Archive for November 2011

APSDA Meetings – Interpreters   Leave a comment

At the APSDA (Asia-Pacific SL Development Association) meetings there were the expected interpreters who went from spoken languages to sign languages and from sign languages to spoken languages, including English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese.  However, we also had sign language to sign language interpreters, both Deaf and Hearing.  At this meeting we had two main sign language families.  The “Eastern Asian” family includes Japanese SL, Korean SL and Taiwanese SL.  This family has also has an influence on the sign languages used on the eastern part of the Asian mainland.  The other main sign language family is what I call the “European” family.  It includes those sign languages related to British SL and French SL and their “descendants” like ASL (American SL).  This family also includes sign languages influenced by  these languages.  This grouping is my own and is not historical or scientific but is one based on my experience and which I use to help determine the number and types of interpreters needed.

Below are two Deaf sign language interpreters.  Miya interpreted from the European SLs (especially ASL)  to the Eastern Asian SLs, especially Japanese SL, and also interpreted in the other direction.  Pastor Kang was doing similar interpretation, especially Korean SL.  In short meeting like this one, just 2 days long, signers from the same language family had some communication problems so it was helpful to have the interpreters available.  We also had an interpreter to go to and from Australian SL and New Zealand SL and the other SLs and English.

In the picture below Mac (Australia Deaf) on the left is signing while Miya and Pastor Kang interpret into other sign languages,

In the two pictures below Peter (Australia), Kumiko (Japan) and Aki are Hearing interpreters.  The second picture demonstrates the line-of-sight problems we almost always have with meeting rooms.  (An unnamed interpreter is on the left of each picture.)

At the eastern Asia Deaf TCDW (Translation Consultant Development Workshop)  following the APSDA meetings we do not have any official interpreters.   The group is smaller and most of the participants are from the Eastern Asian SL family.  However, we have many unofficial interpreters as the participants and teaching staff all work hard to make sure that everyone understands.


APSDA DTCDW Day 2 – Korea   Leave a comment

Mark taught advanced translation in the morning.  There was no voicing for those of us who don’t understand a sign language.  However, there was a lot of sign language to sign language interpretation going on as the Deaf helped each other to understand these advanced concepts.

In the afternoon we discussed Deaf identity and how to help settle conflicts between people and organisations.  I was asked to answer a couple of questions.  Mark interpreted for me and then Pastor Minamida re-signed what Mark interpreted, making it more clear.

The discussion on Deaf identity was very interesting. To the outsider it should be easy to decide who is Deaf – can they hear?  The discussion, however, was about who was culturally Deaf not who was medically Deaf.  One of the participants sent from her translation team to this Deaf Workshop is a CODA who is able to hear.  Both her parents are Deaf and she was raised in the Deaf world.  Her team considers her to be culturally Deaf.  It is too bad that my signing skills are so poor that I couldn’t follow most of the conversation.  The information I am sharing I got as a summary in the car on the way back from bowling (see below).  They did not reach a consensus which is understandable since Deaf identity is culturally defined and we have people from different cultures attending.  It may be the the origin of this discussion came from the APSDA meeting (see earlier post) when they were talking about the requirement that Board members be Deaf.  This wasn’t discussed in detail then.

Then I got a surprise when Miya knocked on my door after supper and asked if I wanted to go bowling.  Of the 18 people at this Workshop 13 of us went bowling.  They announced a modest prize for the best bowler.  I ended up winning both games and got the prize  : – )

Below Pastor Matsumoto shows his form.

APSDA DTCDW Day 1 – Korea   Leave a comment

Tonight (28 November, Monday) was the first night of APSDA’s Deaf TCDW.  (Asia-Pacific Sign Language Development Association’s Deaf Translation Consultant Development Workshop).  We will be here for two weeks.

In the picture below Hori-san (Deaf Japan), Mark (Hearing SL translation consultant – USA but in Japan) and Pastor Wu (Deaf Taiwan) listen to a report.

In the picture Pastor Kim (Deaf Korean), who operates one of the two video cameras, gives a report on their progress.

It’s late so I will close for now.

Pocheon-si, Korea 2011 – APSDA Meeting (Day 2, Friday, 25 November 2011)   1 comment

Today APSDA (Asia Pacific SL Development Association) discussed the details for forming.  They agreed unanimously to promote a mixed funding model  They would encourage and promote national organisations to raise their own funds but also would seek funds which could be distributed to national associations.

Suresh (Deaf India), Koon Wei (Deaf Malaysia) and Chirapa (Deaf Thailand) watch the discussion.

