Category Archives: Equal Access for Deaf & Hard of Hearing

5 Deaf Accessibility Solutions We Hope to See in 2018

Our society was designed from the ground up to accommodate the needs of able-bodied individuals, so there are times when everyday situations can become a struggle for those who are deaf. There are barriers to basic access that limit the rights and freedoms of those who can not hear, subtly perpetuating an existing structure of oppression.

Even with all our modern technology, progressive innovators have failed to address some of the real problems that persist when it comes to accessibility. Below are 5 accessibility issues that could use more attention in 2018.

Movie Theater Captioning

new-deaf-access-solutions-2018This past month, actor and activist Nyle DiMarco tweeted about his unfortunate experience at AMC Cinemas after attending a screening of the much anticipated Black Panther movie. Frustrated with the wild inconsistency of the captioning, which was dropping entire blocks of dialogue, DiMarco left the theater only ten minutes into the film. Hundreds of other deaf individuals joined DiMarco’s Twitter thread to share their own stories of failed captioning systems and culturally incompetent employees at cinemas; most concluding with a resignation that movie theaters are still not friendly places for deaf or otherwise disabled patrons.

Movie theaters are a place of public accommodation where people from all walks of life are entitled to share an experience. A culturally significant film such as Black Panther, or a film that elicits rabid fandom like the Star Wars series, can be meaningful to people’s lives. Everyone deserves to share in that excitement and collective social moment if they so choose.

The closed captioning devices that deaf movie-goers are given to use make it difficult to focus on both the film, which is in the background, and the screen, which is in the foreground. The constant shift in focus can be exhausting, and can also cause the viewer to miss a great deal of the action in the movie. Captioning glasses offer a similar experience.

When reading tweets in the thread started by DiMarco, it becomes clear that open captioning (with the transcript right on the screen) is the preferred accommodation for deaf audiences. But movie theaters do not want to scare off the much larger audience of hearing people by offering all showings with open captions. Captioned showings are offered infrequently, typically at odd times, and there are even reported instances of movie theaters actually turning off the captioned version after hearing viewers complain.

We live in a time of liquid HD film and 3D IMAX cinematography and hologram performers, but deaf people can’t just enjoy a simple night at the movies. Wouldn’t it be great to see an elegant technological solution that meets the needs of deaf audiences while maintaining appeal to mainstream patrons?

Text-based Emergency Alerts and Service Lines

new-deaf-access-solutions-2018-bAlthough its true that programs like text-911 and text emergency alerts are beginning to roll out across the country, they are still embarrassingly unreliable considering the availability of technological resources in this era. Emergency management systems continue to malfunction, for example the alarming recent false missile alert that was sent out to mobile phones in Hawaii, which was not corrected by a follow-up text for a full 38 minutes.

Those who can hear have more immediate access to updates during emergency situations, which literally places deaf people at a disadvantage for survival. What kind of innovative modern federal emergency alert and management solutions could be created if this issue was granted the kinds of intellectual resources, research funding, and priority that it deserves?

Interpreted Concerts and Performances

kimmell-2chains-performance-asl-translator-cThis is a fact that was for too long hidden, covered up, and denied, so it deserves to be repeated with great frequency: people who are d/Deaf deserve full access to the cultural arts!

People who are deaf deserve access to every moment of shared collective joy, pain, awe, introspection, and outward rage that can be elicited through performance. To deny a person this experience is to deny them access to the very culture in which they live and the possibility of meaningful human connection. From Broadway shows, to the national anthem at a baseball game, to a pop concert, and everything in between, each and every person in attendance should be able to share in the energy.

This is an accessibility issue that can be resolved without the use of robotics or engineering! For those who use ASL to communicate, a properly placed, qualified sign language interpreter is the best option for full access, and if possible, hiring a deaf interpreter or trained performer. Yet there remains a stubborn set of barriers when it comes to access for the performing arts, namely a lack of cultural competency when it comes to accommodating a deaf audience. Often those organizing and hosting cultural events overlook their ADA obligation to provide equal access when creating a budget for the production, then find themselves scrambling to find the funding for accommodations.

Performing arts are an outlet for self expression; a way to explore complex human emotions and taboo topics. Theaters, venues, and even musicians themselves are being pressured to evolve to meet the demands of culturally aware audiences, who value inclusion.

