In Transition

In Transition

Interactive Situations for Interpreting Practice
on Transitioning to College

Doug Bowen-Bailey | Ketsi Carlson| Nancy Diener | Jonie Langdon-Larson | Sharon Witherspoon

This project is a creation of RSA Region V ITP Award #H160A000008at the College of St. Catherine in partnership with SLICES, LLC and Digiterp Communications.    2002 Distributed in collaboration with the Minnesota Region III Low-incidence Project

In Transition

Overview of Project

This project grew out of a concern over the limited number of resources interpreters have to practice interactive interpreting.  Given the prevalence that this type of interpreting has in both real-life situations and in national certification exams, it seems to be a significant gap worthy of attention.These scenarios attempt to give as realistic a situation as possible–showing a Deaf high school senior and her mother going through a series of meetings with officials at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD).  Two of the scenarios include both the moth-er and daughter, so there is an opportunity to work with the challenges of having two Deaf participants in an interactive event.  This can be a great challenge, and for more information on it specifically, be sure to check out some of the resources listed in the last strategy on the next page.  In some of the situations, there were also situations of overlap–where both a Deaf and hearing person were talking at the same time.  That challenge, too, is addressed in some of the resources mentioned. Having the connected scenarios also allows interpreters to practice the process of preparing for an assignment.  On each page, there are links that you can click on which will take you to information can assist you in preparing for the assignment.   Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to be as prepared as possible before you begin working with the scenario.  In addition, there are links to summaries of each of the situations that you can use for preparation or for assistance in analysis.  On the next page, there are also suggestions for how to go about the process of using this resource.  They are, of course, merely options, and we hope that you will discover even more ways to use these resources. We hope that you find this resource to be both engaging and educational, and we wish you the best of luck in its use.

On behalf of those involved in this project,

Doug Bowen-Bailey

March 2002

Strategies for Pratice

1.  Practice Prediction:

Choose a language to focus on.  For example, if you select ASL as your target for prediction, listen to the English segments of the interaction.  At the end of the turn, pause the video.  Then, make a prediction about what the ASL speaker will say. If working with a partner, make this prediction in ASL, not English, to better prepare your brain for that visual mode.  Then, watch the next segment to see how close your prediction was, and whether it assisted you in comprehending the message.

2.  Analyze Discourse Features:

There are many features of language and discourse that are unique to interactive situations.  Two researchers,Cynthia Roy and Melanie Metzger, make a very compelling case that for interpreters to be successful in managing this process, they must take an active role, rather than attempting to maintain the myth of neutrality.  Here are some of the features that require our attention:

  • Introductions
  • Summonses/Attention-Getting Strategies
  • Turn-taking & Overlap
  • Responses to questions aimed at the interpreter

You can also use the summaries of the situations to assist you in this undertaking.  Since this is a video interaction, not all of these features will be present, but attention to discourse features can contribute to better management of these situations.  More significantly, it will lead to more successful interpretations for actual inter-actions. The first resource listed in Strategy #5 gives a much more in-depth description of how to go about this process.

3.  Interpret in a consecutive manner.

Using the pause button, stop the video at natural pausing places, what linguists term “utterance boundaries.” In general, the ASL sections are shorter because the Deaf participants are generally asking for information, so it should be possible to watch most ASL portions in their entirety. The English sections generally will be longer than can be managed as a single “chunk.”

4.  Interpret in a simultaneous manner.

Particularly in the scenarios with both Jonie and Ketsi, attempt interpreting with a special focus of making it clear to the hearing person who is saying what.  Metzger and Roy call these “relaying factors” and they  signify an instance when interpreters need to generate contributions  in order on to make the event a success.

5.  Read through some of the literature about Interactive Discourse and Interpreting.

Metzger, Melanie, 2000. “Interactive Role-Plays as a Teaching Strategy,” in Roy, ed.  Innovative Practices forTeaching Sign Language Interpreters.  Washington, DC:  Gallaudet University Press.  (This article has a more extensive bibliography on the topic.)

