Even though I’m writing this workshop in English, the original was presented in ASL. The workshop also offered voice interpreting, but since none of the registered participants requested it, there was no voicing.
I was treading a fine line on an important issue at RID conferences that is reminiscent of Hamlet: “To sign, or not to sign.” I chose to sign. The reason was, I really do think that all interpreters should have the chance to learn and to present in their second language. It’s an important and fun (yes, fun!) challenge that will make you a better presenter, better signer, and better interpreter.
I have empathy for those who say they would prefer to learn in their first language. I also want to honor (and not alienate) those who are new to interpreting or who have never had the opportunity to be in an immersive ASL environment.
I also want to say that my goal in presenting was certainly not to show off or to provide a language model for ASL. I’m definitely not qualified for that.
What was the feedback on language policy?
I was curious to know how participants would feel about the language policy. I received only two comments on the language policy in the feedback:
- Really grateful this was in ASL 🙂 Great Presenter.
- (…) BRING BACK SPOKEN WORKSHOPS!
I suppose you could read those remarks either way you wish. I choose to think that even if not everyone preferred to learn in ASL, everyone probably benefitted from it.
I want to emphasize that in keeping with the principle of language access that defines our field, OCRID was happy to provide voice interpreting as requested. No attendees requested those services.
What do you think?
What do you think of the above language policy? What would you change?