At last, spring is finally here, at least in Columbus, Ohio. Flowers are blooming here and there on trees, bushes & fields in various places.
Hope you're all getting outside as much as possible to soak in the warm air, sunshine & friends.
For today's blog - I'm going to cover something I find real important for amateur ASL interpreters to notice.
I came upon this important law from Oregon state that sums up skills that professional ASL interpreters need to be aware of:
A lot of amateur interpreters wonder why it takes about a good solid 1 to 2 years to mentor with me when they can only commit a few hours per month. Research has proven that 4 hours per week is best amount of hours to master a foreign language - may I add, that is also IF a person is able to retain all new skills they've learned & apply it fluently and with a lot of practice to upkeep.
Because most ASL students cannot just swallow up 1,000 of new words/signs and ASL concepts in few hours...it will require a lot of time to sift through multiple layers of processing, synthesizing and expressing complex English information into ASL and vice versa---- however, I understand and respect very busy adult students who are full time schooling, parents, and working a full schedule. But I do get tired when people are suspicious that I am out for their money which is not the case at all... I expect my ASL students to be high advanced level according to the ACTFL gauge.
Because I don't want to lecture people when I am training them - they may sometimes assume I am not teaching anything important. Many times when I point out the same issues that keep cropping over over months or a year or so - it's because the students needs to drop that bad habit or add a new better skill to get ahead.
So with great ORS 45.275(9)(c) law - a "qualified interpreter" must be able to interpreter fluently the meaning, tone, level, style and register of the original statement, without addition or omissions.
So when I observe an interpreter, I am watching for all of these skills that you have to FLUENTLY demonstrate. This is A LOT to cover and a lot to remember and apply.
So always ask yourself:
1. Is my meaning the same as what the spoken message is conveyed?
2. How is my tone matching to the presenter's tone?
3. Am I using the appropriate level?
4. What style do I need to apply for this deaf customer/s?
5. Am I using the correct register for this lecture?
and the most important:
6. Am I omitting very important details?
7. Am I adding unnecessary "fluff" or untrue details that does not belong in my interpreted performance?
Apply this daily in your homework and it will surely speed up your learning progress.
It's been a long crazy winter with Global Warming affecting our environment. It's not good for the fibromyalgia that I suffer every time the shocking and abrupt temperature drops - it immediately wears my thyroid glands out and makes my musculoskeletal system ache horribly.
I got to attend to the annual Deaf Women of Ohio's Tea Party. Volunteered with decorating and photographing the party. It was a lot of work running around photographing everything the chairperson requested me to take but I was glad to be of some help.
Other than that, not much news really - as I have not been able to get any local ASL students to tutor as many schools and organizations provides free tutoring or other ASL tutors have steady customers attend to them. As a new face here in this fairly new city, I have a ways to go in getting new local students. I even applied for some ASL teaching jobs but was turned down, for unknown reasons.
So when Convo Relay Inc will lay me off in the end of June - I will have to sadly find another part-time steady income job and it will affect my day schedule with my long distance ASL students who wishes to meet with me during mornings or early afternoons. But since ASL tutoring has never been a steady source of stable income, it's a passion of mine and always will be -- but I need a stable source of income that keeps a roof over my head and food on the table and pays for expensive thyroid medicine that the insurance does not cover, etc.
Today, I will now share you a fun free online service that allows deaf and hard of hearing people test their hearing range by themselves. It's fascinating. I discovered I lost some more hearing (which doesn't bother me at all. The more the merrier I become as I find certain environmental noises irritating anyway!)
Anyway, from now (March 21, 2017) to June 30th, 2017 --- my schedule can fit in about at least 5 more ASL students per week. If there is any Columbus, OH folks that needs a private ASL tutoring via in person or web-cam - feel free to make an appointment with me. I miss tutoring people in person!
It's been a wild ride as I adjust living in Columbus, Ohio.
I am thankful to have a roof over my head and two kind housemates.
Yesterday, I moved my "office" from one end of the basement to the other and I feel much more productive.
Now I just need new shelves to organize my books and then things will feel just right.