Metzger, Melanie, 1999. “Footing Shifts,” in Winston,  ed. Storytelling and Conversation:  Discourse in DeafCommunities.  Washington, DC:  Gallaudet University Press.

Metzger, Melanie, 1999. Sign language interpreting:  Deconstructing the Myth of Neutrality.Washington, DC:Gallaudet University Press.

Roy, Cynthia. 1999.  Interpreting as a Discourse Process.  Oxford University Press.

Meet Our Actors

This page contains an introduction to all the participants for each of the scenarios.  Be sure to take some time to meet the folks you will be working with in this interactive assignment.  This is their actual information, as opposed to the parts they play in the scenarios.

Outline of Introduction

  • Name is Jonie Langdon-Larson
    • Shows name sign
  • In real life, graduate student at University of Minnesota–St. Paul
  • Working on Social Work degree
    • Graduates in May–Really a mom, though not Ketsi’s mom
  • Has 4 children, three of whom are Deaf

Outline of Introduction

  • Name is Ketsi Carslon
    • Shows  name sign
  • Senior this year
    • Attends MSAD (Minn State Academy for the Deaf) in Faribault

Transcript of Introduction

My name is Sharon Witherspoon.  I work at the UMD Financial Aid office. I’ve been employed here for about 11 1/2 to 12 years.  I work—I see students. I work in an area called the Student Assistance Center.  It’s like a one-stop shop area and any need that the student have, we try to assist them.  And, even if it’s not about financial aid, we try to steer them in the right direction.

Transcript of Introduction

I’m Nancy Diener and I coordinate support services for Deaf, hard of hearing and DeafBlind students at UMD.  My name sign is (shows sign).  And, I would like to tell you that I actually can sign, and if Ketsi came into my office on regular day, I wouldn’t have to have an interpreter.  I could actually communicate with her one on one, butt hen you wouldn’t have anything to practice with, would you?  So, that’s why we set this up and hope you have some good practice time here.

Transcript of Introduction

Hi, my name is Doug Bowen-Bailey and I work as a sign language interpreter and an interpreter educator and mentor, and I’ve also, um, turned into a computer geek.  So, I’m the one who is kind of producing this CD-ROM.  And hope that you enjoy it. I live here in Duluth, Minnesota, with  my partner, Holly, and my two kids, Sylvie and Frost.

At the Access Center

You’ve been asked to interpret a meeting at the Access Center of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  A high school senior, Ketsi, and her Deaf mom, Jonie, are scheduled to meet with Nancy, who is the Coordinator for Deaf and Hard of Hearing services on campus.  Be sure to take the chance to meet them before you start with the assignment.  You might want to visit the Access Center’s web page to get a little background about UMD. (The Access Center is now called Disability Services & Resources – or visit PEPnet to get background info on transitioning issues

Note: There was a misinterpretation of Ketsi’s first question during filming.  See the written summary for details. This note is so you won’t be thrown in practicing if that answer doesn’t match your interpretation.

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Let the Interpreting Begin…

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Summary of Interaction

The following summary is intended as a tool for preparation and as a guide for analysis.  It is not a formal transcription.

Nancy: Hi.

Jonie: Hi.

Nancy: Welcomes them to UMD;  Introduces self and Access; Offers to start with description of programs or for them to ask questions first;

Ketsi: Tells Nancy to go ahead and start

Jonie:Concurs with Ketsi

Nancy:  Describes different services and accommodations that Access Center can provide.  Require documentation of hearing loss; and has information about rights and responsibilities of student and of access Center.  Emphasizes difference between college and high school.  Expect students will make requests for accommodations.  Sometimes, students are unsure about what might be needed for course, and can meet about that.  Asks if they have any questions.

Ketsi: Asks if this is the place to come for complete services with interpreters and help?  (Note:  During actual filming, there was a misinterpretation.  The question was interpreted as:  Are there many students here who require interpreting services)

Nancy: Number of Deaf students vary from year to year, between 2-20 students who use sign.  Also have 10-20 students who are hard of hearing who use services.