Video phone services in jails and prisons

new-deaf-access-solutions-prisons-incarcerated-2018The rights of deaf inmates are extremely limited and often violated. There are thousands of deaf prisoners all across the country — a number of them wrongfully convicted — yet less than 10 prisons in the United States have video phones.

Inmates are routinely denied access to their families, friends and legal counsel because effective communication technologies are not present, or because the staff does not know how to operate or “supervise” calls on the outdated and unreliable equipment. Incarcerated deaf people grow increasingly isolated.

As inmates, deaf people are left out of orientations and safety meetings, and denied possibilities for social interaction. Prison televisions without captioning remove yet another line to the outside world. Deaf prisoners are denied access to post-secondary education and extracurricular activities. The end result is emotional withdrawal and deteriorating mental health.

The increase of civil rights activism in our country paired with the constant evolution of technologies could truly benefit prisoners who are deaf. Technological developers seeking a way to “give back” or solve a real social problem should consider assisting this extremely marginalized and silenced segment of the population.

Public and private transportation

new-deaf-access-solutions-notifications-emergencies-2018-bIt’s hard to believe that it’s 2018 and we still haven’t found a consistent and effective means of communicating time, gate, and route changes for major transportation methods. Deaf people still frequently miss train and plane announcements, which often happen at the last minute. Visual notifications at airports can lag, and airport staff are not all trained to be culturally aware when interacting with a lost passenger who is deaf.

Transportations apps are great in theory, but in-practice they’re often glitchy, not updated in real-time, or cannot be accessed while traveling underground. This not only impacts deaf passengers. For example: if a flight boards 30 minutes early, any passengers who have just stepped out to get some fresh air or who are in a smoking area can very easily miss the overhead announcement. Transportation companion apps are rarely innovative or even user-friendly. Sometimes the apps work smoothly and as intended, then other times the apps crash or close out at critical moments, leaving travelers without the tools they need. For passengers who can not hear, this can be very confusing and frustrating.

If airlines and public transportation companies hope to regain the numbers they continue to lose, they may want to make a serious investment in the way they digitally connect with passengers. Making transportation a seamless and integrated experience in people’s lives can help more people experience the benefits of traveling.

new-deaf-access-solutions-robotics-ai-2018-eIntricate robotic communication devices, such as “sign language gloves” and intuitive interpreting apps, have always captivated the minds of innovators looking to help bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing world. If advanced to a stage of development where they functioned as intended, these types of devices would offer an interesting new option for deaf and hearing individuals to communicate in one-to-one, or maybe even small group settings. However, most people who are actively involved with the deaf community know that navigating the language barrier during calm, planned personal interactions isn’t the most pressing accessibility issue that people who are d/Deaf/Hard of hearing face.

Perhaps before developing all sorts of high-tech “solutions,” ambitious innovators could slow down and take a moment to understand the real problems faced by the deaf and disabled communities. They could help to level the playing field for these communities moving forward. By creating genuine connections with the people that they hope to help, socially-minded individuals in the STEM fields can truly begin to change the world.

Promoting Inclusive Events to Reach Deaf Audiences

deaf-hoh-inclusivity-events-parties-01So you’ve planned an event: choose a date, gave it an official name, rented a space, perhaps you rented tables and chairs, and booked speakers or performers. It’s happening! Recognizing the value of creating an inclusive space, you even took the steps to ensure communication access by hiring ASL interpreters. But since so many events are NOT inclusive, how can you get the message out there to the deaf community that they are welcomed at your event?

deaf-hoh-inclusivity-events-parties-02Placing emphasis on equal access, some organizations now book interpreting services for their events without knowing for sure whether there will be any deaf attendees. These efforts are obviously well-intentioned, but unless d/Deaf/HoH individuals are made aware that the event is happening and that interpreters will be provided, it does not have the kind of impact that it could.

To help event-planners and organizers more effectively reach the d/Deaf community, here are some suggestions for promoting your next inclusive event.

TRADITIONAL MEDIA

There is nothing wrong with using classic advertising outlets to reach deaf audiences, in fact it’s a great idea! When promoting your event in mainstream newspapers, independent papers, in magazines, or on TV, be sure it gets highlighted that interpreters will be provided. Include the logo for ASL interpreter on any graphics. If you send a press kit, place emphasis on importance of inclusion and equal communication access. Make sure any literature about the event includes this information near the top so writers and editors don’t miss it.

