Slideshow presentation on Demand-Control Schema (D-CS)

I created this slideshow on Demand-Control Schema (D-CS) for an Introduction to Interpreting class at Phoenix College in Phoenix, Arizona, and am sharing it here for the benefit of a larger audience. This slideshow is an update on one I made for another class at Phoenix College in 2005, the day after I attended a workshop by Robyn Dean, who along with Dr. Robert Pollard introduced the Demand-Control Schema for Interpreting in 2000. I sent the original version of this slideshow to Robyn Dean when I first created it, and she acknowledged it with no corrections. I have since then taken a more advanced D-CS workshop by Robyn Dean and a workshop by Dean & Pollard at the Conference of Interpreter Trainers. Robyn Dean also spoke to our Ethics and Professional Practice class in Western Oregon University’s Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies program. Our professor and program chair Amanda Smith studied D-CS under Robyn Dean and taught us D-CS observation/supervision; in addition, members of my cohort interpret with Robyn Dean at the Rochester Institute of Technology and work with her on D-CS observation/supervision sessions. This is to say I am somewhat qualified to teach D-CS; yet I certainly welcome new and different information. If you teach D-CS and have anything to say or other resources to share, please leave a comment.


I have read some of the resources listed on Dean & Pollard’s D-CS website, and I highly recommend you avail yourself of their materials, especially their forthcoming textbook.


Looking forward to meeting people at my poster session at CIT

I recorded this video as a response to a researcher and interpreter trainer I met at the last Conference of Interpreter Trainers, but I’m posting it here because it applies to anyone who attends the conference next week in Charlotte, NC. I welcome everyone to come by my poster, ask me anything, challenge my research, give me feedback, etc. I will have about a month to make adjustments to my thesis before I defend at the end of November, so your feedback on my thesis-in-progress is most welcome!

Why are interpreters deaf community members? And other questions

Recently, I read some statements made by a hearing person who had very limited exposure to deaf people and interpreters. This person was in a position to hire interpreters to accommodate requests from deaf people. While some of her comments shocked the sensibilities inculcated in me as an interpreter, I imagine that other hearing people who know little about deaf people or interpreters share the same thoughts. I will address these sentiments to the best of my ability. Please feel free to comment if you have something else to add.

… the deaf community (and by that I mean, the deaf, not the interpreters, etc because I believe its ridiculous that a party who benefits heavily from the community be considered a part of it)…

First, let’s dispense with the fallacy that a party who benefits heavily from a community should not be considered a part of it. The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker are members of their community even though they prosper by selling their wares to other community members. A Rabbi is a member of her Jewish community even though she benefits from their synagogue dues. But the interpreter requestor has a point: why are people who are not deaf considered a part of a community of those who are?

The short answer is that hearing people are members of the deaf community when deaf people say they are. We interpreters do not presume to be members of the deaf community, but deaf people invite us to be, and we are proud to be. The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker are not members of the bovine, flour, or iron communities because inanimate materials do not form communities as people do. Deaf people, on the other hand, are people, and their language is inseparable from them. An interpreter must, therefore, enter the deaf community in order to possess an intimate knowledge of their language and culture; otherwise, they cannot be bilingual. And more important, they will not be trusted by deaf people who rightly view hearing people as potential threats to their way of life.

When I went to the Conference of Interpreter Trainers in San Antonio last October, I attended two presentations that spoke to the issues of interpreter identity and community membership, by Robert G. Lee and Arlene Gunderson, respectively. Allow me to share some insights I gleaned from them. (more…)

Anna Witter Merithew Receives Mary Stotler Award

CIT President Carolyn Ball presents Anna Witter Merithew with the Mary Stotler award for her contributions to the field of ASL interpreter education at the awards banquet during the Conference of Interpreter Trainers in San Diego on October 20, 2007.

I know this is not breaking news now, but I took this photo on my cameraphone and I just learned how to upload photos from my cameraphone directly to my blog by way of Flickr, so I’m trying it out for the first time. Just think of the possibilities for an average Joe like me to post breaking news on the Internet!

Thoughts on “pre-screening” ITP candidates

The “attitude” of an interpreter toward ASL and Deaf Culture is highly valued by the deaf consumers we serve. Hence, an ASL ITP should teach the attitudes and cultural values that are desired by deaf consumers. Some say that one way to weed out “unsuitable types” from ITP’s and from the interpreting field is to pre-screen candidates to ITP’s to check for personality suitability. I disagree with this. I believe it is prejudiced and discriminating to disallow students to enter an ITP based on some personality inventory delivered and interpreted by people who are not licensed psychologists. For that matter, even if one brought in licensed psychologists to “pre-screen” candidates, I would be offended.

Some people claim that deaf consumers “used to” naturally select interpreters who were suitable and weed out those who are not, but “so much has changed in the last several years” that the deaf culture is no longer fulfilling this function and that it now must be taken up by college faculty. For one thing, where is the evidence that the deaf community no longer weeds out unsuitable interpreters? There are still many processes by which deaf consumers can assert control over who interprets for them. If enough deaf consumers refuse to work with an interpreter, that interpreter will not work. There are grievance processes in place. I would bet that most ITP’s don’t even have the luxury of turning away students because not that many people are clamoring to become ASL interpreters. If you teach in a community that really has that many people who want to become ASL interpreters, why not allow them into the program, teach them what they need to know, send them on their way, and let the free market sort them out? (more…)