Just Betweeen Us

Just Between UsFour Interactive Situations for Interpreting Practice
with Doug Bowen-Bailey, Patty Gordon & Debbie Peterson

This project was created in 2001 by Digiterp Communications
with funding and support from the Minnesota Region III Low Incidence Project and the Minnesota Department of Children, Families, and Learning

Just Between Us

Strategies for Practice

There are many possibilities for working with these interactive scenarios. What is suggested here may lead you to consider new ways of preparing to work in interactive settings.

1. Practice prediction skills

Given the information in the introductions (both written and signed), spend several minutes predicting what topics and themes may be in the dialogue. In addition, you may want to generate a list of fingerspelled words that you might expect to see.

2. Practice interpreting in a consecutive manner

The video segments were edited to include a fade out and some additional time between each turn. Because of this, it is possible to pause the video by clicking the Play/Pause Button on the control bar at the bottom of the video window. An easy way to do this is just have your mouse positioned over the button and click your mouse to pause and start the movie.

3. Practice interpreting in a simultaneous manner with more processing time

Because of the added time separating speaker turns, it is possible to give yourself more processing time for your interpretation. The amount of time added is:

  • Visit to the Vet: 3 seconds
  • Travels in Africa: 2.5 seconds
  • Parent-Teacher Conference: 2 seconds
  • In Trouble at School: 1 second

Near the bottom of each page, the amount of extra time is also stated. You may choose to work in a consecutive manner with initial scenarios, and then move to working in a simultaneous manner with the latter situations. Regardless of what strategies you choose, we hope that this resource will prove to be beneficial as you seek to improve your interpreting skills in interactive settings.

About the Actors

Debbie Peterson

Debbie Peterson, CDI-P, hails from a Deaf family in Alabama.  She received a B.A. degree in Psychology from Gallaudet University and a M.A. in Teaching ASL Program (TAP) from Western Maryland College.  She was an ASL instructor and coordinator of ASL Programs in Maryland, Alabama, and Minnesota.  She coordinated the Educational Interpreter Training Grant Program at St. Paul Technical College before moving to Seattle, Washington.  She is now teaching at the Interpreter Training Program at Seattle Central Community College.  She is on the RID – CDI Task Force, implementing the written the test for Deaf Interpreters.

Patty Gordon

Patty Gordon, CI,CT, has a B.A. in Linguistics from Metropolitan State University.  She is working towards a Master’s in Interpreter Education at the University of Colorado- Boulder. In addition to community interpreting work, she designs and provides support services to mentors working with interpreters in K-12 settings.  Her experience as an interpreter educator includes work at  Western Oregon University; the College of St. Catherine; Front Range Community College as well as work-shops on the interpreting process, peer assessment and feedback, discourse analysis and ASL-English skill development.  She is a Co-Author of the “MRID Self-Paced Modules for Educational Interpreters” and “A Plan for Mentorship of Educational Interpreters in Minnesota”.

Doug Bowen-Bailey

Doug Bowen-Bailey, CI,CT, lives and works in Duluth, Minnesota.  He coordinates mentoring for educational interpreters through the Northeast Service Cooperative and teaches an ASL V course at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  He also presents workshops on a variety of topics related to interpreting.  Most recently, he is a bit surprised to find himself turning into a computer geek who is producing a series of CD-ROMs.

A Visit to the Vet

In the following situation, Patty brings her two cats to the office of Dr. Debbie Peterson, veterinarian extraordinaire.

Intro from Dr. Peterson

Complete Scenario

This length of this situation is 9:10.  Three seconds are added between turns.

Travels in Africa

In the following situation, Debbie interviews Doug about his study-abroad experience in Zimbabwe and his time in other countries in Africa.

Background Information

Zimbabwe map

Zimbabwe is a landlocked nation in Southern Africa.  Formerly Rhodesia, it became the independent Republic of Zimbabwe in 1980.  English is the

Official Language and Shona and Ndebele, the languages of the two largest ethnic groups, are the national languages.

For more information, visit:  www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Country_Specific/Zimbabwe.html

Intro to Travels in Africa

Complete Scenario

This length of this situation is 11:11.  Two and a half seconds are added between turns.

In Trouble at School

In the following situation, Debbie is the parent of a boy named Doug who was recently caught smoking marijuana on school grounds.  Patty is the school counselor who has called a meeting to break the news to Debbie as part of the school’s Zero Tolerance Policy.

Intro to “In Trouble at School”

“In Trouble at School”

This length of this situation is 11:21.  One second is added between turns.

A Parent-Teacher Conference

In the following situation, Debbie is the parent of a Deaf 5th-grade student, Jaime.  She is having a meeting with Patty, Jaime’s mainstream teacher, to find out about her progress in class. (A note on the audio:  This was filmed in a room next to where a party was taking place.  There are points when there is some extraneous noise, but we hope it is not too much of a distraction.)

Intro to “A Parent-Teacher Conference”

A Parent-Teacher Conference

This length of this situation is 23.39.  Two seconds are added between turns.


The staff of the Region III Low-Incidence Project:

  • Regional Low-Incidence Facilitator:  Pat Brandstaetter
  • Administrative Assistant:  Tasha Honkola

Actors for Scenarios:

  • Doug Bowen-Bailey
  • Patty Gordon
  • Debbie Peterson

Computer Design/Producer:

Doug Bowen-Bailey
Digiterp Communications