Due to the holidays, I'm keeping this blog very short.
I want to repeat that I am now located in Columbus, Ohio - Franklin County.
For any ASL students, ASL interpreters, and/or hearing parents with deaf or hearing babies - I'm available from Tuesday to Friday - 10am to 5pm EST - first come, first serve.
My hourly rate is $27/hour - pay once a month for however amount of lessons you'd like.
If you refer a friend to me, you'll get $5.00 off in your next lesson!
Feel free to spread the word around of a new Deaf ASL Tutor and Mentor available in Columbus, Ohio.
For ASL students in the North America or even in other countries - if you have a high-speed internet, a good web-cam and a reliable computer --- make an appointment with me via email: aslmastertutor(at)gmail.com
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I'm now officially in Columbus, Ohio! I truly feel like a gypsy with having moved to so many (7th!) states.
The beauty of Deaf Culture is that, sometimes, networking is amazing. Thanks to my college Deaf best friend, Jimmy Cardosi, may he rest in peace, his Deaf parents kindly offered me to rent a room in their basement.
I got my new Ohio driver's license & officially feel "Ohian" along with new license plates. Now I got to learn my way around in this city! Will have to buy a new GPS as the one I had froze in Colorado last year (-10 degrees - Tip: Keep your GPS device in a warm house if you know temperatures will drop!)
Curious of how much activities I can volunteer as I'm now very near OSD - Ohio School for the Deaf. Looking forward to meeting cute Deaf kids. I've already introduced myself to DSC - Deaf Service Center - an ASL interpreting agency for this city.
Reminder: My online and in person office is open from Tuesday to Friday - 10am to 5pm EASTERN Time Standard.
In order to check out different time zones in USA, go to this link here.
I look forward to mentoring or tutoring new & some returning ASL students this year. For an appointment,
Lastly, there's a cool new webcam program that I enjoy using - no longer need to put up with unreliable Skype and FaceTime is limited to Apple (Mac) users --- this online program is for any computers with a wifi or direct ethernet connection: APPEAR.IN - you simply type in the search engine window: appear.in and then send a link to a friend its url address and you two instantly connect. I have a specific room that I always use and send that url address to my current students. Check it out and practice beforehand to get a feel for it. Several ASL students I've worked with likes it.
I'll be adding new information throughout the rest of the year as I've been jotting down some good notes that I want to share but still unpacking and have to find them first.
Have a wonderful rest of the summer and stay cool in this hot/humid weather.
ASL Mentor/Tutor/Evaluator/Deaf Interpreter
It's now March 20, 2016 and living in NJ for almost 11months now has me still disoriented. I miss Colorado a lot. Weather here is crazy but that's global warming/or snowing?! With cabin fever, both Ziggy and I are feeling restless and want the warm weather to return and stay for good so we can go on our daily long walks on the boardwalk, etc.
News: I'm proud to say that this year is my 20th anniversary of being an ASL Mentor! I started out volunteering for many years before I felt comfortable seriously tutoring ASL students- through trial of errors and accomplishments, I've tweaked my methods to suit as many varied students of different learning styles. Then six years ago, already?!, I began freelancing on the side to evaluate ASL interpreters for a relay company and an ASL interpreting agency. I love it all. As always, I continue to take on worthy ASL workshops that improves my mentoring service as ASL Linguistics matures and old outdated ideas are no longer recommended - however, I still get annoyed when I see a lot of ASL teachers using odd terminology for the exact same ASL linguistic rules/grammar thus confusing students. So, naturally, I untangle the overwhelming mental web that students are caught up in and coach them to slowly unlearn and adapt to different teachers' conflicting theories/philosophies of what is "right" and what is "wrong".
For today, I am going to discuss about how to get better grades in your ASL classes - if your ASL teacher (no matter, deaf/Deaf/HoH/hearing/CODA,alien from Mars) seems to confuse you throughout the semester - I encourage you to do the following:
1. Assertively ask your ASL teacher to tutor you any missing gaps that you're not understanding from the class. Remember you're hiring your ASL to teach you everything you need to know. Your money you're paying them is to make them do their job.
