Wednesday, May 21, 2014 • 9:15am – 10:15am

Breakout Session

Do You Speak Sign Language? Practical Tips for Working With Sign Language Interpreters and Agencies

Shane H. Feldman

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

Julie Schafer, Esq.

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

Language Services Companies are providing more American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting services compared to previous years. This development has been at the forefront of dialogue among deaf consumers and the sign language interpreting profession. Among the questions questions raised are:
What are best practices when working with sign language interpreters and agencies?
How do sign language interpreting agencies differ from Language Services Companies?
What are common problems or pitfalls Language Services Companies make when recruiting and/or working with sign language interpreters?
We will guide participants through a self-assessment of current practices when working with sign language interpreters and agencies and provide insight about the sign language interpreting profession and how it may differ from spoken language interpreting. Participants will be able to describe best practices when working with sign language interpreters and agencies. At the conclusion of the workshop, we will ask the audience members to examine their current practices and identify areas for improvement.


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Shane H. Feldman, a native of the Washington, D.C., area, is executive director for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and has years of association management, business, and advocacy experience. He received his master’s degree in management from the University of Maryland–University College and his bachelor’s degree in professional and technical communications from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Shane is a staunch advocate for accessibility rights, especially those related to closed captioning. He served the community through his work with the Federal Communications Commission, the Maryland Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Maryland School for the Deaf.

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Julie Anne Schafer, Esq. has over a decade of education and experience related to communication access for deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind individuals. She currently serves as the director of public policy and advocacy at the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID), where she is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the RID Government Affairs Program (GAP). Prior to joining RID, she was the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH), where she coordinated legislative efforts and served as the agency’s expert on laws and policies impacting those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind.

Julie received her bachelor of science degree in deaf studies and English from Towson University in 2005 and her J.D. from the University of Baltimore in 2009.