TerpTopics:DEAFNESS: Introduction to ASL and Sign Language Interpreting.
 

"TerpTopics(TM)" "Interpreter Topics Rendered Faithfully (TM)"

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PLEASE READ
(Really Important)

TerpTopics is keenly aware that for hearing sign language interpreters to launch into discourse about deafness can be pretty risky business, especially in writing and on the Internet.  Risky because we deeply respect the American Deaf community, its members, and their culture, and as deeply wish to avoid missteps.

Although interpreters may spend most of their waking time in the company of and facilitating communication with folks who are d/Deaf, the risk is obvious that no matter how well intended and careful we are, honest mistakes can creep into the discussion.  And, when you're talking about a condition, lifestyle, and culture you have not personally experienced, honest mistakes seem to lurk in every corner and under every rock.

When mediating second culture information, a likely culprit of misstep is the mediator's first culture.  It goes without saying that the words on this page passed first through the writer's culture-filter before landing here.  Chances are good that you and the writer share the same [hearing] culture, so ... you know what I mean [sic].  Until now, we have been exploring topics in a way that's rooted in common understanding.  But all that changes as we shift to deafness-related topics.  Now, the discussion becomes in some ways an interpretation - because, like an interpretation, the writer is facilitating communication from a source culture that is not the writer's native culture.

In addition to one's first culture, additional culprits of misstep might be: misunderstanding; limited or no first hand experience; incorrect emphasis; misinformation; misinterpretation; third-party sources; faulty logic; poor or inadequate word choice; misapplied metaphor or idiom; oversight/omission; an endless list, really.

So why take the risk?  If it's so worrisome to put deafness-related information out there, why do it?  The vision of TerpTopics, its raison d'etre, is to introduce the world and work of sign language interpreting to potential and new ASL interpreters, and that world and work so much includes deafness that it could not exist without it.

When we were beginning to learn the language and the culture, and then to enter the profession, we could find not a single cyberspace place that was both newbie-friendly and offered more than the most superficial introduction to the language (ASL), the job (interpreting), and the people (the users of interpreter services).

TerpTopics has great respect for Deaf culture, members of the Deaf community, and American Sign Language.  We hope to sensitively reflect respect, while fulfilling our raison d'etre.  We are humbled by the attempt.

 

Please read Really Important (above) before proceeding to the sub-topics (below).

Please let us know how we are doing.

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Encyclopedia of Deaf People and Deafness
3 volumes; 1,400 pages; 10 1/2 pounds

Here for the first time is a comprehensive single source providing information on every possible aspect of the issues and culture of the deaf and hearing-impaired community. 

It belongs on the shelves of every high school, college, medical, and public library...and is especially useful for government agencies, rehabilitation centers, and all individuals involved in any way with the deaf community...and, of course, for the deaf and hearing-impaired themselves.

Gallaudet Encyclopedia of Deaf People and Deafness

It features 271 articles on sign languages and other methods of communication hearing, audiology, and auditory disorders organizations, associations, publications of the deaf community, rehabilitation, demographics, religion, biographies of distinguished deaf individuals, educational programs, and the conditions and status of the deaf community in most of the major countries around the world. This unique encyclopedia, including an 8,000-entry index and bibliographies for most articles, meets the needs of both professionals and laypersons for clearly written, comprehensive information about the deaf and hearing impaired. 
Published under the sponsorship of Gallaudet College, Washington, DC, the world's only liberal arts college for the deaf, and written by 300 experts from around the world in the fields of sociology, audiology, law, education, psychology, history, and rehabilitation, this unique and authoritative three-volume reference work is broad in scope and international in coverage. 

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This page was edited: 09/13/2009
This page has been visited Hit Counter times since:
October 2008.
TerpTopics is a trademark and service mark of TerpTopics, LLC. © 2008; 2009. All rights reserved.

TerpTopics™ is an independent entity; as such does not claim or attempt to claim, represent, or imply by any means whatsoever that it is associated with any other entity that may or may not offer services, goods, or information of interest to interpreter, Deaf, or student communities.  The opinions expressed here those of TerpTopics unless otherwise stated.  Please keep in mind that, while every effort is made to present correct, appropriate, and reasonable information that is based on our experience, anecdotal experiences of others, or developed during the general course of study and professional development, we do not represent TerpTopics as having cornered the market on wisdom (heck, no!) or experience; one reason why links to several other good and reliable resources are made available throughout this site, and we hope that earnest seekers of knowledge will take advantage of them.

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