2. Ask the teacher where are all the notes derives from - a textbook, from online, from a workbook, from a workshop's notes, from the teacher hirself.
It's very important to make sure the teacher is preaching, er, teaching exactly what's being distributed in class. Point it out if what they're sharing isn't the same things on the tests - make a note to the Dean that they're being conflicting of what they teach/show and what is on the test.
3. If the teacher appears to be aloof, burnt out or uninterested in helping you after class - ask the teacher for a referral of a skilled local ASL tutor who is familiar with his/her work. Be careful, as some ITP department will refer an amateur non-certified or trained ASL tutor. I've seen so many deaf or hearing students pretend to know what they're doing and ended up making it worse for the ASL students struggling to get an A or B+ in order to enter the ITP.
(If your neighborhood seriously has no ASL Mentor to work with, I may have time to assist you - advanced scheduling is mandatory).
For those honest ASL teachers who are devoting themselves to help you, listen and accept their feedbacks and work hard to improve yourselves. Show appreciation as they often have a very demanding schedule and are exhausted after working all day.
4. Do your homework everyday. Whatever you're not skilled in yet, study four hours a day if you can, until you mastered it. If you're not skilled in receptive fingertalking, practice until you're improved. Avoid wasting time worrying, fretting, stressing out when you could be using the same energy, the time to physically apply mastering ASL skills.
I cannot emphasize the necessity to actually sign and then practice with a classmate or with a deaf acquaintance or friend, or go to an ASL Club, or attend a Deaf events. Sign, sign, sign - watch, watch, watch.
Practice, practice, practice. Doing just the mental aspect of learning about ASL/Deaf history/interpreting theories, writing up reports, listening to the ITP lectures will not improve your expressive and receptive skills. This is a hands-on language. A common issue that a lot of people from all over north America (or even from Europe) - they just cannot find a skilled Deaf ASL tutor/mentor - and this is where I try to help as much as I can.
As an ASL Mentor, I cannot study for you, I cannot make you understand ASL without your participation.
5. Accept constructive feedback from your ASL teacher, ASL Mentor, ASL Tutor - however, as I've seen over and over - a lot of teachers/tutors sometimes have an outdated teaching methods that is no longer accepted in today's Deaf Community consensus of what is acceptable or not. Still, it's your responsibility to ACCEPT constructive ASL feedback and improve any areas that needs enhancing. Hoping that a "few" mistakes will not hurt is asking for trouble. Do be mentally FLEXIBLE.
Unfortunately, a lot of ASL students can't discern which teacher is a high-advanced or superior ASL signer or a PSE/S.E.E. mode user- and remember, just because an ASL teacher is Deaf/CODA does not always qualify them to be a skilled teacher. Most hearing ASL teachers are not certified from the ASLTA simply because the hearing run language department (or whatever department they're under) overlooks the necessity for ASL teachers to be qualified through this program. Some teachers are from another country and may have a foreign sign-accent, that's okay - again, be flexible.
You may want to tell the Dean about ASLTA:
Goals of ASLTA Evaluation & Certification Standards and Procedures
Sometimes we have amateur teachers making so many mistakes that hurts the honest hard working ASL students' grades. Sometimes a seasoned ASL teachers are so burnt out, they take it out on some students that they have grudges against. I find that there are very few honest, ethical ASL teachers in the USA and Canada... many of them, sadly, were either retired or fired from the ITP. There are few skilled ASL teachers, be grateful and learn all you can from them.
I've had my fair share of ill-equipped teachers during my years studying in the ASL Teacher/Mentoring Training -- and I've once had to literally translate one deaf teacher with a MA degree who also had a hearing ASL interpreter voicing the teacher's ASL Linguistic lecture and still the class could not follow. I was auditing the class - after noticing their frustration - I offered a paraphrased version of her lecture and the deaf teacher confirmed I was on the right track and demanded that I tell the class. I shyly rephrased the concepts to the class and they all got it instantly. For the rest of the semester, the deaf teacher often relied on me to rephrase the complex ASL Linguistic concepts!
