Reflections on Sunday’s Keynote

First of all, I want to start off being clear that this is my first time as doing a formal blog for a conference like this.  So, there is really no template that I am following, but I am open to feedback from others in terms of what people think would be helpful in these posts.

For this first post, I want to highlight a couple points from Roger Williams’ keynote that seemed significant to me.

The first point was the difference between disfluency (meaning not fluent) and dysfluency (meaning having language use that is messed up) and the reality that dysfluency is more prevalent among users of sign language than it is for users of spoken English, as demonstrated by this chart developed by Dr. Robert Pollard.  While it is complicated to explain why this chart is an accurate description of reality, it demonstrates that it may well be a more common experience for interpreters to encounter dysfluency than for hearing counselors.  Because of that, it means that the interpreter may be the most competent person in the room for assessing the presence of dysfluency.  (This doesn’t mean that the interpreter can make decisions about what the dysfluency means, just best able to recognize it.)

The other point relates to the options that interpreters have for dealing with the issues faced in mental health settings.  His focus on four controls that interpreters have:

  • Amount of Processing Time used
  • Choice of perspectives used to relate the information
  • Dealing with different registers
  • Relative degree that we focus on form and/or content

The most salient point for me was that as interpreters, we often don’t recognize the options we have for managing these situations and and take advantage of them to convey the information in the most effective way in mental health settings.  This is something I will be chewing on in my own practice as well as in my mentoring and teaching to try to convey this to others – looking to take advantage of all those different control options, rather than just focusing in on one or two.

So those are some of my thoughts.  What was it from the presentation that struck you?  Feel free to join in the conversation by responding here.

If you have questions that you would like to have panelists address tomorrow moring, please feel free to share them as part of the comments on the page about Roger’s keynote.  You can also share other insights and thoughts there.

1 reply
  1. Doug Bowen-Bailey says:

    Just wanted to post some follow-up thoughts on this presentation. I have been a part of other discussions during the symposium with questions about the chart credited to Dr. Bob Pollard about the level of dysfluency in the Deaf community compared to the general population.

    So, there is definitely interest in seeing the research behind this graphic. And I think it is a good reminder to me how important it is to have our assertions be backed up by the evidence – not just because we heard it somewhere.

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