There was a close vote for the name sign for APSDA.

The bylaws have just been approved and now people are voting for the Board.  Here are the Board members.

• Ho Koon Wei – Malaysia (Treasurer)

• Suresh Babu – India

• Lee Young Bin – South Korea (Vice-chair)

• Matsumoto Eiji – Japan (Chair)

• Sim Kuo – Indonesia (Secretary)

• Mac Adam – Australia

• Staff – Minamida Masahiro – Japan

• Unnamed

Pocheon-si, Korea 2011 – APSDA Meeting (Day 1, Thursday, 24 November 2011)   Leave a comment

Two important events from today’s meeting.  One is the ASTA voted to join with the representatives of the Pacific Islands.  Here Mack (Australia) and Peter (New Zealand) are welcomed.

This addition of the Pacific led to a name change.  The new name is now APSDA (Asia Pacific Sign Language Development Association).  Here is a picture of the vote.

Here are two of the participants – Mack (Deaf – Australia) with Miya Kori (Deaf -Japan) who is providing interpretation into ASL for him.

Here is a picture of Pastor Kang (Deaf Korea) who works in the Philippines.

Pocheon-si, Korea 2011 – APSDA Meeting (Day 0, Wednesday, 23 November 2011)   Leave a comment

Geri and I arrived back in Manila on Wednesday evening.  We flew to Seoul on Thursday afternoon.  We have been invited by ASTA (Asia Sign Language Translation Association) to be observers at their official formation meeting.  They have been functioning informally for more than a year under temporary leadership.  At the meeting on Thursday and Friday they will establish their bylaws and elect leaders.

There are supposed to be Deaf from a number of countries in Asia including India, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia and South Korea.  I heard by email that two of the people have had trouble getting visas.  I will get more information tomorrow.  As in the first sign language meeting we helped organise in November 2007, two nations from the Pacific are also represented – Australia and New Zealand.

Next week will begin a Deaf Translation Consultant Development Workshop for Deaf consultants in Training from eastern Asia.  They make up a sub-family of signed languages and wanted to hold a separate TCDW.  This is the second part.  The first part was held in February.  I will try to post a picture tomorrow.

Everybody got their visas in time.  One just got her visa yesterday at 5:30 pm and then took an overnight plane.  One person decided not to come.  One person arrived a day late because of heavy snow. Here is a picture of the nice banner prepared for us by the Koreans.

Day 12 – Bujumbura, Burundi (16 November 2011)   1 comment

Yes, this post is late.  With the last minute details of leaving Burundi and then folks arriving in and leaving Kenya it didn’t get posted.  We had folks stranded at an airport when their flight was cancelled.  We had folks miss their flight when the road to the airport was closed for six hours due to a terrible accident.  Now Geri and I are on our way to Korea, having already made a quick trip to Malaysia.  We have Deaf people from many places in Asia and the Pacific coming for meetings and some of them do not have visas yet.  Please pray.

Burundi has about ten million people.  There is no accurate count of the number of Deaf but there is probably at least 30,000 to 50,000 Deaf people.  In the whole country there are only two interpreters.  My interpreter for the trip was Bill Ainsley.  He spent a lot of time with these two interpreters.  Here is a short piece he wrote, using third person.

While in Burundi, our interpreter, Bill Ainsley, had the opportunity to meet with the two interpreters serving the entire deaf population of Burundi…1) Nijebariko Alain Chabel (taller one in picture), and 2) Koudra Massepe.  (BTW, Bill is the guy in the middle.)
Neither interpreter has had any formal training, so much time was spent sharing “interpreter stories”…how to handle certain ethical situations, features of sign language grammar, cultural mediation, etc.  They ended up with 11 pages of sign language grammar items and interpreting tips!  These “items” and “tips” gave “titles” to what they have already been doing as interpreters, thus creating a mental toolbox of skills to strengthen their interpreting.  Bill wants to collect a box of sign language and interpreting resources to send to them (books, articles, etc.).  The sign language of Burundi has strong roots in American Sign Language, so if you have anything you can donate–please contact Bill at  Anything would be so appreciated!
The two interpreters have called 5 other interested people who are supposed to have met on Monday evening, November 21, 2011, to discuss establishing a National Interpreter’s Association.  (We haven’t heard from that about the meeting yet.)
They have asked us to pray for 1) their efforts in establishing an Interpreter’s Association and 2) their continuing efforts to recruit and train additional interpreters.
Bill Ainsley