Jonie: Expresses interest in response.  Notes that Access Center is for academic support.  Wonders what kind of support there is socially with other deaf students on campus.  Wonders if that is something the Access Center sets up.

Nancy: Social aspect—student can participate in any activity or club on campus.  Interpreters provided for other University-sponsored activity.  Some years have a club specific for Deaf students

Jonie: Says that was what she was talking about.

Nancy:…Depends on student group.  Sometimes Deaf students group together, sometimes socialize in more mainstream ways.

Jonie: That was clarifying—that it’s student motivated…not set up by the office.

Nancy: Right;  Large student center on campus with many groups.  Idea is to promote student leadership.  So, student groups run by students, perhaps with faculty advisor. Advisor could be from this office, or from ASL or Deaf Education departments.

Jonie: OK, asks Ketsi if she has questions.

Ketsi: Currently senior at school for the Deaf.  Has open access to communication with everyone. Would be a big difference at UMD.  So, interpreters more important.  Wonders how much timer equests for interpreters need to be made.

Jonie: Good question.

Nancy: Affirms it’s a good question.  Time varies.  Like one week’s notice.  Can build it in interpreters’weekly schedules.  But if not a week, can still make the request.  Will try their best to fill the request.  Better with notice, but try to fill anything.

Jonie: Asks about interpreters’ certification levels.

Nancy: Says that’s another really good question.  Have 3 full-time interpreters.  (Other years have had as many as 5)  Total staff of 8 interpreters (full and part-time)  4 are certified and 4 are pursuing a study program to take their certification tests.

Jonie: Ok

Nancy: So it is definitely a goal to have all certified interpreters.

Ketsi: Emphasizes importance of clear communication for education.  Wonders what to do if she can’t understand the interpreter, due to using SEE signs or signs Ketsi doesn’t know?

Nancy: Tries to schedule interpreters to match students.  As mainstreamed University, get variety of students who prefer a variety of sign systems.  Interpreters have a variety of skills, both for subject area and related to student preferences.  Interpreters have different specialty areas:  one in Biology; one in Human Services, one more a generalist.  So, try to match signing skill and content area as well to provide best interpretation.

Jonie: Sounds good.  Nice to have plan in place.  Is there a way to provide feedback to interpreters?  Isit formal or informal?

Nancy: Have both;  After each term, all students get eval form for each interpreter in each class.  Can evaluate same interpreter in different classes.  Can provide very specific feedback.  Encourage students and interpreters to maintain dialogue throughout course.  Provide work time for students and interpreters to meet to prepare for a presentation with interpreter—so interpreter prepared for that situation.  Or meet for technical class to meet and review vocabulary.

Jonie: OK, that’s good.

Ketsi:(To Jonie,) reminds her that  she had told Ketsi about ASL classes here for hearing students wanting ASLas their second langauge…

Jonie:(To Ketsi) Says that they have that here.  Asks Nancy if that is correct.

Nancy:Affirms that offer 5 levels of ASL.  Very popular with students.  Many students on campus across all the colleges and majors.  Encourages Deaf students to take ASL class and serve as a teaching assistant later. Offer tutoring class, and student can earn credit and experience in Tutoring Center as ASL tutor.

Jonie: Asks if she means Deaf students can do that.

Nancy:  Yes.  Hearing students find deaf tutors valuable.  Years with native ASL tutors, hearing students do better in classes.

Jonie: Thinking about previous comments, asks if all support services mentioned are included and they don’t have to pay extra for them.

Nancy: Services mandated by ADA and other state statutes.  No cost to them for appropriate academic services.  UMD does require documentation.  And make sure that it is clear what roles and responsibilities are for both student and Access Center.

Jonie: Expresses uncertainty about the last time Ketsi had an audiogram done.

