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A History of the English Language...And Why Interpreters Should Care (Archived)

A History of the English Language...And Why Interpreters Should Care (Archived)

Regular price $60.00 Sale

Enjoy this great recorded webinar!

Date: Originally presented March 2024

Time: At your convenience

Location: Your home or office (online)

RID CEUs: 0.4 PS (4 hours)

Cost: $60

Language: English

Workshop Description:

When do interpreters stop and think about that other language…English? ASL interpreters spend a full 50 percent of their work day using and understanding English, but how much time do they spend studying the language? We agree that we are better interpreters for knowing the history of American Sign Language - how it defines a culture, how it has changed and grown over time, and how oppression has influenced its users. Wouldn’t knowing the history of English make us better interpreters still? This webinar provides a fresh perspective on the language -- its usage and variety of users, its history and cultural relevance, and how our use impacts the quality of our interpreted interactions. For many of us, English is our native language, and we rely on an “unconscious competence” to get us through our days. But in this workshop, join writer, director, and recovering English major Alek Lev on a romp through the language of the Canterbury Tales, William Shakespeare, Lady Gaga, and beyond, and uncover the history of English, and why interpreters should care.

Educational Objectives:

At the conclusion of this workshop students will be able to:

  • Classify English into four linguistic eras
  • Name six phenomena through which language changes
  • Compare inflected and uninflected languages
  • Differentiate among accents, dialects, and languages
  • Examine English and ASL idioms
  • Recognize four key English language challenges for interpreters
  • Identify 17 differences between English and ASL

    Presenter Bio:

    Alek Lev

    Alek Lev is a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter (NIC-Master, CI, CT), a director, actor, and writer, and a political organizer. He has interpreted for three presidents, two Broadway shows, and one Beatle. Over the last twenty years, he has worked freelance in New York and Los Angeles, has taught translation at California State University at Northridge, and has presented CEU workshops to interpreters all around the country. Alek graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University with a BA in Theater and English.

    Alek trained at The National Theatre of the Deaf’s Professional Theatre School, and stage managed, interpreted, and performed on to tour with their children’s theater, The Little Theatre of the Deaf. In Los Angeles, he has worked with Deaf West Theatre, appearing in Romeo and Juliet and Flowers for Algernon, directing their Much Ado About Nothing workshop, and rehearsal interpreting for Spring Awakening, At Home at the Zoo, and American Buffalo. In 2023, Alek co-directed Victory Hall Opera’s Orpheus and Erica, a new opera performed by Deaf actors and hearing singers.

    Alek wrote, directed, edited, and produced WHAT?,  a silent, black-and-white silent feature film which tells the story of a Deaf man struggling for respect in Hollywood. The investors were Deaf, the executive producers were Deaf, the cinematographer was Deaf, as was most of the cast. Also the caterer. The film was accepted to 24 film festival across 9 countries, winning 20 awards, including 4 for Best Picture, 4 for Best Actor, 3 for Best Director, and 3 Audience Awards. Then in November of 2023, Alek directed No Plans This Weekend, an entirely improvised feature comedy, currently in post-production.

    As a podcast producer, Alek has created four series: Private Joke: The Official How I Met Your Mother Podcast, Talking Buster Keaton, Meeting Tom Cruise, and his current work, Arts Educators Save the World. This latest show brings together successful artists in conversation with their mentors; Season One launched with Lin-Manuel Miranda (’02) and Season Two concluded with Bradley Whitford (’81).

    Alek also worked on several presidential campaigns, functioning as a campaign surrogate, congressional district team coordinator, city-wide training director, precinct captain organizer, and special project assistant to the State and Field Directors. He also ran - alas, unsuccessfully - to join his local community council.

    His workshops for ASL interpreters include: A History of the English Language (And Why Interpreters Should Care); Acting Tools for Terps: A Crash Course in Sounding Human; The Language of Film: Interpreting for and about Film Production; Caffeinated Classifiers: Coffee, Espresso, and Other Reasons for Living; and the Interpreting Politics series, which includes The Congress; The President; The Courts and the Constitution; and Political Parties and Ideology.

    Born and raised in New York City, Alek now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two children, and espresso machine. Check out all the goodies at


    Full refunds will be given for all written (emailed) requests received within 30 days of purchase. No refunds will be given for requests received after that time but funds may be used toward a future Zaboosh workshop.


    For accommodations please contact us:

    Non-Discrimination Policy:

    Zaboosh does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. 

    This workshop is geared toward working ASL interpreters and interpreting students and is presented in Spoken English.

    *RID credits are sponsored by Zaboosh. Zaboosh is an Approved RID CMP Sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This Professional Studies program is offered for .4 CEUs at the Little/None Content Knowledge Level.

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