Category: Interpreters

Disability accommodations for the 2015 Commencement

April 28th, 2015 in Access, Accommodation News, Disability in Higher Ed, FYI, Interpreters

Disability Accommodations for the 2015 Boston University Commencement may be requested here by clicking the link  here – Disability Accommodations or by going to and clicking on Disability Services on the right margin of the webpage.



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Closed Captions Enhance Searching, Listening and Learning

October 6th, 2014 in Accommodation News, Deaf Community News and Events, Interpreters

Closed Captions and Subtitles in video media have been shown to make otherwise static content more engaging. By adding Closed Captions to BUniverse YouTube videos , your media will appear in Google search queries more frequently and the content will be more accessible to individuals who are English Language Learners or Hearing Impaired. The process to insert captions and subtitles into video media has been somewhat cumbersome – until now. 

Contact Christopher Robinson  for Captioning consultation or technical supportat


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ASL Interpreted Theatre Workshop

April 6th, 2011 in Deaf Community News and Events, Interpreters

ASL Interpreted Theatre Workshop Saturday May 14th 2011

Mise-en-scène, or “placing on the stage,” is said to describe design elements of a theatre or film production.  Often ASL interpreters work in isolation from a production design staff’s  decision that may influence interpretation formation.  This workshop session will train participants to use technical script analysis and system theory* to 1) optimize translation and rehearsal time for the interpreting team , 2)identify the roles of theater production and administration staff, and describe their responsibilities as they relate to the ASL interpreting team  and 3) describe varying ways that an interpreting team can work collaboratively within the production and administrative staff’s system.

For more information, click here.


Auditioning Sign language interpreters?

December 21st, 2010 in Interpreters

by Courtney Petri

What if an audition seemed less like a trial and more like a dialogue?  The typical audition experience can be somewhat traumatizing.  Blinded by lights, performing, you catch glimpses of a stoic jury out there, scrutinizing your efforts.  Upon exiting, you are informed that judgment will be passed shortly.  The showcase that took place at Boston University on September 20th,  hosted by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at BU was of another variety.  It was still an audition process, still endeavoring to match high-caliber performers in appropriate roles.  There were certainly still nerves all around.  However, the atmosphere was more open, more community-oriented, more…Deaf.

Visual Communications Clearinghouse at VSA Mass, Boston University (BU) School of Theatre and BU Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services are collaborating to increase the amount of qualified interpreters who work in performing arts settings. Accessibility is needed both in front of and behind the curtain as Deaf and Hard of Hearing artists make contributions to the Arts as professionals as well as patrons of the theatre. The relationship with VSA Massachusetts** and Stagesource – as a clearinghouse, professional advocate and informational resource for professionals who work in the arts – is an invaluable addition to this effort. This showcase is the first of a collaborative series of trainings and professional gatherings for interested individuals and organizations.

The people showcasing their skills were sign language interpreters for the performing arts.  The panel was made of up of a number Deaf ASL coaches who work closely with performing artists, directors, and interpreters, to make a wide variety of shows accessible to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.  Such a showcase enlarges the pool of interpreters in the performing arts sector, to provide even greater accessibility, and more optimized matching; if there are more people available, there is a better opportunity to discover the optimal grouping of interpreter, coach, and play.

An American Sign Language (ASL) coach assists the interpreters to accurately represent both the meaning and emotion behind each performance.  ASL coaches are skilled in ASL grammatical structure and balance authenticity of the characters on stage with ASL idioms, phrases, and vernacular.

The showcasing process reflected Deaf Culture in a practical sense, such as ensuring that not only the performer, but also the panel, was well-lit for visual communication purposes.  More importantly, the cultural aspects showed up in process itself.  When the interpreter had presented their prepared song, set to music, in American Sign Language, and signed a cold reading of an excerpt from a Shakespeare play, the dialogue began.  It is an interview, to be sure, but a back-and-forth with feedback is rare enough in traditional auditions!

The coaches, of course, are interested in the language skills of the interpreter.  If the work were a living being, the language and the interpreting process would be the mind.  Communication, enjoyment, and entertainment cannot happen without it.  The coaches are also interested in availability.  In our living being, that would be the body; even if the mind is brilliant, if the body is not present, the work cannot happen.  But the coaches are also interested in attitude – the heart, and that is another thing that sets it apart.

Perhaps, as a poor performing artist myself, I have a poor view of the “traditional” audition.  But there was something about this Performing Arts Showcase that humanized the process.  Watching the nervous faces of the lineup before they entered the room, and seeing the relieved glow as they exited, I believe that something special, collaborative, and cultural was happening, and I hope that it continues.

*See 2010-2011 season for Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston University BCAP and Broadway Across America-Boston

**Visual Communication Clearinghouse at VSA Massachusetts: Communication Access to the Arts and Culture.

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