American Sign Language

womansigningIn the medical field there are numerous professionals, yet each holds the respect not to do the other's job duties, and therefore consults with one another when working with clients. A nurse knows his or her limitations and would never diagnose, operate nor prescribe meds even though he or she may feel qualified. Therefore, wouldn't it make sense that a professional medical staff that has some knowledge in sign language should know their limits as well? Keep in mind that if the staff signer had efficient skills to interpret then he would hold certification. Until then, he is considered a liability to the medical facility.


Miscommunication is always a problem. However, between the deaf and hearing it is rampant and creates mistrust among the deaf. Contrary to most beliefs, sign language is not English, signers tend to sign in an English format and for this reason well meaning volunteers signers taking of professional interpreting assignments can end up creating miscommunication leading to serious implications to the medical facility. Even though a signer may sign, that does not mean he can "interpret" adequately. Much communication breakdown easily occurs between untrained signers and, therefore, the state has constructed ridged guidelines to measure comprehension skills and strict confidentiality restrictions among certified interpreters. Well-intended signers all too often miscommunicate common terms and idioms, and far too often the realization of the miscommunication can easily go undetected. Therefore, it is imperative that non-certified staff should never interpret medical situations. However, these individuals who signs on a non professional level can be most helpful when offering friendly customer services skills to the patient and leave medical communications up to the proven professionals concerning sign language interpreters.

Deaf Culture


English vs. American Sign Language (ASL)

When a deaf individual is born into a visual world he tends to be left out of all daily routine conversations. Therefore he has limited understanding of spoken jokes, poems, plays on words, and innuendos. Interpreting is paraphrasing and such jargon is made clear by intent of a message instead of word-by-word account. Time does not allow to an interpreter to "teach" jargon, therefore most deaf people are unaware of simple sayings such as, "Sue is really on the ball today." That would usually be interpreted as, "Sue is really doing a great job today or working hard!"


Sign of the Times

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