LOCAL PROMOTION

deaf-hoh-inclusivity-events-parties-03To reach the deaf population within your community, create eye-catching fliers and distribute them in areas that get heavy traffic. Libraries, gyms, coffee shops, community centers or schools (especially schools for the deaf) are good places to start. Make sure your flier prominently includes the fact that ASL interpreters and/or other access will be provided. Try using the logo for ASL interpreter somewhere that it can easily be seen.

LOCAL SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS

While Deaf Clubs are not as popular as they once were, searching “Deaf Club [your city name]” on the internet may still be an easy way to connect with the local deaf deaf-hoh-inclusivity-events-parties-04community. If there is a website, social media page, or message board for a local Deaf Club, try reaching out with information about your event. See if you can find the right person to help you distribute the information effectively. You may also want to search “Deaf Events [your city name]” or “Deaf Meetup [your city name],” which is a site popularly used by the community to organize informal gatherings. If you find there is a local group of deaf individuals who get together for coffee, ask if you could drop off some promotional materials at their next meeting. Ask around at any local churches that offer ASL interpreted prayer to see if they have deaf congregation members that might be interested in your event. Or maybe there’s a Deaf yoga group? A little networking can go a long way!

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has chapters in every state, as well as active junior chapters in some state — NAD would be a good point of contact if you were organizing a political rally or large public event of that sort. The NAD website has links to state organizations.

SOCIAL MEDIA

deaf-hoh-inclusivity-events-parties-05The widespread use of social media has made is easier than ever for individuals who are deaf to stay connected, both with each other and with the majority hearing culture. If you don’t know where to start, Facebook is an excellent tool for promoting your event to the local community. First: create an “Event” page using your brand’s Facebook page, if you have not already done so. Include all the relevant details about the event, and make sure it clearly states that ASL interpreters will be provided. Promote this event on your brand/ organization’s Facebook page on a regular basis to make sure your fans see it. You might want to “pin” the post to the top of you page.

Overall, advertising on Facebook is relatively inexpensive and makes it easy to get your message out there. To test the waters a little bit, try making a “Boosted Post” on your organization’s Facebook page.

  1. Find or create an appealing graphic to use as your ad. Do NOT use an event flier covered in text because Facebook will not allow you to boost the post if there is too much text on the image. High quality stock images can definitely be used for this purpose, and a small amount of text (perhaps just the event name and date) should be ok.
  2. Now create an alluring caption for the image that entices people to learn more about what you are doing. This content should include the DATE, TIME, and LOCATION. Copy the Facebook URL for the “Event” page that you already created and then paste it at either the start or end of your caption. Make sure you include this link! I suggest saying something like “Learn More Here: [Event Page Link]”
  3. Go ahead and post it!
  4. Click “Boost Post.” In this menu, you can get as specific or broad as you’d like with regards to who the boosted post is seen by. You can narrow it down by city, region, interests, education, and more. Play around with these settings to tailor your audience. Then choose how much money you will spend to boost the post (even $10 or $20 can go a long way), and the duration of time that it will be promoted for. And that should be it!

deaf-hoh-inclusivity-events-parties-06If you have more time and are looking to foster a deeper connection to the deaf online community, try following the #Deaf hashtag for a while, follow deaf individuals, and observe public discussions on all different outlets. Soon, you will be able to start identifying the more active influencers. Engage these individuals, use your own platform to share their messages, and develop a solid repertoire. Then, the next time you have an event to promote, these individuals will be more likely to reciprocate and share your information with their audiences. Investing in these mutually beneficial relationships can be worth it in the long run.

One example of this in NYC would be the Deaf NYC News Facebook page.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

Individuals who are deaf are out there living their lives around you at all times, and they enjoy all sorts of different things— so feel free to get creative with marketing. The “Deaf community” isn’t some stereotype box that people fit neatly into, and “Deaf Clubs” aren’t the only place you’ll find deaf people.

