Developed by Shanna Grossinger

Time Required for Activity:  30 mins

Competencies Address: 

  • message coherence
  • Interpreting: ASL to English
  • Comprehension: ASL lexicon
  • Comprehension: ASL discourse
  • Production: English discourse


To maintain message coherence interpreting from an ASL source text


Learners will:

  • maintain coherence of message in interpretation.
  • assess effectiveness of two attempts at an interpretation.

Why We Need Universal Design

In this TEDxBoulder Talk, Michael Nesmith shares his solutions around disability through Universal Design.

Step One: Predict and Interpret from ASL into English (Simultaneous)

Michael Nesmith is presenting about his perspective on Universal Design and how it can be used to address the barriers that all people face in society. He works as a designer for Amazon. Spend a few moments predicting what he might talk about and how it can be talked about in English. (If you are Deaf interpreter, spend some time thinking about who the person you are working with and what type of more English-like signing is needed – or perhaps you are envisioning that you are interpreting for someone with low-vision.)

You will interpret the first five minutes of the video.  If you wish to do it in a consecutive manner, you can pause the video as you proceed. Please record your interpretation so you can analyze your work.

View the Source video. (Displays in a pop-up window.)

Step Two: Assess Your Work

Hearing interpreters

Now that you have attempted to describe this scene in ASL, read the transcript of the original English interpretation. Compare and contrast this interpretation with your work.

Read the transcript of the original interpretation. (The video will display in a pop-up window.)

Deaf interpreters

Review the original source video to compare it with your work and see if you were able to maintain the integrity of the message.

Step Three: Re-interpret the video

You may want to space your learning to make it more challenging and wait an hour or a day to re-watch the video and interpret again.

Think about what you learned from the second step during which you either read the English transcript or just watched the original source video. Create another interpretation focusing what you identified as areas of improvement in the second step. Again, we encourage you to record your work so you can compare it with your first attempt.

View the Original Source. (Displays in a pop-up window.)