Monday, December 30, 2013

The 1st deaf female rabbi

The first deaf female rabbi, Rebecca L. Dubowe, is now a visiting scholar at Gallaudet University. The Washington Post offers a photo slideshow of her work here.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Girl gets new implant for Christmas

Cherie Marciniak was adopted by an American family six years ago. The move from Thailand to Minnesota not only meant a new home, but a cochlear implant. It stopped working after four years of use. That's when friends and family stepped in to raise money so that Cherie, now 11 years old, would get a newer and better implant. KBJR-TV, the NBC-affiliated for Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin, tells the full story in the video below (captions included).

Friday, December 27, 2013

Bogus Terp calls himself "Great Fake"

image from Facebook video
Thamsanqa Jantjies says that even if he is a fake sign language interpreter, he is "a great fake". Jantjies caused an international stir after he "interpreted" at Nelson Mandela's memorial service. He said he is a "great fake" because "I expose what is going on in the government and system" in a rambling video posted on Facebook. Watch the video here. You can see in the video he is wearing a shirt with the word Sterkfontein on it. That is the name of a psychiatric hospital in Krugersdorp. Jantjies was admitted there a few days ago. He has admitted to taking part in killing two people a decade ago, but he did not stand trial because of metal health issues. Read more about that episode here.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Deaf man arrives on flight--in the wrong state!

Kenneth Brown was on his way to visit his brother in a Seattle hospital last week. But instead he wound up in Phoenix. Details on what happened on his flight from KNXV-TV here.

Song: I liked you better deaf

Danny Hamilton wrote a song about his father getting hearing aids for Christmas. Danny titled it I liked you better deaf. While his father wasn't profoundly deaf before getting some digital help, the video of the song has already racked up around 200k hits. Danny writes, "My Dad, who has been hard of hearing for about as long as I can remember, recently invested in hearing aids. So I wrote him a little song for Christmas to celebrate his newfound sense, affectionately entitled, 'I Liked You Better Deaf.'" The lyrics are posted along with the song on YouTube. There's captioning, but it isn't very accurate.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

CBS: Inexpensive hearing devices bring gift of sound to less fortunate

Tiny, high-tech hearing aids are making a difference "in the world's poorest countries." Barry Petersen of CBS News reports on what Sound World Solutions is doing to help the developing world in a video report posted below.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Active Shooter Drill at Deaf School

Police officers practiced active shooter training at the Kentucky School for the Deaf yesterday in Danville. Read about how sign language was incorporated into the drill from The Advocate Messenger here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Implant: I expected to be hearing more

A Florida man decides to turn in his hearing aid for a cochlear implant. Mike Gray says he was initially disappointed and it's a slow process. See a video report about Gray from the Tampa Bay Times below (no captions) or read a more detailed report here.

Protests at Seattle Men’s Chorus concert

Protesters marched in front of Seattle's Benaroya Hall last night over the sign language interpretation of the Seattle Men's Chorus. KING5-TV filed a video report on the controversy.

Woman assaulted near Gally

A woman was sexually assaulted by armed men just a couple of blocks from Gallaudet University this past weekend. WJLA-TV has a video report posted below on

Update on Medical Student Suit

In September we told you about a Nebraska jury verdict here, siding with a medical student who sued sued Creighton University for not meeting his learning needs. Michael Argenyi was not provided interpreters or a transcription system. Argenyi has a cochlear implant but also uses cued speech. A Nebraska jury agreed with Argenyi--but failed to award him any financial damages. This week, a judge agreed with the jury that he didn't prove the discrimination was intentional--that means Argenyi is still responsible for the $133,000 bill for the services he was given during his first two years of medical school. However, the judge also ordered the University to provide him with an interpreter and the transcription service when he returns to the school this coming summer. Argenyi plans to appeal the parts of the decision that went against him--and the school hasn't decided whether to do the same. Ironically, while he was waiting for this case to be resolved, Argenyi attended Boston University where he was given the accommodations that are at issue in his case with Creighton. You can read the NAD's (National Association of the Deaf) reaction here and judge's Friday ruling is here.

Deaf School loses Superintendent

Barbara Garrison
(Image from the Missouri
School for the Deaf website)
The Missouri School for the Deaf is losing its superintendent. Barbara Garrison is retiring after more than a decade at the school. She told the News Tribune her favorite things during her time at MSD has been the "students, the staff and the families.. In general, I’ve loved the city of Fulton — it has been one of the most welcoming communities I’ve ever been in.” A search is underway for Garrison's replacement. Read the full story here.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

ASL of Twas the Night Before Christmas

Sheena McFeely has two daughters--one is deaf like her and the other hearing. You can see one of the daughters (Shaylee) signing a version of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas in the video posted below. Mental Floss magazine picked up the post and offers what it says are 9 Reasons This Little Girl’s Sign Language Version of “'Twas the Night Before Christmas” is Great which you can read  here.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

‘Does someone born with a hearing loss “hear” an inner voice?’

