VRID 2012 Biennial Conference 

Workshop Descriptions

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Rachel St. John, MD, NIC Advanced and Jay Penuel, CI and CT, NIC Advanced, OTC, SC:L

Part 1: Ethics and Legal Considerations in the Medical Setting (Jay)

This workshop will provide an introduction of how the medical setting and legal settings intersect in the healthcare environment, be it on an emergent, inpatient, out-patient or diagnostic settings.

Part 2: Medical Terminology (Rachel)

This workshop is designed as an interactive experience for the interpreter who is commonly working in the medical setting. Focus is on becoming more comfortable with common medical terminology, including Latin derivatives and body system-specific terminology. Common nomenclature and acronyms will be discussed as well. Goal is to provide basic working understanding and comfort with medical terminology that aids the interpreter in providing effective communication and cultural mediation. Discussion will include addressing personal experiences from members of the audience that they wish to share from their own medical encounters in interpreting.

Part 3: Team Approach in the Medical Setting (Rachel and Jay)

This workshop is an interactive experience involving a novel approach to the interpreting dynamic in the medical setting, using case scenarios and ethical discussion. This approach is a “Team Approach” in which the interpreter is a member of the medical team, with valued input to achieve linguistic presence.

Why Cultural Mediation?

Brandon Morgan, NIC Master, SC:L, NAD IV, BEI Master

This workshop will examine one of the more ambiguous aspects of an interpreter’s work; cultural mediation. Because interpreters function in two very distinct and contrasting cultures, cultural mediation is paramount to effective communication and interpretation. The disparities between these cultures can be overlooked, often unknowingly. Maintaining role while providing effective cultural mediation can be difficult to balance. The Code of Professional Conduct contains guidelines, but cannot provide explicit direction for every imaginable situation. To that end, this session will discuss strategies for maintaining an appropriate role and avoiding fostering dependence on interpreters.

Participants will explore how they can gain confidence in their ability to perform ethically appropriate, professionally responsible cultural mediation. Learners will employ introspection to better understand the embedded information that drives their decision-­ making processes. Next, participants will take a guided exploration of the spirit and intent of the tenants of the CPC. Lastly, learners will examine real life situations to identify options for cultural mediation in sign choice, ethical decision-­making, and overall conduct. In short, this session will give participants the skills to provide cultural mediation while supporting the full interaction and independence of consumers and answering the question why cultural mediation?

The session will use a combination of lecture, group discussion, and case studies to accomplish learning objectives. Participants will be engaged in a dynamic exchange that will challenge them to examine their approach to interpreting and consider how application of workshop concepts can enhance their work.

From Preschool to the President:  Building Your Business as an ASL Interpreter

Rachel St. John, MD, NIC Advanced

Establishing yourself as an ASL Interpreter in the community requires flexibility and knowledge. Reputation, work ethic and business practices all play into your level of success as a working interpreter. This activity is taught through the experiences of the presenter and her relocation from the interpreting community in Washington, DC to Dallas, Texas. Concepts such as pre-­‐work investigating, getting a business mentor, working with agencies vs. freelancing, marketing, and contract negotiation will be discussed. 

VR?  What’s That?  How Do I Sign That?

Mary Nunnally

Overview of the vocational rehabilitation system and terminology utilized. Review of acronyms utilized by the agency. Discuss expectations of VR Counselors who are utilizing interpreters for consumers in various settings.  And discuss expectations of VR Counselors themselves who are deaf and utilize interpreters on the job. VR process to include mock interviews during specific points of the process – intake, program planning, employment interviews.  Hands on interpreting of training sessions previously provided to VR staff. 

Emoting Emotions

Windell “Wink” Smith, Jr., NIC Master

Humans show emotions everyday; in fact, we embed emotions in words as a vehicle to express ourselves. Speakers employ emotions to give their audience a call to action, to ponder, and to teach. We as interpreters must understand a wide range of emotions and how to effectively incorporate them in our interpretation, requiring a wide use of facial features and inflection in our sign production as well as intonations in our vocal production. To be fully equipped to convey emotions we must first be able to understand what they are, how they are used, and how we can fix them with our own experiences to fully comprehend. In this workshop participants will be exposed to a wide range of emotions and are asked to pull out their experiences in order to put them in perspective, then translate them into proper ASL affect.