For example: if you were promoting an upcoming musical event with ASL interpreters, you would want this message to reach deaf music-lovers. Maybe you could contact local college music programs, open mic nights, or music shops to see if they could put the word out there for you, too. If you were organizing an ASL interpreted art event, it might be a good idea to connect with local schools, arts and craft stores, museums, galleries, and prominent local artists to help spread the news. Be sure to emphasize that interpreting services will be provided!

deaf-hoh-inclusivity-events-parties-07Building communication access into your event is a progressive step toward creating an inclusive society. But after so many years of being forgotten about by hearing event organizers, people who are deaf can not safely assume interpreters will be available. When offering equal access for an event, it is important that the promotions and marketing make it clear that ASL interpreting services will be provided.

It is also crucial that news about your event reaches members of the local deaf community. Don’t get discouraged if your first event does not attract dozens of individuals who are deaf. Consistency is key! Over time, as you regularly provide interpreters and advertise communication access, word will spread and your organization will earn a reputation for being deaf-friendly.

LC Interpreting Service is pleased to offer qualified interpreters in New York City and New Jersey for a wide variety or entertainment or professional events. We make the process for securing interpreters and providing equal access as simple as possible. LCIS offers quality services for deaf consumers with a strong emphasis on client satisfaction.

Why Interpreter Visibility Matters

asl-interpreters-importance-emergencies-01Finally— more than 25 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed to help guarantee basic access in public spaces for people who are disabled— businesses and organizations have started to realize that providing sign language interpreters upon request is not only the right thing to do, but it is actually the law. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it still leaves us a long way from equality. Unlike those who can hear, individuals who are deaf continue to shoulder the burden of planning in advance and then requesting accommodations if they wish to do anything as simple as attending a concert or lecture.

Lately, however, I am seeing an interesting and promising trend. Working in the field, I have noticed some organizations booking ASL interpreting services for events without knowing for sure whether there would be a deaf attendee. This type of cultural awareness is pivotal.

asl-interpreters-importance-protest-02When organizations make the decision to consistently offer communication access (without being asked), the impact is two-fold. On one hand, they are creating an environment where access is a priority, which will naturally foster greater diversity among patrons. On the other hand, they are providing a model of inclusion that all attendees will recall moving forward. Just think about how those videos of ASL interpreters at music festivals tend to go viral— this is, in part, because equal access at musical events has been so rare that it is worth noting when it happens. People, both deaf and hearing, remember the awesome ASL interpreter.

Access should be provided everywhere from museums, to Q&A sessions with authors, to comedy clubs and sporting events. We should see interpreters on screen during political speeches and on daytime television talk shows. Top tier performing artists could use just a small fraction of their touring budget to hire interpreters for every show, as a way to show recognition and appreciation for Deaf fans. The more hearing people see interpreters at work, the more they will begin to understand that people who are deaf exist around them at all times, and that deaf people have the right to participate in society on an equal level.

asl-interpreters-importance-concerts-03For events themed around diversity or the empowerment of minority groups, it is especially important to ensure communication access is provided. When d/Deaf/HoH individuals attend these types of events and there is no interpreter or captioning available, it can cause doubt about the sincerity of the “inclusive” message of these movements. Inclusion means everyone can participate. The d/Deaf community has long been championing for civil rights in America, so communication access between deaf and hearing individuals can truly benefit an activist cause.

Accessibility ought to be considered a basic cost of doing business. According to the 2010 US Census data, about 19% of Americans report having a disability of some type. This is approximately 1 in 5 individuals. At the end of the day, if a building has provided a wheelchair asl-interpreters-importance-politics-05ramp and/or braille signage, or any other disability accommodations, then the entities providing services within the building should also be prepared to offer sign language interpreters on an as-needed basis. This can be as simple as establishing a service agreement with a local interpreting agency, so ASL interpreters can easily be requested at any time. It is the law, but most importantly: is the right thing to do. When organizing an event that is open to the public, take a moment to consider how multicultural our modern society is, and plan accordingly.

Awareness is created when people, both deaf and hearing, see ASL interpreters being provided on a consistent basis. If it were common to see interpreters at work, people would cease to view communication access as a novelty, and come to understand it as a necessity. This shift is happening slowly, as people who are d/Deaf are tired of being marginalized and silenced, pushed to the fringes of society. Businesses and organizations can either be ahead of this progressive turn, or they can get left behind still struggling to understand concepts like cultural competency and diversity in 2017.

