A white woman with auburn straight hair and a pink shirt sits in front of a window with trees outside.Developed by ASL Flurry 

Competencies Addressed

  • depiction
  • semantic equivalence
  • Taylor – Major Features
    • Major Feature:  Fingerspelling
    • Major Feature: Numbers
      • Key Skill 2.1: Sign the correct number (p. 61)
      • Key Skill 2.7: Sign numbers clearly (p. 79)
      • Key Skill 2.8: Use pausing correctly within and between numbers (p. 80)
    • Major Feature:  Lexicon
      •  Key Skill 3.1: Use ASL lexicon (vocabulary) accurately (p. 85)
    • Major Feature: Use of Space
      • 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)
      • Key Skill 5.6: Use accurate non-manual signals when structuring space (p. 146)
    • Major Feature:  Grammar
      • Key Skill 6.4: Use prominalization in dialogue accurately(p. 171)

Time Required for Activity: 60 mins


Interpreters will:

  1. Clearly fingerspell names of people, places and terms.
  2. Correctly and clearly convey numbers.
  3. Use space correctly when referencing more than one person.
  4. Accurately convey medical concepts.


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

Step One: Preparation

Video Description

In the first video, a woman stresses the importance of early breast cancer detection. She briefly shares her experience with the doctors at WestMed hospital, her diagnosis of her own stage one breast cancer, and her double mastectomy in an effort to avoid chemotherapy. She is proud to be cancer free and encourages others to get screened.


  • How much do you know about breast cancer?
  • Based on what you have been given and on your own background knowledge, what information do you need to know more about?
  • What images would be helpful for you to view so that you can represent the concepts accurately in ASL?

Do an internet search for terms and concepts you are not familiar with and don’t forget to look for images or videos that will support your ASL production.

Step 2: Identification of depiction and structuring space

Step Two: Interpret into ASL

Interpret the Why Early Breast Cancer Detection is Important 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 live for someone. 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 live, 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 source video

This text uses automated captioning.  Click here to see English transcript with punctuation. 

Step 3: Get Feedback

Whether you were able to interpret live for someone 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?
  • Was enough facial expression/vocal inflection used?
  • Were fingerspelled words clear?
  • Were classifiers used/interpreted 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

Part 1: 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?
  • Are the concepts expressed in English clear in ASL (Immigrants, refugees, etc.)?

If you had difficulty understanding the source video, re-watch it as many times as you need to fully comprehend the content.

Part 2 – View Parallel Text

View interpretation

View the parallel text that is provided. A parallel text is a video in ASL that is similar in content. In the parallel text, look for the key features you are working on for this assignment to see how they are produced. Consider the following questions when watching the parallel text.

  • How are key terms and concepts signed?
  • How is space used for referencing concepts or people?
  • How are non-manual markers used to portray affect or tone?
  • How are non-manual markers used grammatically?
  • How are sentences structured?
  • When is fingerspelling used?
  • What concepts are expanded upon for clarity in ASL?

Pay especially close attention to areas that you had any trouble with, as well as the areas that demonstrate the features that are the focus of this assignment. What features would you like to incorporate into the re-do of your interpretation?

Step 5: Interpret the Video and Assess Again

Now that you have reviewed your work, gotten feedback and studied a sample interpretation, try the interpretation again and incorporate as many of the desired features from the sample interpretation that you can. Don’t forget to record your work.

Re-Interpret the Source Video

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.