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 was a member of the NTID Alumni Association.
I currently serve as a Vice President on the NYC Metro Board for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), helping to facilitate Governmental relations and advocacy work. Working closely with the President, I strive to establish ongoing relationships with city and state agencies to ensure that quality interpreters are being provided in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Metro RID provides helpful resources for members of the Deaf community, as well as businesses and organizations who wish to develop cultural competency among their employees and managerial teams. As Vice President, I also help to coordinate professional development workshops on a variety of topics in an effort to improve the overall quality of the interpreting community.
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 write about a variety of social, cultural, and advocacy issues surrounding the deaf community. By utilizing pop culture and technology, I have the opportunity to help bridge the culture gap that exists between the deaf and hearing worlds.
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 years, I’ve provided interpreting services for thousands of individuals with diverse communication needs, including some very high profile people. I 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. My services were utilized by Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign, as well as Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour. I have been 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 beginning to gain the kind of access they deserve. But we still have a long way to go! I know it is my duty to aid in the fight for equality in any way possible. This is why I seek to amplify the messages of the deaf community and to help raise the visibility of empowered individuals who are deaf.
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.