Deaf Influence on Consumer Technology

deaf-influence-technology-01When hearing people think about exciting new technologies for those who are deaf, their minds most likely jump to the latest developments in cochlear implants or hearing aids. Or perhaps they may vaguely recall reading about any number of devices being developed to translate sign language into speech (or speech into ASL, or ASL into text). When hearing people think about deafness in general, they tend to think only in terms of “problems” and “solutions.” Luxury technology now forms a cornerstone of our sleek American culture, yet very few innovations seek to enhance — or even consider — the real diversity of the modern user base.

deaf-influence-technology-deafgamers-tv-02Chris (“Phoenix”) Robinson, who has severe hearing loss in his right ear and is completely deaf in his left, and Brandon (“Zero”) Chan, who is deaf, began their Twitch.tv channel DeafGamersTV with a seemingly simple goal: break down the barrier between deaf and hearing people in the gaming world. Where most gamers take for granted the ability to just log on and join in, Chris and Brandon found themselves kicked off teams and cyber bullied on some platforms simply because they don’t use microphones to communicate. They began the DeafGamersTV channel to educate and raise awareness about deafness in gaming, and to create a community of people who are interested in connecting across languages to have fun!

deaf-influence-technology-03Underlying the efforts of the DeafGamers is the audist  assumption that people who are deaf do not play video games, and therefore do not need an equal opportunity to participate in the online gaming community. When we look even deeper, we see that assumption across the board when it comes to emerging technologies. It has been assumed that people who are deaf don’t want to watch streamed content, use shortcut features on their devices, or engage in online spaces dominated by hearing individuals. If one barrier to access is the ability to speak and/or hear, then casual socializing, convenience, and luxury are thereby commodities of the hearing majority: even in the “wild west” world of new tech.

deaf-influence-technology-sub-pac-vest-03Innovators and entrepreneurs have only recently begun to recognize a major void in the market for accessible technologies. The DeafGamers were recently contacted by SubPac, a Los Angeles based company specializing in tactile audio technology that transfers low frequencies (bass) directly to a user’s body. “They provided us with a SubPac vest and SubPac chair strap so we can show how it actually helps us feel the game,” explained Robinson.

The SubPac vests have been used and endorsed by artists, from Deaf dancer Saheem Sanchez to Timbaland. During the Dancing With the Stars season 22 finale, Nyle DiMarco’s friends and family section was equipped with SubPacs so this deaf guests could actually enjoy the sensations of the songs while they watched him perform.

deaf-influence-technology-vibeat-05Overseas, The Junge Symphoniker, a symphony orchestra in Hamburg, is utilizing “The Sound Shirt” in their concerts. This wearable device uses strategically placed microphones on the stage to convert the nuanced vibrations of a live symphony orchestra performance into a fully body experience for the person wearing the shirt. Industrial designer Liron Gino recently demoed her prototype for Vibeat, a set of vibrating Bluetooth devices designed to “provide a parallel sensory experience to that which a hearing person might have when using a portable music player with headphones.”

These new devices are part of a growing set of consumer technologies that consider accessibility an asset, instead an inconvenience. This trend demonstrates a shift, however slight, in the way our culture views people who are deaf. No longer perceived as perpetual victims of circumstance whose only desire is communicating with the hearing world; deaf individuals are now being seen as average Americans seeking ways to make life more simple, pleasurable, and fun.

deaf-influence-technology-christine-sun-kim-06People who are deaf are actively dismantling stereotypes, and technology plays a large role in this movement. DJ Robbie Wilde, who is deaf, utilizes a software program called Serrato that allows him to see the different waveforms when he is mixing and performing. Artist and Senior TED Fellow Christine Sun Kim uses a variety of speakers, paints, projections, lights, balloons and more, to translate sound into electricity and vibrations, and then into visual art. The Signly Keyboard App, backed by non-profit ASLized, brought ASL emojis to a very eager community of deaf texters, offering a more enjoyable and precise way to communicate in their own language.

Designing technology specifically for use by the deaf community is all well and good in theory, but unfortunately, there is a financial reality to face. The cost of production for new devices can be high, therefore companies like SubPac must find ways to appeal to a wider market.

deaf-influence-technology-rit-07“I love music and I want deaf people to have the opportunity to experience music,” explains Gary Behm, Director of the RIT/ NTID Center on Access Technology. “But for this type of equipment to be cost-effective, it must also benefit the hearing community. Businesses need to make a profit.”

