A Filipino woman with black hair pulled up wearing a white necklace and black blouse speaks in front of a blue/grey background. The CATIE Center logo is in the lower right corner of the video screenDeveloped by ASL Flurry 

  • spatial structuring/discourse mapping
  • depiction in ASL
  • Taylor – Major Features
    • Major Feature: Fingerspelling (pp. 29-60)
    • Major Feature: Use of Space
      • Key Skill 5.1: Structure space accurately in relation to the environment that is referred to in the communication event (especially geographic locations) (p. 131)
      • Key Skill 5.2: Use referencing accurately when the referent is not present (p. 134)
      • Key Skill 5.4: Use accurate spatial agreement (p. 141)
    • Major Feature: Grammar
      • Key Skill 6.4: Use prominalization in dialogue accurately (p. 171)
    • Major Feature: Interpreting
      • Key Skill 7.11: Express uncertainty appropriately when unsure of the speaker’s utterance (p. 227)

Time Required for Activity: 60 mins


Interpreters will:

  1. use space correctly when interpreting geographical locations.
  2. use space correctly when referencing more than one person.
  3. use space correctly when interpreting reported speech (conversations).


Taylor, M. (2017) Interpretation Skills: English to American Sign Language. Edmonton:  Interpreting Consolidated.

Step One: Preparation

In this video, Gloria Manganon tells about her experience moving to the United States from the Philippines. Be sure you can spell her name and where she is from in the Philippines. Do you know how to sign Philippines? Would your audience?

Check out some resources

Meet the Speaker

Watch the first 22 seconds of the video to see her presentation style.

Meet the Presenter

Step Two: Interpret into ASL

Interpret the Coming to America video cold, without watching it first, and record your work.

Prepare for the interpretation by getting centered. For example, you may want to take a deep breath, get calm and determined and ready to do your best. Visualize yourself demonstrating the skills you are working on. You can do it!

Whenever possible, you are encouraged to interpret for a live person. When you work with real people, you are able to adjust your interpretation in real time based on cues you get from the person you are working with and do your best work. If you are not able to interpret for a live person, visualize a Deaf individual with whom you are comfortable. In your mind, your goal is to make sure that this person appreciates the story as much as someone who uses the same language as the speaker and may want to meet the presenter.

Interpret the video

Get Feedback:

Whether you were able to interpret for a live person or not, you are encouraged to ask for feedback form a Deaf person (friend or mentor). Either show your listener your recorded work or request feedback or upon completion of the live interpretation.

Ask your listener to look for specific features, especially about the features you are working on for this interpretation, rather than just overall feedback. Some questions you can ask are:

  • Where in the interpretation did you feel confused?
  • Could you tell who was doing what?
  • Were there terms that weren’t clear?
  • Were enough facial expressions/vocal inflection used?
  • Could you read the fingerspelled words?
  • Were classifiers used correctly?

You can also ask comprehension questions specific to the interpretation, or ask your listener to summarize the information from the interpretation to find out if your message was clear. If you are asking a Deaf friend rather than a trained Deaf mentor, be sure to explain that this is a way to measure the effectiveness of your interpretation, not an evaluation of their understanding.

Step 4: Assess Your Work

This step consists of several parts.

Assess your ASL

  • First, view the recording of your interpretation. Do an initial assessment: based on the following:
    • Are subjects and pronouns present in each sentence (Overtly stated or incorporated spatially into the verb, or in another way)?
    • Are classifiers included to the extent possible? Are they correctly produced and used?
    • Is space structured accurately and to the extent possible?
    • Is depiction used to convey action and conversation?
    • Are facial expressions used in conjunction with classifiers and depicted action to convey meaning?
    • Do facial expressions accurately convey the speaker’s tone and affect?

Compare Your Work with Sample Interpretation

View the sample interpretation that is provided. In the sample, look for the key features you are working on for this assignment to see how they are produced.

View Interpretation

Consider the following questions when watching the interpretation.

  • How is space used for referencing people, places and things? For geographic locations?
  • How is space used for referencing concepts?
  • How are non-manual markers used to portray affect or tone?
  • What examples of depiction do you see? How are non-manual markers used in these examples?
  • How are non-manual markers used grammatically?
  • How are sentences structured?
  • How is culture-specific information conveyed?
  • When is fingerspelling used?

Pay especially close attention to areas that you had any trouble with, as well as the features that are the focus of this activity: use of space for geographical locations and to convey information about people and conversations. What features would you like to incorporate into the re-do of your interpretation?

Step 6: Re-do Interpretation and Re-assess

Now that you have reviewed your work, try the interpretation again, incorporating what you learned from feedback from others or from reviewing your interpretation. Don’t forget to record your work.

Finally, review your work one last time. Were you able to incorporate features that resulted in an improved version? If you can do it even better, try it again. Repeat until you are satisfied with your work.

Interpret the video