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An infusion module for Interpreter Education Programs
This section will explore modifications to your interpreting mode needed when working with DeafBlind individuals.
As a student in an Introduction to the Profession of Interpreting class you are learning about the many fascinating aspects of working as a professional sign language interpreter. One of those aspects is the wide variety of Deaf consumers with whom you will be privileged to work. you will be privileged to work with. With each Deaf consumer you meet, you will face the challenge of discerning the most effective way to communicate with him or her. You are most likely familiar with many of the factors you’ll need to consider in meeting this challenge such as, but not limited to, the consumer’s language preference and educational background. One factor you may not have considered is vision loss. This learning module is designed to introduce you to that portion of the Deaf community whose vision loss impacts how they work with interpreters interpreters work with them. This module aims to will raise your sensitivity and prepare you to work with persons who are to their unique needs of DeafBlind. persons and prepare you to successfully interpret for them.
First, let’s discuss the term DeafBlind. It’s important for you to understand that, in our profession, this word does not only refer to people who are profoundly deaf and totally blind. Persons who identify as DeafBlind include persons who are deaf or hard of hearing who also have a significant vision loss. We use “DeafBlind” to refer to any person – deaf or hard of hearing – who also has a significant vision loss. They individual may be completely blind, legally blind or have functional use of residual vision.
DeafBlind, within the community, The sign for Deaf-blind, by the way, is signed as “DEAF” + plus “BLIND”. Note with “BLIND” is signed under the eye on the dominant side – not bridging the nose.
The DeafBlind community is as rich and diverse as the Deaf community. As with all consumers, there is no “one size fits all” approach to interpreting for people who are DeafBlind. Examples of interpreting for DeafBlind individuals could include:
- “Interpreting” can sometimes mean repeating what the speaker says into the microphone of an fm system because the DeafBlind consumer has sufficient residual hearing.
- “Interpreting” can sometimes mean typing into a computer with a large print display for DeafBlind consumers who use their residual vision.
In this module, however, we will focus primarily on interpreting for DeafBlind people who use sign language to communicate. You will learn how to modify your interpreting style, your appearance and the environment in ways that will foster effective communication.
A Note about Language: In the different resources included you will note that there are a variety of spellings used by various groups and individuals – DeafBlind, Deaf-Blind, Deafblind, deaf-blind and deafblind. We are using “DeafBlind” here while recognizing the other variations used.
This outline may be adapted by the teacher in your program. Please be sure to check with your own professor for which of these activities you will be completing.
- Welcome and Introduction
- Introductory Information
- Course Outline
- Video – “Overview of the Deaf-Blind Community”
- Modifications to Your Interpreting Mode
- Videos of DeafBlind Interpreting Modes
- Quiz on Modes
- Environmental and Ergonomic Modifications
- RID Views article – “The Case of the Missing Neckline”
- Additional Responsibilities
- In-class experience with sighted guide techniques
Much of the print and video content for this module comes from two significant resources. We acknowledge and thank the producers of these resources for their contribution.
Morgan, S. US Department of Education, Ohio Center for Deaf-Blind Education. (n.d.). Interpreting Strategies for Deaf-Blind Students: an Interactive Training Tool for Educational Interpreters (Project Award “H326C080020). Dayton, OH (T200.0001.01). Retrieved NCRTM website.
Myers, M. U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration. Northwestern Connecticut Community College (2001). National curriculum for training interpreters working with people who are deaf-blind. Retrieved from NCRTM website (V746.050).
Sighted Guide Video produced in conjunction with the National Curriculum for Training Interpreters with People who are Deaf-Blind was produced by Dawn Sign Press, Inc. and is used with permission.
http://www.protactile.org has allowed us to add further resources to the module.
In addition, National Interpreter Education Center wishes to thank those who were involved with the production of seven of the videos included this module, “In Their Own Words” and “HKNC Conference.”
The administration and staff at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth & Adults (HKNC) located in Sands Point, NY were instrumental in the production of these unique materials. We especially thank the following HNKC administrators:
Mr. Joe McNulty, Executive Director
Ms. Sue Ruzenski, Director of Direct Services
Ms. Suzanne Ressa, Director of Marketing & Development
Kathy Anellos, Supervisor of Interpreting Services
We recognize and thank the extraordinary team of interpreters who allowed us to capture their work on film:
We sincerely acknowledge the Deaf-blind individuals who shared their life experiences “In Their Own Words”:
Anindya (Bapin) Bhattacharyya
Copyright © 2013-2016 by the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC).
This NCIEC product was developed by the National Interpreter Education Center (NIEC) at Northeastern University. Permission is granted to copy and disseminate these materials, in whole or in part, for educational, non-commercial purposes, provided that NCIEC is credited as the source and referenced appropriately on any such copies.
This resource is intended to be included in your institution’s learning management system. Please return to your school’s web site for any activities.