interpreter psychology.Recommended

Apprenticeship in SL Interpreting

Long needed yet sorely misunderstood, apprenticeships and supervision are the next frontier in the elevation of the field. Do you agree with Peterson and/or commenters here?