"I can sometimes use my hands to retrieve an appropriate meaning item, and then choose an English equivalent. Likewise, when I spend a lot of time with deaf, signing friends or colleagues, I will find myself signing in my dreams. Thus the inner hands become available as needed, or with use." Read more responses to the question at the Guardian here.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Petition: Dump Men's Chorus interpreter

The Seattle deaf community is abuzz over the ASL interpreter working for the Seattle Men's Chorus. Some complain that Kevin Gallagher he is hard to understand and not certified. The city's weekly newspaper, The Stranger, reports the Chorus plans to keep Gallagher as its interpreter. In an open letter, Chorus executive director Frank Stilwagner says:
I have consulted with individuals who I know to be qualified ASL experts. I have also had conversations with individuals affiliated with the deaf community, including deaf patrons who regularly attend our concerts, to listen to a spectrum of needs and responses, furthering our understanding. While most have praised our dedication as an organization to offering accessible performances with interpreters, this current concern highlights a need to expand those services.
Stilwagner goes on to ask for "constructive feedback." Some have started an online petition here which says Gallagher is not an "effective interpreter" and plan a protest at the choir's show this coming Sunday. Below is a video report from KING-TV (captions available).

Fake Terp in hospital

The fake sign language interpreter is now in a psychiatric hospital. Sign language experts said Thamsanqa Jantjie wasn't doing anything but flapping his hands during Nelson Madela's memorial service, which drew together world leaders like Barack Obama. Jantjie claimed schizophrenia caused him to have hallucinations and hear voices during the service. Johannesburg's Star is reporting that he has been admitted to the Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital. Jantjie has been linked to the mod murder of two men a decade ago. Read about that here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Money for 100 kids to get implants

The UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is footing the bill for 100 children to get bilateral cochlear implants. The cost will reach more than 3 million pounds (nearly $5 million dollars). Read the story here.

BuzzFeed ASL video

The viral-focused internet site BuzzFeed is offering a short video titled 8 Phrases You Need to Know in ASL in this video.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Terp Rules in SA next year

The South African parliament has passed a new language bill--and the Department of Arts and Culture says it "has nothing to do with the interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial." The law would require interpreters to register and hold certain qualifications. Read the story at the Independent Online here.

Lost in interpretation

The recent fiasco at the Nelson Mandela memorial service has put sign language interpreting in the spotlight. The PBS NewsHour says the interpreters job is "part performance, part science, and part cognitive gymnastics." The program offers a detailed look at what happens when things go wrong in an online article here.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fake interpreter part of a mob that killed two men

The fake interpreter at Nelson Mandela memorial service was involved with burning two men to death, according to the Associated Press. Thamsanqa Jantjie was supposed to stand trial a decade ago for the crime, but according to a relative and friends, he avoided prison because the court found him mentally unfit. Jantjie allegedly joined an angry mob that found two men with a stolen TV. The group of vigilantes put tires around the two men and torched them. Jantjie admits his involvement, telling the Sunday Times newspaper of Johannesburg, "It was a community thing, what you call mob justice, and I was also there." eNCA, a South African news station reports that Jantjie was accused of rape but acquitted. He was sentenced to three years in prison for theft, according to eNCA, but may not have spent any time in jail. Attempts by various news outlets to find the school that Jantjie claims to have studied sign language at have not been successful.

Opinion: Colleges Might as Well Say ‘Deaf People Unwelcome Here’

"Colleges and universities often provide garbled interpretation for deaf students, if they provide any at all, sending the message that deaf people are not welcome," writes University of Illinois at Chicago professor Lennard J. Davis. He explores why sign language interpreters are in short supply on college campuses in an opinion piece published in the influential Chronicle of Higher Education here.

What was really said by fake interpreter

Jimmy Kimmel invited a sign language interpreter on his show last week to try to interpret what Thamsanqa Jantjie was signing at the Nelson Mandela funeral. The interpreter told the audience that Jantjie was doing some words of sign language, but it was unrelated to the speeches being given in Mandela's honor and "complete gibberish." The Kimmel video is posted below.