In order to get good grades for you to enter the ITP - you may need to nod and pretend to agree with all of the teacher's methods, beliefs just to pass the course. Then you may have to unlearn or discard outdated notions as you study and pick up newly accepted consensus Deaf community's regional signs, signing methods, and updated versions of some signs. In the end, it'll all be worth it.
Do not take it personally when an ASL teacher or an ASL Tutor or sometimes an arrogant ASL classmate harshly criticize you. Sadly, I've seen over and over, too many rude teachers, rude classmates, rude tutor belittling other ASL students to the point that many quit.
Stay with it. Let the feedback be your stepping stone to advancing yourself. Let it fuel your motivation to improve yourself. That is how I got to where I am today and I'm still being criticized due to that I habitually English-on-the mouth because I was raised oral. This is my number one homework for life to reduce the exaggerated habit of mouthing perfect English-on-the-mouth. 11 years of hardcore speech therapy with a strict hearing family who expected me to have perfect speech growing up is a hard thing to unlearn. Still, I vow myself to improve no matter how long it takes.
Remember that egoistical people have a terrible need to "better themselves" by putting other ASL students down - realize that those who act like this are insecure people and tear anyone who stands their way.
Ignore them and stay firm in practicing until you perfect your expressive or receptive skills. Do your best.
6. Take Your Time: Take all the time you need to master ASL fluently.
I cannot stress how important this is. Too many students stress themselves out by cramming, barely passing the courses, and then forgetting everything they need to know before entering the ITP. With the exhausting tasks of studying all the ITP courses on top of struggling to become fluent in ASL - many students have been expelled or quit from the sheer stress of juggling too much.
If possible, study as long you need, take classes over again with a different ASL teacher or study one on one with a skilled ASL Tutor/Mentor until you've mastered all you need to know fluently. I've had 4 or 5 students studying under my wing for as long as three years until they were fluent and passed their exams. I understand sometimes finance is an issue but if this is what you truly want to do, make the sacrifice to get FLUENT first.
Please realize there are few amazing GREAT ASL teachers -- they deserve recognition and I applaud for all of them working so hard to preserve ASL ethically and passionately. If you know of a great ASL teacher, let me know, maybe I can email-interview them!
Any questions or comments, feel free to email me on my home page in this website. Have a wonderful Spring season everyone!
ASL Master Mentor of 20 years!
Hallow's Eve is my favorite holy-day of the year. I love the dressing up in costumes, contests, delicious harvest comfort food, and of course the candies! Hope everyone has a wonderful festive celebration this year.
This year and in 2016 - I plan to reaching out more to Home School students in the nation and locally. If anyone knows any home schooled students wanting to learn ASL - feel free to refer them to me!
The other goal I wish to accomplish locally is to set up my first ASL FOR BABES classes. This is designed for parents with prelingual deaf and hearing infants age 6 months and up - I'm trying to round up at least 5 parents and teach at my mother's beauty salon in Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ.
Classes will be on Sundays as it's when the salon is closed. Thinking of starting at 11am - one hour - for 8 weeks.
What will we learn? You'll learn basic ASL vocabulary & sentences - eating, bathing, playing with toys, reading/signing a very simple baby book, emotions, songs and manners. (There's more!)
Parents will need to register & pay in advance.
What to bring? Please bring a blanket, small toys, bottle/sippy cup, snacks, books, and notebook/pen.
Email me to reserve a seat and as soon I get 5 parents to participate - we'll set the date and get started teaching babies to learn authentic ASL and watch the communication breakdown and tantrums fade away! Pre-lingual babies learning ASL also have higher IQs!
I'm so excited to teach ASL for Babes classes this Fall/Winter.
If any questions - simply email me in my home page.
ASL Master Mentor/Instructor/ASL Interpreter Evaluator
I just moved to New Jersey two days ago - due to the high cost of rent in Colorado (apt rental is the 3rd highest in the nation!) --- there was just no way I could keep it up anymore. Now I'm currently living with my hearing mother, Giovanna Dazzi, who kindly let me move in back with her. I miss my family and I hope we'll enjoy our company together now that I am back in NJ.
