My name is Lydia Callis, and I am a RID nationally certified American Sign Language Interpreter. I am also an advocate for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Bridging the gap between the Deaf and hearing cultures is my passion, and I am honored to share it with the world!
My Native Language
Sign Language was my first language because my mother and three younger siblings are all profoundly deaf. At a time when there were no laws enacted to accommodate the deaf and hard of hearing, I saw the daily struggles my family members endured. Now that my deaf nieces are growing up, I know it is my duty to make sure this world is a better place with plenty of opportunities for them. I began interpreting to help my family communicate and to make sure I stayed fluent in the language of my roots.
I founded LC Interpreting Services with the goal of consistently providing high quality, culturally competent sign language interpreters. From decades of experience as an interpreter— first as a very young child, then later in the business world— I knew the diverse needs of the deaf population were not being met. I wanted to make it simple for individuals and businesses to connect with qualified interpreters, while at the same time opening people’s minds to Deaf culture.
Cultural Educator and Ally
As a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA) and interpreter, I feel it is very important to support the deaf and interpreting communities in any way possible. I work with both local and national groups to empower deaf individuals and educate the general population.
It is my personal goal to educate higher institutions about working with deaf employees and clients. I believe creating cultural awareness from the top down is the most effective method of establishing two-way communication between businesses and the deaf community. I now offer comprehensive cultural competency training to help businesses understand how to integrate and get the most out of deaf employees.
I have given a number of presentations in support of the Rochester Institute of Technology – National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID), and am an active member of the NTID Alumni Association. In an effort to give back to the interpreting community, I serve as Chair of the NTID ASL Interpreter Education Board. I also serve as a member on the NYC Metro Board for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), helping to facilitate Governmental relations and advocacy work.
I consistently strive to raise awareness about Deaf culture in America. My active social media platforms are used to spread news, promote deaf events, and recognize people working to make a difference in the community. As a regular blogger for both the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, I help bring Deaf issues to mainstream audiences in a digestible way. By utilizing pop culture and technology, I have the opportunity to help bridge the culture gap that exists between the deaf and hearing worlds.
My education includes an Associates Degree in Interpreter Preparation from Phoenix College with a certificate in Deaf studies, and a Bachelors Degree in ASL-English Interpretation from the Rochester Institute of Technology / National Technical Institute for the Deaf. I hold a Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf: National Interpreter Certification, and have been interpreting professionally since 2006. I began my career as a staff interpreter at RIT and have experience in a wide variety of settings including, but not limited to: education, business, medical, mental health, platform, legal, VRS, and TV.
Over the past few years, my job assignments have been wonderfully diverse! I’ve done a wide variety of medical, educational, legal, and business interpreting. I also had the distinct privilege of interpreting for the Connecticut Forum, and for the president of NTID in Washington, DC. I famously interpreted for former NYC Mayor Bloomberg, and have also worked for current Mayor De Blasio. I was requested as an interpreter on The View, Nick News, and the Food Network show Chopped.
Between the shifting American social climate and emerging technologies, deaf citizens are finally gaining the kind of access they deserve. But we still have a long way to go! It is my duty to aid in the fight for equality in any way possible.
American sign language is my passion and connecting people is my purpose! I’m humbled to serve both the Deaf and hearing communities through ASL interpreting services, ASL training, ASL mentoring, and active Deaf/ HoH advocacy.