Activity Summary: Practice creating an ASL interpretation of an explanation of how compound interest works.

Developed by Doug Bowen-Bailey

Competencies Addressed:  Numbers, Use of Space, ASL Grammar, Interpretation: English to ASL

Time Required for Activity: 40 mins


To incorporate effective ASL features of use of numbers, space, and ASL Grammar in an interpretation for a video explaining how compound interest works.

Prediction and Generation

Vidoe screen shot with the words The source video for this video comes from the Khan Academy and presents a lesson about how compound interest works. Before you attempt an interpretation, spend a few minutes thinking about what you know about compound interest and what questions you might have.  This step is an important one for priming your brain to both be effective in the interpretation and to help the learning you gain from this last longer and be incorporated into your practice.

Interpret the Video (First Attempt)

In this video from the Khan Academy, Sal Khan explains the basic principles of how compound interest works. You can see the source video in context here including a transcript for the video.

There are many features required to effectively interpret the video into ASL and you can choose which you want to focus on.  Here are some potential areas to work on:

  • use of numbers
  • use of space
  • ASL grammar

With the area in mind that you want to focus on, please go ahead and play the video and create an interpretation.  Consider recording yourself for analysis.

Play Source Video

Check Your Work

Think about your first attempt.  What sections were challenging?  What questions did you have after interpreting the text for the first time?

Now, watch the following ASL explanation of the concept of compound interest. This is not an interpretation of the English source, but an independent explanation of the same concept.  Also, note that it is from a wealth management company. In watching the video, think also about how the origin of it coming from an agent for a company that helps people with planning for retirement affect the overall goal of the video compared to the source video.

Play ASL Explanation Video

Interpret the Video Again

Using what you learned by comparing your first interpretation against the ASL example, interpret the text again. Focus on incorporating the specific skills you are working on.  Record your interpretation so you can compare it with your first attempt.

Play Source Video


  • What did you notice that was different between interpreting the video the first time and after you had compared your work with the ASL version?
  • What new approaches or insights were you able to incorporate in your second interpretation?