This week, I hope to get stabilized soon as I'm dealing with a silly chest cold - coughing, sore throat, ear aches - the whole shebang. Obviously, the insane stress of suddenly having to pack, downsize, clean the apartment, tie up loose ends and move (fly red-eye on two different planes is NOT fun) in 2 1/2 weeks took a huge toll on my body with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. My older brother, Peter Bellanca, kindly got me an airfare and will fly to CO to pick up my packed car and drive it back to NJ. I'll pay back every penny I owe him (and a little extra) for all the trouble he went through.
My other goal is that I hope to meet new local Deaf and hearing fluent-in-ASL - I plan on providing a once a month ASL Coffee social at Starbucks in Sea Girt, NJ. But first, I will need a few months to get settled in.
ALERT: Due to working more hours for Convo Relay - I may have to reduce my hours with my private ASL students as with thyroiditis & FMS- I can only physically and mentally handle so many work hours per week.
Today's ASL topic I wanted to cover was to recognize a pattern in our ASL conversations. I'm hoping that by presenting a different angle will give you some insight in what to expect when learning to become fluent in ASL.
In observing certain Deaf friends' signed conversations with their partners/spouse and children, friends or family - I noticed there was a usual pattern.
Basically, it's pretty much goes like this:
13. Affirmative Declarative
15. Negative Declarative
16. Neutral Statement
18. Conditional (if, suppose word)
Now here's an ASL dialog copying this pattern of types of sentences I used above:
1. Hi. Your name what?
2. My name RaVen, your name what?
3. My name Ziggy. What are we doing now?
4. Hi Ziggy - please sit down.
5. Why do I need to sit down?
6. Because I need to teach you new ASL vocabulary.
7. I wonder if I can learn ASL if I stand up?
8. Please pay attention now - this sign means "toy".
9. Yes, it's a purple stuffed toy and I love it.
10. Yes, the new toy is a purple stuffed smiling dog given to you by your aunt.
11. How do you spell my aunt's name again?
12. Your aunt's name is V-E-R-A, Vera.
13. Right, she gave it to me few days ago.
14. Did you get to thank her?
15. No, not yet, but I will write her a thank you note!
16. Good plan.
17. Do you have note paper and pen?
18. If my brother brings my car over with all of my belongings in it, then I will get my paper and pen.
19. Remember when Vera drove us to the airport, happen that a mail delivery truck had a sign on its back door saying "New Jersey"?
20. Yes, it was a weird coincidence.
This isn't the greatest dialog, mind you. However, I wanted to show you from one angle, the grammatical view of what a basic dialog would look like and then another angle of a typed out dialog (in English format - would need to translate it in ASL when you sign it of course)...
So, this should give you a little glimpse of what to expect when a Deaf or a fluent ASL signer is trying to converse with you. Expect that they're going to use any of these common sentence types. Learn to predict with awareness --- that there are common patterns when conversing with signers.
It would be not normal if a person would constantly be asking you questions - one after another - unless it was like from a detective or a reporter. Or it wouldn't be normal if a person kept stating information unless it was a lecture. Or it wouldn't be normal if a person kept giving commands all the time, unless it was some military commander or a police officer or any authoritative figure spewing commands. Use your common sense and make honest educated guess. At the same time, don't think too hard and yet don't blank-out either. (or what I like to call "the-deer-in-the-headlight-syndrome").
Notice gestures - if a Deaf person points something out and smiles and mentions something -- it's usually a statement about that particular place/person/thing.
If a Deaf person or an ASL signer - uses their eyebrows and looks at you expectantly - it's usually a question.
Everything in life has a pattern -- learn to recognize them and soon everything will gel.
Have a great spring season everyone!
I haven't written in my blog due to a very close Deaf friend of mine who recently died from brain cancer. Jimmy Cardosi was an old college friend (Gallaudet) and I poured all of my attention in being there for him in the last stages of his life. He, too, was an ASL instructor in Ohio community college and was loved by his students. His family, the Deaf and ASL community & I will miss him greatly. I love you my dear brother, may you rest in peace, Jimmy.
Now back to my blog updates, here are new things I discovered that I'd like to share with you all.