Ketsi:(To Jonie) Thinks maybe 1 or 2 years ago.

Jonie: Thinks maybe even longer  Asks Nancy how recent the audiogram needs to be.

Nancy: Try to have records within 3-5 years.  With hearing loss, if history in high school of using academic support like interpreters is established, shouldn’t be a problem.  If problem arises, would contact them to have one done, but should be OK.

Jonie: Asks about how tutoring works, if it happens with interpreter.

Nancy: Access Center not required to provide tutoring.  Have Tutor Center, and provide interpreters for visit to the center.  Has been more successful over the years.  Tutors have content area expertise and training on how to tutor.  Rarely, interpreters serve as tutor.  But generally, interpreters and students meet for mutual study session, working on vocabulary or preparing for presentation.  Generally use tutor center which is also free.

Jonie: That’s nice.  Asks Ketsi if she has anything else.

Ketsi: Replies in the negative.

Jonie: Asks if Nancy has anything to add.

Nancy: Has material for them with information about application and admissions.  Invites them to contact via e-mail or tty number.

Jonie: That’s nice.

Ketsi: Thanks.

Jonie: Thanks for your time.

Nancy: Thanks for coming.  Hope to see you in fall.


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A Degree in Photography?

You’ve been asked to interpret a meeting with Ketsi and Doug at the Art Department. Ketsi is inter-ested in learning about what programs UMD has for photography. Before you start, read throug the Course Schedule for the Photography Minor and perhaps even go to UMD’s Art Department’s web page.

Photography ~ Minor Only (from 2001 U of M Course catalog)

This minor provides experience with both traditional silver-based photographic processes and digital manipulation from photographic sources. Students learn the principles of design and composition and are introduced to theories of visual communication, particularly within the art and design context.

Minor Requirements (27)

  • Art 1002*—Intro to Art (3)
  • Art 1013—2-D Digital Design (3)
  • Art 1600—Photography I or Art 1607*—Freshman Seminar: Fundamentals of Photography (3)
  • Art 2900*—Visual Literacy (3)
  • Art 3016—2-D Digital Studio I (3)
  • Art 3600—Photography II (3) course must be repeated (6)
  • Art 4600—Photography III (3) course must be repeated (6)
  • Note: Art 1002 is waived for art majors; instead, they take an additional 3 credits in Art 4600, for a total of 9. Art 1605 may be substituted by non-art majors with art department head permission.

* Courses that may be used to fulfill UMD liberal education program requirements. Disclaimer:  This description is taken from the 2001 University of Minnesota Course Catalog, and is solely used for purposes of preparing for the scenario.

Meet the Participants

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Written Summary

The following summary is intended as a tool for preparation and as a guide for analysis.  It is not a formal transcription.

Doug: Opens by thanking Ketsi for interest.  Introduces himself as part of Art Department.  Asks if Ketsi has any specific questions

Ketsi: Asks if need to take 2 years of General Education first, or if can start on Photography major immediately.

Doug: Can take courses throughout.  Clarifies that there is no major, only minor housed in the Art Dept.  Some courses meet General Ed Credits:  Example:  Intro to Art meets requirement for General Ed.

Ketsi: Asks if some of courses offered during summer.

Doug: Responds in affirmative.  Shows list of courses.  Asks if any questions.

Ketsi: Expresses that she hasn’t worked with film, only digital photography.  So is not sure she will like it, and wonders how easy it would be to transfer to another major.

Doug:Responds that many students do that.  Re-affirms that photography courses can meet other requirements so change might not mean an extension of college.  Asks about her photography experience and if she is interested in working with film and darkroom.

Ketsi:Expresses interest in the old-fashioned film, rather than the technological innovations of digital photography.Though hasn’t tried it yet, so isn’t sure if it will really be for her.Asks about the future of the job market in photography.

Doug: Says that film-based photography still used a lot.  Program offers both old and new. Affirms good opportunities in photography.  Example of working for a newspaper. Asks if Ketsi has something selected for a major.