This tool will augment our interpreting sociolinguistically to recognize meta-messages, speakers’ intents, and motivations. In having an awareness from this perspective, interpreters will better incorporate affect accurately in our work.

Theatre Interpreting

Aaron Kubey

This workshop will focus on the foundation and fundamentals of Theatre Interpreting. The mission of the workshop is to educate interpreters about why Theatre Interpreting is vital, as well as educating them on the various techniques of Theatre Interpreting and instilling self-confidence to become a Theatre Interpreter. This will be an interactive workshop.

Professionalism:  How to Become the “Favorite Interpreter”

Jina Lynne, CI and CT

“You are my favorite interpreter!”  Is this ever directed at you?  In my 28 years of interpreting, I believe it is still one of the nicest compliments.  This has been said to me by the deaf consumers, team interpreters and hearing clients.  I have witnessed this compliment being given to some interpreters but not others and it’s given me pause to consider what earns that compliment.  The result of receiving this compliment is a steady and very satisfied group of consumers, clients and interpreter colleagues.

This workshop will focus on developing professional skills that are separate from our ability to interpret competently.  We will discuss various techniques for handling everything from a demanding presenter to difficult situations we are placed in and how to diffuse them so the communication is still effective.  Approaches to working better with our teams: deaf and hearing, and our consumers: deaf and hearing.   How we respond and the questions we ask when contacted for an assignment and whether or not we kindly take the time to share knowledge of resources or explain things better so the person who contacted us feels glad that they reached us even if the job had to be declined. 

My Father’s Gift

Windell “Wink” Smith, Jr., NIC Master

What shapes our values? Who are our heroes? Journey through Windell’s story today and you may discover your own answers to these questions. Windell takes you through decades of laughs, tribulations, and the uncertainty that he experienced personally and vicariously through his mother and father. Visit the scene of his mother’s train accident, pop back into his kindergarten class, where as a CODA he had his first introduction to the hearing world. Watch as his parents’ thoughts, stories and experiences are shared with exciting twists and turns that give the audience an inside look at growing up with Deaf parents. Looking back, he realizes just how much they taught him about the beauty and value of American Sign Language and Deaf Culture. But most of all, this is a beautiful story of Windell Jr’s parents, Windell and Gwen Smith, their love for each other that was tested by a horrific car accident, their community that they leaned on for support, and the core beliefs and values that are rooted in Deaf Culture. All of these are wrapped up in this entertaining story, so come join us as we look up at Deaf Culture and stay for the post-performance discussion.

Mental Health Interpreting:  Shedding Some Light in the Black Box

Rachel St. John, MD, NCC, NIC Advanced

This workshop is designed to provide foundational information on interpreting in mental health settings, including gaining familiarity with mental health settings and personnel, discussing interpreting demands unique to mental health, such as interpreting the Mini Mental Status Exam, and voicing for dysfluent clients, exploring venues for safely increasing mental health interpreting comfort and experience.

Professionalism:  It’s More than Just Black Clothes

Amanda David, CI and CT

Professionalism is an often discussed concept, but what exactly it means and how it applies to the field of Sign Language Interpreting can sometimes be a bit ambiguous. This session will address the concept of professionalism and the various defining aspects that exist in our field.  This workshop will include discussions on the differences between a “job’ and a “career”, delve into interpreting attire and how it relates to various situations in which interpreters find themselves, explore communication strategies and discuss pre-conferencing with clients .

Space Walk

Windell “Wink” Smith, Jr., NIC Master

The major difference between English and ASL is that ASL is not linear, it's spatial and kinetic. Typically non-native users will struggle with space in ASL, as if they are floating aimlessly in outer space not realizing what course they are on. In this workshop participants will practice basic space techniques and rules to enhance their language use. Participants will also be exposed to common spatial frames allowing them to plot various courses they could take in order to find the best heading.

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