Thursday, April 18, 2013

Jobs for young CODA

"YOUNG! Wow, what a young Interpreter," taps friend to get their attention and says, "Look at the interpreter, so YOUNG!!" It's not only videophone users, I still regularly get asked for my ID when buying alcohol although I've been of legal age for almost 5 years.  What often follows people's shock at my age, is something like this, "Hey, my kids are fluent in Sign Language.. Can they get a job? How??"

I am all for children, teenagers, and adults pursuing the career of sign language interpretation. It seems there is still a high demand for qualified interpreters.  Under the current system it is very worthwhile to obtain a certification with RID.  Their website outlines how this can be done, but I'll share a quick summary.
HOW TO be certified???

1) Go to College.  Get a bachelor's degree (4-year program). It can be ANY major, even playing classical music.
2) 120 Experience credits. What?? Experience = college credits, professional experience, attend workshops.

All done? Now that you have your (1)degree or (2)credits you are eligible to take RID's exams.  You need to pass both a written knowledge test, and a performance exam. If you pass the written test today, then you need to finish your performance exam by 4/17/2018.  The tests are expensive.  If you need to re-take either exam you will have to pay again.

I have met and heard of a lot of CODA that are struggling to find employment.  If you have had the privilege of growing up in a bi-lingual environment why not take advantage of this promising career. Many of us grew up resenting our position as permanent communication agent, but rarely is resentment enough to trump cash flow. In the end you can become another "Wow, YOUNG interpreter!!!"

Thursday, February 14, 2013

CODA with cochlear implant??

At first when I heard it on the radio it didn't hit me.  But after seeing another article on Huffington Post, I fear the health and safety of CODAs is in danger! If you were unaware, there is a huge fad spreading where teens are wearing fake braces.  These seemed innocent at first, but already teens have been injured due to the design and materials used in these bootleg devices.  In all likelihood this will have a domino affect on the deaf community.  Please warn your friends, and keep a close eye on your own children!!  Do you see what I'm getting at?? Let me clarify....

It is natural for children to want to imitate their parents.  At very early ages you may already notice a child copying the body language of their mom or dad.  This only escalates with years, and you will recognize a teenage boy as the "spitting image of his father".  With children of Deaf adults, this can often result in not only signing, but also using techniques like flashing lights, waving hands, or stomping feet to get the attention of others.  In some cases the kids may even desire to attend a Deaf school, or pretend to be deaf when meeting new people.  All of these tendencies are perfectly harmless, however the deaf world has made a drastic change in the past few years.

A high percentage of deaf babies are being operated on, and being implanted with listening devices known as Cochlear Implants(CI).  It's not only the babies following this trend, many teenagers and adults are now rocking these devices above and behind their ears as well.  This of course is creating an impact on the culture of Deaf people, the stability of schools for the deaf, and perhaps even a divide in the community.  However one thing that seems to have been overlooked is the stylistic implications this could have.

I hope you can understand what this all implies. Our next generation of Deaf parents with hearing children will NEED to be twice as cautious as their hearing counterparts!  Pay attention if your children begin contacting any strangers, they may be working with a cochlear implant bootlegger.  Attaching a fake CI may seem at first like an honor, but these are potentially hazardous devices!!  And they think faux braces are a problem....

P.S. This article contains a heavy helping of sarcasm and humour.  If you are allergic please consult a family friend. *smile*

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


A few months ago I was hit with the most simple, but penetrating question any child of deaf parents can be asked.   I didn't realize that by answering I was exposing the color of my soul.  After reflecting on the question it's fair to say it should perhaps be asked to every self-respecting member of the Deaf community. My wife and I sat down for a chat with an older deaf couple, when the husband blindsided me with, "Do you use captions when watching TV?" I paused for a moment, trying to discern what his angle was in asking me this off-the-wall question.  Before I could respond my wife interrupted, "YES! He does! ALWAYS!"  This man then looked at me with eyes as if I was his own son, and replied "I'm proud of you.  I'm proud of you.  I'm proud of you."

For most hearing persons an obstruction to the viewing screen is commonly considered offensive.  Even a quickly passing body, or corner of a chair blocking a portion of the TV may elicit a "Hey! Move it!" from those watching in the room.  As adolescents we felt no differently about closed captions.  It seemed that whether high or low on the screen, these black text filled blocks always covered the most intriguing part of the show.  Did Kobe hit the game winning shot?!?  We didn't know, because our screen was covered with subtitles for something the announcer said 15 seconds ago...

I'm fairly confident in saying that during an NHL playoff match, my dad barely paid any attention to the captions, but that didn't stop him.  We could be in the middle of TRL, or Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but if my Dad walked into the room, and the screen was clear, you were bound to see him say, "Turn ON closed captions! NOW!" The television was ruled by this Iron-Fist.  Sometimes in order to relieve the oppression we would even switch captions off while my dad was taking a bathroom break.  Lost in the few moments of delight, we were snapped out of it by a strong STOMP, and my father's hands signing "Hey! What happened to the subtitles? What happened?"

Now as an adult living a state away from my parents I rarely watch a movie if it doesn't offer subtitles.  I have a tough time understanding British accents, and like to think I have exceptionally accurate spelling.  Can both of these be attributed to my child-hood? I'm sure there's an article out there somewhere to prove this theory.  To CODAs, Netflix, hearing with deaf friends, CNN, and the like... I'd like to share with you one of my favorite quotes from my dad, "TURN ON THE CAPTIONS!" You would make many of us proud.

Including him....