My experience teaching workshops at the NAOBI conference

Transcript: Hi. I’m Daniel Greene, and this vlog is about my experience at NAOBI, a conference for the National Alliance of Black Interpreters. It was a really great experience. I had gone to the RID Region V conference in Salt Lake City the week before, and now I was teaching workshops at NAOBI here in Phoenix. (Last time I did a video about this I accidentally said, “Here in San Diego.” That’s crazy, but it’s because I lived in San Diego for such a long time — twenty-seven years altogether — and I moved to Phoenix five-and-a-half years ago at the end of 2004. Funny. I still sometimes say, “Here in San Diego.”)

So, anyway, here in Phoenix, I taught two workshops. I was actually scheduled to teach three, but oddly enough, the first morning of the conference, there were so few people and so many concurrent workshops — eight workshops at the same time! And I don’t know how many attendees there were at the conference that first morning. I do know that some of the other workshops only had a handful of attendees as well. One person showed up to my workshop, and I told her I would be happy to teach her all the workshop content even though she was the only one, that we could work it out between the two of us. But if she wanted to join another workshop, she should feel free to do so, and I would take no offense. So she went to another workshop, which was fine with me.

So, that one workshop was a loss, because I was really looking forward to teaching it and learning from all the participants. That workshop was called Speak & Spell, and it was about pronouncing and spelling foreign names and words. But it was actually more than that, because recently I’ve learned more about how parents invent names for their children. In particular, when I researched black people’s names, I found out some very interesting things about the rich history and phonology of black people’s names— the phonology, the sound patterns, number of syllables, and stress— where the emphasis lies. I found out that names in fact have prefixes and suffixes— not the prefixes and suffixes you see on some of the forms you fill out in which “prefix” means “Mr.” or “Miss” and suffix means “Jr.” or “III.” That’s one definition of prefix and suffix, but I’m talking about other prefixes and suffixes like “on.” In black culture, many names end in “on” like Dion, Marquon, and Javon or Javan (which sounds like Javon, or juh-vahn). And the stress of these names tends to come at the end. Di-ON, Mar-QUON, Ja-VAN. I could talk about this for hours, but that’s for another time. If you come to my workshop, I would be happy to explain it all and get your feedback. I had wanted badly to teach that workshop at NAOBI because I so wanted to learn more about your (black interpreters’) names—how your parents came up with your names, how your names are pronounced and spelled. And of course I would teach you about the world’s languages and their sound and spelling systems, called phonology and orthography. But unfortunately I didn’t get to teach that workshop. Darn!

In any event, I taught two other workshops, one about Vague Language (VL) about how people sometimes beat around the bush rather than being direct, soften things rather than being blunt, omit words and not describe things in precise detail but rather refer to knowledge that is common to them. When two or more people have shared knowledge, they can gloss over it rather than reiterating it in detail. Also, sometimes people sugar-coat things to be polite. That was the gist of my Vague Language workshop.

The other workshop I taught was Vocal Technique (V-0-C-A-L T-E-Q-U — let me spell that again — V-O-C-A-L T-E-C-H-N-I-Q-U-E) for Interpreters. As interpreters, we use our voices a lot— every time the deaf person signs, we speak. And even more so with VRS or any video interpreting, half our job is voice interpreter— voice interpretING. Ha ha! Still flubbing up my signs, but no matter, I’ll try and keep on trying to sign VLogs. Even if I make mistakes, I won’t do retakes; I’ll just press on and fly by the seat of my pants. If I makes mistakes, fine! Move on. Anyway, I taught about what I learned as as actor, singer, and voice actor who went through training at the Commercial Clinic with the great teachers James Alburger and Penny _____ the last name escapes me [Abshire]. Anyway, they’re great teachers, and I learned a lot about how to use vocal inflection, emphasis, expression, and character to show how you feel so that people who can’t see you — people who are “blind” to you because they’re listening to the radio or an audiobook — just like in VRS, when we can see the deaf consumer on our video screens, but the hearing person is “blind” because they can’t see the deaf person. So, this means we must express everything with our voices. That’s the purpose of that workshop.

I feel like I’m bragging a little bit, but I got such good feedback and turnout at my workshops. It’s funny, because the first workshop, only one person showed up, but at the next workshop, I had like 20 or 25 people, and at the workshop after that, there were 30 or 40 people! It was such great fun! I love learning from everyone as I teach them, and to help them as they help me. So cool.

OMG, Becky! This room is so full!

So, that was my experience teaching workshops at NAOBI. There’s one more thing I must to share with you about NAOBI, something so moving— [Continued…]

Author: Daniel Greene

I facilitate communication between Deaf and hearing people, and I teach people American Sign Language (ASL) and interpreting. Apart from doing the work I love, my greatest joys are family & friends, entertainment, food, photography, and travel.

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