Dennis Cokely "Culturally Rich Realities" Workshop

Cokely Workshop 7 of 15
Originally uploaded by danielgreene.

This was the first time I had photographed a presenter giving a workshop in sign language. Those who know American Sign Language (ASL) can guess what Dr. Dennis Cokely was talking about. Those who don’t know ASL– well, they can have even more fun guessing. I don’t want to give away the content of his workshop to those who know ASL; rather, I encourage them to take his workshop themselves! As for those who don’t know ASL, there would be so much lost in translation if I simply said, “Dr. Cokely is signing X,” that I would be guilty of oversimplifying his message. And his workshop “Interpreting Culturally Rich Realities” is all about not oversimplifying any interpretation! I thank Dr. Cokely for his permission to photograph him as he worked.

While I don’t want to give too much of his workshop away, I do want to use these photos to help myself and others who took his workshop recall some of this repeated points. One of the things Dr. Cokely repeatedly discussed was having multiple lexical items in one’s “mental files” to choose from when confronted with signs or words that represented “culturally rich realities,” or words that are not easily conveyed from one culture/language to another in a 1:1 ratio.

As a photographer of a speaker presenting in ASL, I used the textual analysis and predictive skills I’ve developed as an interpreter to study Dr. Cokely’s rhetorical devices so that I would be prepared with my camera to capture him at the very moment when he would repeat one of his themes. As an instructor, he was very deft at using repetition to drive home a point.

You may view my set of photos of Dennis Cokely on Flickr.



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6 responses to “Dennis Cokely "Culturally Rich Realities" Workshop”

  1. Daniel Greene Avatar

    I knew that. 🙂 I’ve considered — and suppose I’m still considering — the Master of Interpreter Pedagogy there. I just wonder who’s ever heard of an MIP. Sounds like MIB: Men In Black. But our field is a small one, so I suppose those in charge of hiring interpreter trainers would know what an MIP is. I guess I’m just not ready to be one of the first MIPs. It’s an exciting development, though.


  2. Anne Avatar

    Dr. Cokely is the head of the ASL program at Northeastern University. I’m a student in the Interpreting program there.


  3. Daniel Greene Avatar


    I know what you mean about a long day of video relay interpreting! 😉

    I did a search of Dr. Cokely on the Web, and about the only lead I could find for you is:

    Best of luck!



  4. Darren Avatar

    Firstly, I am so tired of you homosexuals giving interpreting such a bad image. Okay, kidding!!! I don’t know what has gotten into me… long day at Sorenson…

    At any rate, found your blog a week or so ago. Really enjoy it.
    I am curious if there is a web presence where I might find out about future workshops like what you experienced with Dr Cokely.

    Keep it up!


  5. Daniel Greene Avatar

    Dennis Cokely is an ASL interpreter, researcher/publisher (as a PhD), and interpreter trainer, among other things. I attended this workshop at Arizona State University, but I imagine he teaches it all over the country. The workshop he’s teaching is in the title and body of my post.

    Thanks for reminding me to write about the “Five W’s” rather than assuming that my audience knows these things. Interestingly, Dr. Cokely was urging us to assume absolute naîveté on the part of our audiences rather than assuming they know what we know, so your questions are yet another example of what not to assume.


  6. martha Avatar

    Who is Dr. Dennis Cokely? What workshop is he teaching? Where?


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