Ketsi:  Clarifies what he means by the question.

Doug:  Photography is minor.  Need to have other field like teaching or business as major to go with photography. Asks if she has another interest.

Ketsi:Plan is to go with photography first, and if that doesn’t work out, to become a language arts teacher.

Doug: Says that lots of other professions can use photography.  Example of teacher using photography with students for projects.  Or in business, using pictures for publicity and marketing.So very good skill to have whatever the field.

Ketsi:Expresses concern about how communication would work in photography.  Can’t have an interpreter all the time.  Wonders how that would work.

Doug:Never had experience with a Deaf photographer. Thinks communication could happen with gestures.  Thinks it could work.  (Phone rings)  Mentions phone.  Asks if there are any other questions.

Ketsi:Says no questions.

Doug: Appreciates Ketsi taking the time.  Hopes he answered questions.

Ketsi: Thanks Doug for answering some questions and clarifying some things she hadn’t thought of.

Doug:Concludes with thank you.

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Show Me the Money

You’ve been asked to interpret a meeting with Ketsi and Jonie in the Financial Aid department.  The counselor that they will be meeting with is Sharon.  Before you start, be sure to meet Sharon.  You also might want to spend some time checking out these websites that provide some information about Financial Aid for colleges in general and for UMD in particular.

Do Some Research

Meet the Financial Aid Counselor

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Interpret the Scenario

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Written Summary

The following summary is intended as a tool for preparation and as a guide for analysis.  It is not a formal transcription.

Sharon:Invites them to have a seat.Jonie:Introduces herself and

Ketsi.Sharon:  Says Hi.  Introduces herself.  Asks if Ketsi is an entering freshman or still in high school?

Ketsi:Currently in high school, will be a freshman.

Sharon:Asks if thinking about attending UMD?


Sharon:Asks what questions they have about financial aid.

Jonie:Asks about accessing money, and what kind of support UMD provides.

Sharon:  First, need to complete FAFSA.  Will give one to them.  Other questions answered in student guide book.  Before FAFSA completed, need taxes and W-2 forms and parents’ taxes.Describes government’s definition of dependent child, which is not what some students expect.

Jonie:So throughout college, she’ll be considered a dependent?

Sharon:Right, if doesn’t fall into categories previously described……Reference to scholarships, UMD’s financial aid website has a place to click for scholarships.  Admissions office also has information on this for incoming freshmen.  Normally, scholarships are for top 5, 10 or 25 % of class based on merit.  Other scholarships are Sep/SALT. ..

Jonie: Asks about if it matters that standards might be different from Ketsi’s school and others.That the top GPA at the Deaf School might be 3.7 compared to a 4.0 at another school.

Sharon:Directs Jonie to Admissions office for that answer.  More knowledgeable with financial aid. Another thing:  to receive financial aid, need to be admitted to university in eligible program, meaning a college like Fine Arts, or College of Education or SBE (School of Business and Economics), or CSE (College of Science and Engineering).   FAFSA allows listing 5 different institutions you are considering attending.  Each will receive report.  Not until you’re admitted will you be able to receive financial aid.  Asks if they have any questions.

Ketsi:Wonders about experience working with Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Sharon:Have students who receive funding from VR.  They require FAFSA to be done, too.  They try to award you based on info from FAFSA.  Starts over describing FAFSA.  It determines your need or EFC (Expected Family Contribution.)  That’s the key figure.  If EFC is 0 to 3700 dollars, eligible for federal Pell Grant.  Below 5800 dollars, eligible for Minnesota State Grant.  Rehab tries to eliminate loans for students.  Need to let counselor know that you are attending classes.  They send voucher to the billing office and also an authorization to the bookstore.  If eligible for state and Pell grants, you’ll receive a combination of those funds together.

Jonie:Asks if State of Minnesota and Pell Grants have to be paid back.

Sharon:Grants and scholarships are gift aid.  Only pay loans back.  Scholarship, grants, rehab funding, all considered gift aid.

