Center for Atypical Language Interpreting (CALI): Findings from the analysis of atypical ASL language samples
In this two-hour presentation, participants will be provided with a brief overview of the Center for Atypical Language Interpreting (CALI), located at Northeastern University and the variety of resources CALI has available to support sign language interpreters as they serve a wide range of Deaf and DeafBlind consumers. Presentation content will address what constitutes atypical sign language use within the Deaf Community, the factors that contribute to it, and the findings of a language assessment team that assessed samples of sign language use by Deaf and DeafBlind individuals. A team of five experienced linguists, ASL and interpreting teachers, and CDIs analyzed a series of seventeen language samples and identified specific linguistic features that are lacking or inaccurately applied in the language use of some Deaf and DeafBlind individuals which impact the readability and comprehensibility of the signed message. The implications of these findings for interpreters will be discussed and techniques and strategies for interpreting for Deaf or DeafBlind individuals who exhibit atypical language use will be introduced. As well, resources to support the work of interpreters with this portion of the Deaf population will be identified.
Upon completion of this training, participants will be able to do the following:
- Discuss the meaning of atypical language use within the Deaf Community
- Identify four (4) linguistic features of ASL that are lacking or inaccurately applied in the language use of some Deaf and DeafBlind individuals, impacting readability and comprehensibility of the signed message.
- Describe three (3) strategies that interpreters can use when interpreting for Deaf or DeafBlind individuals who exhibit atypical language use.
- Identify three resources available on the CALI website to support sign language interpreters in their work with Deaf and DeafBlind who exhibit atypical language use.
Anna Witter-Merithew, M.Ed., CSC, SC:L, OIC:C, SC:PA, CI and CT is a heritage signer who works as a mentor, consultant, curriculum developer, diagnostician, and legal interpreting expert. Ms. Witter-Merithew served as the Interim Executive Director of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf [RID] from March 2015 – September 2017. Prior to that she was the Assistant Director of the UNC DO IT Center and Director of the MARIE Center, where she worked for 18 years prior to retirement. Anna also served as the Vice President and President of RID between 1983-1989, and two terms as the Vice President of CIT— which she helped to co-found in 1979. She is a recipient of the joint CIT-RID Mary Stotler Award for excellence in the fields of interpreting and interpreter education. Anna has also co-authored two texts: Towards Competent Practice: Conversations with Stakeholders and The Dimensions of Ethical Decision-Making, as well as creating a twelve (12)-part DVD and workbook entitled, Interpreting in the American Legal System. Anna has over thirty-five (35) peer-reviewed and conference proceedings articles in both national and international publications–many co-authored with valued colleagues.
Rosemary Wanis, Ed.D., MSW, CDI, was born hard of hearing in Egypt and immigrated to the US with her parents at the age of 9 months. She started using hearing aids and speech therapy at 5. In college she began to learn ASL and while earning her graduate degrees in Social Work and also Administration at Gallaudet she grew in her identity as a Deaf person. Rosemary has worked in social services for 10 years and is now teaching at Fresno State in California for both interpreting and Deaf studies classes. She became a CDI in 2005 and a National DI trainer in 2014. She joined the CALI team in 2018 and has served as content contributor, module facilitator, and PAW co-facilitator and COP co-facilitator.