Overview of the Project

This is the original overview from the CD-ROM.

The creation of this project is really a series of fortunate events–which for all you Lemony Snicket fans realize doesn’t happen everyday. My wife, Holly, teaches English in a Middle School setting, and as part of her unit on folklore and mythology, invited a number of people into her classroom as guest speakers. One, Lise Lunge-Larsen, was not able to speak at all of the classes. She consented to being videotaped so that her presentation could be shown to the other classes. I assisted with the filming and was impressed. Both the quality of storytelling and the lecture’s framework helped to tie the storytelling to a larger understanding of how language and discourse works. Based on my experience as an interpreter in elementary settings, this seems to be critical in knowing how to effectively interpret and serve as a language model for students who are developing their own linguistic capacity.

So, since the tape was already made, I requested its use from Ms. Lunge-Larsen for this project and she graciously agreed. I then invited Daniel Durant, a Deaf seventh grader, to serve as an audience for my sample interpretations so that there might be some degree of authenticity in that work (and you might have some sense of who the interpretation was directed to.) It is not as authentic as if it were an actual interpretation in the class, but this format allows for greater technical control–and thus clearer video.

In the process of development, I realized that the actual CD could be created to allow you an opportunity to serve as a substitute interpreter. Meeting the classroom teacher and Deaf student in advance. Having a chance to look through some notes from the classroom interpreter who had done a fine job of preparing, but was just unable to be present the day of the lecture. I tried to create a model, if a bit unrealistic, example of how you might get yourself ready for this lecture. So your assignment, before you look at the sample interpretations I created, is to serve as a substitute in the classroom. Do a little preparation and then try your hand at interpreting. There is more information on that on the next page.

The artwork was a final stroke of good fortune. I had been looking for a good picture that I could use…and was having little luck. At Kindergarten Roundup for my daughter, I flippantly asked a neighbor, Tahira Richardson, if she was good at drawing trolls. She gave me a quizzical look as she told me that she had been up late the night before drawing a troll. After my request, she quickly agreed to add color and let me use it. I am grateful for the unifying touch the artwork brings and Tahira’s willingness to share her art.

Taken as a whole, I hope this project provides an opportunity for practicing interpreting English narratives into ASL–and deepening insights into how understanding different genres of language can be of assistance in those efforts. Additionally, I hope it will be a testament to the impact that stories and storytelling can have–and how crucial it is for interpreters to develop their own skills to ensure that Deaf students have access to that power.

Doug Bowen-Bailey

Posted in: Goats, Trolls & Numbskulls