Ketsi: Asks if Financial Aid covers all the costs including tutoring, food, dorm.Sharon:If living on-campus, all those things are part of bill.  Tutoring doesn’t cost anything, though.Just go to Tutoring Center.  Bill consists of tuition, fees, housing, possibly phone bill.  Any scholar-ship and grants go towards clearing that bill.  A variety of meal plans if you live on campus.  Some include all means, some only two meals a day.That’s a student’s choice.  Currently, housing runs about 2,300-2,400 per semester.  Cost to attend UMD is 13,442 per year—6172 per semester.  Can get financial aid up to 6172.  Tuition, fees, housing is about 4,000.  The difference would be for use at your discretion.

Jonie:Asks what percentage of students receive financial aid.

Sharon.Doesn’t know.  Office does have stats,  a high percentage.  Includes loans, though some students don’t consider that financial aid.  But it is.  Offer alternative loans, applications from different banks, and SEP loans where State of Minnesota is the lender.  Has lower interest.  Also the Federal Student loan.  Have annual loan limits.  2625 for freshman year.  Only half a semester, so1300 doesn’t go far.   Sophomore receives 3500 per year.  Juniors and seniors receive 5500 per year.  Maximum loan through college is 23,000.  Sounds like a lot, but is eaten up quick.  Most students take 5 years instead of 4.  Wise to talk with counselor and figure out what you want to do. Not come in undecided and take classes you don’t need.  Have additional services available to test your interests.  Encourages students to take advantage of these supportive services.

Jonie:This is very helpful.

Sharon:Once FAFSA filled out, may have more questions.  Can come back or call.  Once information is in system, can check on it.  You may have other questions, if taxes are not done, you can do this process…but we will request verification.  Would require copy of taxes and W-2s.  May have to verify SS# and citizenship.  Has a very good process.  Here to help.

Jonie: Clarifies:  First step fill out FAFSA; Next be accepted to University, then Financial aid Sent.

Sharon:First step is completing FAFSA.  To receive aid, must be accepted to university.  Rehab doesn’t require acceptance, just registering for classes.  For traditional financial aid, have to go through admissions process.  Admissions has application fee, and then an orientation which answers lots of questions.  There’s a financial aid counselor at orientation.  If additional questions, feel free to come into our office right next to admissions office.

Ketsi:Wondering about how to pay down loans.  Any jobs available on campus?

Sharon:Packet also determines eligibility for work study.Two forms of College work study:  need based and/or miscellaneous employment.  Miscellaneous is when department just hires you.  Need based where government pays 70 per cent and department pays 30 per cent.  Jobs posted on-lineat website.  Get paid for hours worked, bi-weekly check.  Awards usually limited to 1,500 becausemany people need it.  If can’t find a job within a month, the award may be taken back.  But can beadded back if you find a job.  Food service and the library hire a lot of students.  Can also approachother departments and ask if they are hiring.  Also a community service work-study program withplaces like Boys and Girls club and America Reads.  So, on campus and off-campus jobs.

Jonie:Appreciates the time to meet.

Sharon:Glad could do it.


Sharon.Bless you and have a good day.Take care.  Nice to meet you.  Be sure I’ll be meeting you again.

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Credit for the Project

Here are all the folks who helped to bring this project into being.  Gratitude goes out to all who helped make this a success.

The Crew for the Project

Actors for Scenarios:

  • Doug Bowen-Bailey
  • Ketsi Carlson
  • Nancy Diener
  • Jonie Langdon-Larson
  • Sharon Witherspoon

Interpreters for Scenarios:

  • Doug Bowen-Bailey
  • Nancy Diener

Filming/Computer Design/Production:

  • Doug Bowen-Bailey

The staff of the RSA Region V Interpreter Training Project:


  • Laurie Swabey

Project Managers:

  • Paula Gajewski
  • Richard Laurion

Administrative Assistant:

  • Darla Barrows