Behm works with deaf students at NTID to create technologies that help deaf and hard of hearing individuals gain better access to a world designed by, and for, the hearing majority. These students are improving access in homes, businesses, and especially classrooms— opening up an increasing number of opportunities for future generations! Behm says NTID has been very involved in making the STEM field more accessible through educational outreach programs like the Master of Science program in Secondary Education (MSSE), and DeafTEC.

According to the DeafTEC website: “The goal of DeafTEC is to successfully integrate more deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals into the workplace in highly-skilled technician jobs in which these individuals are currently under-represented and underutilized.” Behm emphasizes the importance of laying a strong educational foundation at a young age, and encouraging middle and high school age children who are deaf to explore their interest in technology-related fields. By fostering curiosity and innovation from childhood all the way through higher education, we see the effects ripple out to impact society at large. “Anything that we invent as the deaf will benefit the hearing community as well,’ says Behm.

deaf-influence-technology-08“The principle of universal design ensures people with disabilities can access your website while improving the experience for people without disabilities,” explains David Peter, a software developer who is deaf, in his article for Model View Culture. “Universal design has its roots in architecture; wheelchair users cannot climb sidewalks, so sidewalks dropped their curbs — this also benefitted, among others, skateboarders and parents pushing strollers….If we want the best product experience, accessibility must always be considered a line-item, just like you would consider security, performance, and internationalization.”

With more community members using mainstream platforms to advocate for access, and an increasing number of d/Deaf individuals choosing STEM careers, the technological landscape is adjusting to the reality that people who are deaf use technology just as much, if not more, than everyone else. From smartphone apps to fancy new devices, companies that demonstrate an appreciation for diversity by building accessibility right into their products are sure to gain larger numbers of loyal users. After being disenfranchised and overlooked for too long, people who are deaf are using technology to build a future that actually includes them.

Conference Interpreting

deaf-equal-access-events-conferences-01Picture this: you’re attending a lecture from a highly respected professional in your field. The lecture was well publicized and draws a large regional or national audience. When this person takes the stage to speak, however, you can hardly understand a word they say. Your peers are jotting down notes and nodding their heads in agreement, but you feel completely lost. When the lecture ends, the other attendees all begin discussing the topics amongst themselves, but once again you are left out of the conversation.

This frustrating experience might be all to familiar for conference attendees who are deaf. Organizing a conference takes a great deal of preparation, but one thing that frequently gets overlooked is the quality of sign language interpreters. After investing months of energy into creating a successful event, it only makes sense to provide equal access for all individuals. When experts take the stage to address the audience, their precise message should be clear to everyone in attendance. When attendees are debating hot industry topics and building their networks, people who are deaf deserve reliable access to the conversations around them.

deaf-equal-access-events-conferences-02Providing qualified Platform Interpreters, also known as Conference Interpreters, helps ensure that people who are deaf can access and participate equally in organized events such as lectures, seminars, workshops, trainings, and professional development events. The services of these interpreters will be utilized during formal presentations, breakout sessions, and all social opportunities throughout the conference. High quality Platform Interpreters possess a skill set which enables them to accurately communicate the important and often specific information being presented in real-time.

Fluent in ASL/ English

 deaf-equal-access-events-conferences-03People around the world watched on television as the interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s funeral signed nonsense to deaf South Africans. It was a very public example of an unfortunate problem. This type of service is unacceptable, and it is the responsibility of event organizers to make sure that deaf attendees get the quality of communication access that they deserve.

Basic fluency in the spoken and signed languages is a good start but, above and beyond that, qualified Conference Interpreters will be certified professionals with strong language skills and experience. They will also understand any topical vocabulary and common industry phrases. Since most conference interpreting happens simultaneously, meaning the interpreter is providing interpretation at the same time the message is being delivered, they must have a firm grasp of the overall message so they can follow along with the speakers.

Preparedness

deaf-equal-access-events-conferences-04Simultaneous interpreting can be a real challenge without sufficient preparation. To accurately represent both event speakers and deaf consumers, qualified Conference Interpreters will do their homework. They will research the mission of the organization and the intention of the event. They will learn the names of the presenters and a little bit about their background. A great Platform Interpreter will request conference documents, multimedia, and speakers notes in advance. They know the speaker’s motives and are able to faithfully deliver their message.

