Views from the Voting Booth: Deaf Perspectives on the Importance of Voting

Ideas for Interpreter Education

This project presents a group of texts which all have the goal of persuasion. In the collective resources of our profession, there are few examples of persuasive or argumentative discourse in ASL. Here are a few examples of how to work with these texts with the goals of increasing our capacity for interpreting the discourse of political persuasion. They are presented here not necessarily in any systematic order. Digiterp Communications hopes to develop a more complete Independent Study Packet to focus on persuasive discourse.

  1. Watch 3-4 ASL texts and analyze their salient linguistic features. Note what rhetorical forms are used in attempting to persuade; for example the use of personal experience or use of space in comparing and contrasting ideas. For more information on the process of analyzing discourse, see the free study packet developed for “Life in Parallel.
  2. Develop written translations of ASL texts. Compare and contrast with written translations created by Doug Bowen-Bailey and provided on this site. If you are working with other people, discuss what portions of each translation you feel are more effective.
  3. Collect perspectives in English. Using the question, “Why is it important to vote?,” collect responses from at least 5 people who are native English speakers. Using audio or video, tape the perspectives and then transcribe them.
  4. Analyze salient linguistic features of spoken English responses. Note what rhetorical forms are used. Some examples to look for: narratives of personal experience; either/or constructions (i.e. either this happens or that will happen); or slippery slope arguments (i.e. if you let this happen, then a worst-case scenario will follow).
  5. Videotape your own perspective. Using both spoken English and sign language, respond to the question, “Why is it important to vote?” Analyze your own responses to see how effectively you were able to incorporate the linguistic features you noted in your analysis of the ASL and English texts.
  6. Create English interpretations of ASL texts of Deaf perspectives. Using what you have learned about persuasive texts in both ASL and English, videotape yourself producing interpretations of some of the texts. Compare the interpretations with the written translations for accuracy as well as to see if they contain the linguistic features you noticed in your discourse analysis.
  7. Create ASL interpretations of spoken English texts. Beginning with Jeff Moen’s captioned text in Deaf Perspectives from Minnesota, create an interpretation. Videotape your interpretation and compare it to the one created by Doug Bowen-Bailey in the non-captioned version?s of Jeff?s text. Then, create interpretations of the spoken English responses you collected. Videotape your interpretations and analyze them to see how effectively you were able to incorporate the linguistic features you noted in your analysis of the ASL texts on this resource.