First thing I need to address is that I will be switching my days off on Fridays to Mondays starting in March 2015. The reason is that a lot of doctors, dentists, chiropractors, acupuncturists clinics are either closed or closes early. In order to better serve my clients, I'm soon to have Fridays available from 10am to 12noon and then 1pm to 5pm MST.
Since Skype has been quite problematic - I've learned a new online webcam program called appear.in. It's great and much more clearer video reception than Skype. It's compatible for Windows and Mac users.
I also look forward to switching from Century Link to fiber optic internet service from my city in Longmont but they won't install it until 2017 in my area. *groans!* If you live in an area where fiber optic internet is available, I highly recommend you switching it over - it will improve your web-cam usage tremendously.
Lots of ASL students needs help with receptive fingertalking (#FT) skills while an ASL signer is signing sentences. I highly recommend all levels to practice watching ASLPride vlogs at:
This year I plan on making more videos to upload on my YouTube channel with #FT exercises, stories that uses a lot of ASL classifiers and other helpful tutorial videos. So, check often to see if I posted any up.
A current ASL student recommended me to pass around this great list of ASL DVDs for ASL students to buy and practice from home or borrow from a library.
ASL for Babies and Toddlers
ASL for Kids and Adults Vol 1
ASL for Kids and Adults Vol 2
Sign Language 101
ASL Everyday Words: Activities & Events
ASL Vocab Builder Vol 1
ASL Vocab Builder Vol 2
Emergency Medical Words and Sentences in ASL Vol 1
Emergency Medical Words and Sentences in ASL Vol 2
Idioms & Phrases in ASL Vol 1 - Teacher's Instructional DVD with Workbook
Common Expressions in ASL Vol 1
Common Expressions in ASL Vol 2
Idioms & Phrases in ASL Volumes 1-5
What Did She Say? Vol 1
What Did She Say? Vol 2
ASL Interpreter Training: Expressive Skills Practice
ASL Interpreter Training: Receptive Skills Practice Vol 1
For interpreters who need to study watching Deaf children sign - check out these cute deaf twins:
Here's an interesting vlog about Deaf parents raising hearing children:
This month's ASL Tips:
People often ask me how much studying do I need to do in order to improve my ASL skills?
Depending on your learning style, how much support system you have, how well you memorize new skills, how much effort you put into actually signing and watching signed videos either from your textbooks/workbook/YouTube videos assigned by your teacher/tutor/self... a combination of all these hands-on, active participation will speed your progress.
How many hours of actually signing a presentation, a story or dialogs do I need to apply?
Again, it depends on your ability to memorize, the ability to fix your errors quickly and deftly, the ability to self-critique from videos you filmed yourself to analyze what needs improvement and your ability to accept constructive feedback from experts.
It's suggested to physically sign at least one hour per day; I prefer 2 hours a day to really solidify things. Most people, I've noticed lately, put about 20 minutes or less! Many don't practice at all for weeks at a time and wonder why they're not progressing. I can't do the practice for you, so it's really important to be extremely patient with yourself and actively sign every single day.
Then I suggest to physically watch real life Deaf signers at Deaf events or via YouTube Deaf vloggers (just type up "Deaf Vlogger" or "ASL Story" and many variety kinds will surface), for at least one hour a day. Do not attempt to understand 100% of what signers signed. Just keep watching and slowly and steadily, more and more concepts and fingertalking words and loan signs will be fully understand.
I understand it's very difficult to sign with deaf or hard of hearing who are not superior or high-advanced hard-core ASL signers -- or worse even, that there are NO Deaf ASL signers at all to practice in your local (often small towns or small cities) areas. This is why I established an on-line ASL tutoring for individuals who need to improve their ASL skills.
If you need just practicing conversing in ASL, meet up with me and make an appointment through my front home page.
Another words, JUST DO IT!
You can do it.
You want to do it.
You'll be proud of how much you've accomplish, as a little bit on daily basis goes a long way.
Keep at it!
ASL Mentor/Tutor/Evaluator/Deaf Interpreter
About the author
RaVen - a dedicated ASL Master Tutor of