A high quality Conference Interpreter learns how the event will be set up and how the schedule is expected to flow before the interpreting assignment begins. They know the best place to sit or stand during each portion of the conference and will educate the organizers to be sure they are placed in such a way that deaf attendees have full access to the speaker, presentation, or group.

Multitasking

deaf-equal-access-events-conferences-05Conferences are whirlwind events which can overwhelm individuals who aren’t skilled at managing multiple tasks. Interpreters will be utilized during all the different presentations, breakout sessions, workshops, socializing, and networking possibilities

Qualified Conference Interpreters should be flexible, yet organized to meet the needs of deaf consumers. They are confident in their preparation, yet able to roll with the changes that are often inevitable in a large coordinated event.

Team Player

deaf-equal-access-events-conferences-06Depending on the length of the event, the type of event, and the number of deaf attendees present, interpreters will be working in a team of at least two, possibly more ASL interpreters. Supporting the team is one of the most important roles of a Conference Interpreter. Interpreters must communicate their needs while meeting the expectations of other interpreters and deaf consumers.

The interpreting team should be well-coordinated and always working together to ensure accurate and clear communication access.

Qualified Conference interpreters keep one another informed and on point. They will also advocate for the use of CDIs whenever appropriate.

Educator

deaf-equal-access-events-conferences-07Qualified Conference Interpreters will ensure they have adequate working conditions. This includes contacting the event organizer and letting them know the technical requirements or providing service. Interpreters should also be ready to educate hearing entities about the basic function of an ASL interpreter and how to work with one. In some instances, interpreters must advocate to be on stage, on camera, or near a presenter.

Sense of Boundaries

deaf-equal-access-events-conferences-08A good Platform Interpreter knows his or her limits and will not take on an assignment outside the scope of their skill set. Additionally, they will not accept an assignment where they feel a personal bias or ethical conflict might prevent them from effectively facilitating communication.

 

LC Interpreting Service is pleased to offer qualified Conference Interpreters in New York City for a wide variety or entertainment or professional events. We make the process for securing interpreters and providing equal access as simple as possible. LCIS offers quality services for deaf consumers with a strong emphasis on client satisfaction.

Request Services

References:

http://aiic.net/page/628/practical-guide-for-professional-conference-interpreters/lang/1

http://www.streetleverage.com/2011/07/conference-interpreting-there-are-rules-of-engagement/

http://www.streetleverage.com/2013/12/sign-language-interpreters-how-to-avoid-being-abandoned-at-the-microphone/

http://asnwonline.com/coordinating-interpreters-for-conferences/

 

 

Religious Interpreting

Religious freedom is one of our core American beliefs. Whether a person is Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, or any other faith; all individuals should have the opportunity to connect with a spiritual community. Because religious texts can be complex, and services are full of symbolic tales, it can be difficult for people whose native language… Continue Reading

Stop Making Excuses and Start Captioning All Your Videos

Imagine this: you sit down on Sunday evening to stream a popular TV program– that show everyone will be discussing tomorrow. When the show starts, however, all the characters are using a completely foreign language. You can’t understand a thing! There are no subtitles and no closed captioning. Everyone on your Twitter feed is chatting… Continue Reading

2014: Deaf Culture Totally Had a Moment

This past year was a very visible one for Deaf Culture and American Sign Language. From viral videos to late night TV appearances, mainstream audiences just couldn’t get enough of Deaf superstars or their fascinating visual language. As we leave 2014, let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable Deaf pop culture… Continue Reading

Deaf Rights: What You Need to Know

Working in the Deaf community, I’ve noticed a great deal of confusion surrounding the legal rights of the Deaf. Both Deaf and hearing individuals have difficulty understanding what accommodations deaf people are entitled to, and how exactly those needs get met. I recently had a chance to discuss these important issues with Sheryl Eisenberg-Michalowski, who… Continue Reading

Can Digital Devices Replace Interpreters?

While walking the streets of New York, nearly every person I see is staring down at a screen, fully engaged with digital devices. Through technology, our world has become incredibly connected; yet disconnected at the same time. There is comfort in being able to communicate without regard to time or distance but, somehow all this… Continue Reading