Salaries for Top Gallaudet Administrators

T. Alan Hurwitz makes more than half-of-a-million dollars in total compensation as president of Gallaudet University. Hurwitz pulls in $512,946, According to the Chronicle of Higher Education. That makes him the third highest-paid president in his peer group. Here are some other Gallaudet salaries, as reported by the Chronicle. Paul Kelly, VP for finance & administration: $408,183

  • Stephen Weiner, Provost: $309,962
  • Cynthia King, Chief information officer: $269,420
  • Edward Bosso, VP for clerc center: $259,792
  • Carol Erting, Dean, GSPP: $258,779
  • Donald Bell, Chief of staff: $256,978
  • Thomas Allen, Director VL2: $250,446
  • Catherine Andersen, Assistant provost & chief enrollment manager: $247,396
  • Jane Dillehay, Professor & chairperson gsr: $245,427
  • Lynne Murray, VP for development and alumni relations: $240,519

Read more details here.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

SNL Mocks Fake Funeral Terp

Saturday Night Live addressed the Nelson Mandela fake interpreter fiasco last night in its opening sketch. Kenan Thompson portrayed Thamsanqa Jantjie, the incoherent South African interpreter while Jay Pharaoh pretended to be President Barack Obama. The interpreter is eventually seized by Secret Service personnel, but later returns to shout the opening line from the NBC show: "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night Live." The video is below on

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bogus sign language service alleged

A deaf couple in the UK is accused of creating a fake sign language interpreting service, according to the Daily Mail. Prosecutors say Shahab Reza submitted bogus invoices for interpreting services that were never done. His wife, and their two adult children were involved as well. The family pled not guilty in court yesterday and will go on trial this coming fall. Read the full story here.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Deaf St. Peters man hears daughter sing for the first time

Ken Stehle's got to hear his daughter sing a solo at the Villa Duchesne High School's Christmas concert for the first time Sunday. St. Louis TV station KSDK-TV has a video report below. No captions but you can read the story here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fake interpreter comes forward

He suffered a schizophrenic episode. That's the explanation of what happened from the man accused of pretending to be a sign language interpreter. Thamsanqa Jantjie told Johannesburg's Star newspaper he was ill when he presented himself on stage as world leaders honored Nelson Mandela during a South African memorial service. But people in the deaf community say he was gesturing gibberish. Jantjie claims he started hearing voices and hallucinating while on stage. He told the Star:
"There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation. I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry. It's the situation I found myself in."
Jantjie said he did not know what triggered the attack and said he took medication for his schizophrenia, though he also told Johannesburg's Talk Radio 702 he was pleased with his performance. Read more in the Star here. Below is a eNCAnews report that compares what Jantjie did and what a real interpreter would do.

Stephen Colbert on Fake Terp

The sign language scandal at Mandela's Memorial service got the attention of comedian Stephen Colbert. He spend a segment of his Comedy Central show on the topic. You can see it below (captions available).

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

CNN report on fake interpreter

The CNN went to Gallaudet University for part of its video report on the fake interpreter that showed up on stage in South Africa at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Watch it below on

Mystery interpreter Named

The UK's Daily Mirror says it knows the identity of the fake interpreter at the Nelson Mandela memorial. According to the paper, "sources in South Africa last night named him as Thami Jantjie." And it appears he's done the same thing before--there is video of him next to the South African president at an African National Congress event last year. Jantjie's gestures did not match those of an actual interpreter in the corner of South African TV screens. Read more here.

Cute CODA's Holiday Concert signing caught on video

A kindergartener made sure her deaf parents were able to follow the singing of her classmates by signing her way through several Christmas songs at her school's holiday concert. Tampa's WTVT-TV (Fox 13) has the video of the demonstrative CODA.

Reaction to Fake Terp

The Obama Administration said it has no comment about the fake sign language interpreter who showed up on stage at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, according to USA Today. Questions are being referred questions to the South African government. But White House spokesman Josh Earnest it would be "a shame" if this incident became "a distraction" from the many tributes to Mandela. Meanwhile, Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf is offering experts to the media that can talk about what happened. You can read a press release here. A social media reporter for the Washington Post suggests what happened could be "a legacy of apartheid." Caitlin Dewey explains why here.

Today Show Jokes about Fake interpreter

NBC's Today show is apologizing for a joke about the fake interpreter at the memorial service for Nelson Mandel in South Africa. During a discussion of the controversy among the hosts, someone appeared in the corner of the screen, making random gestures as if they were an sign language interpreter. Host Natalie Morales shook her head and immediately said, “Oh no, no, no. Guys, let’s not do that,” Morales said, shaking her head. She was joined by other anchors who expressed disapproval. Al Roker echoed her "No, no, no" and added "wrong" before covering his face with his hands.The Today Shows Twitter feed later send this apology: We aired a joke in our 9:00 hour that was offensive. We apologize to our viewers. Here's a video of what happened.

Deaf Seahawk RB inspires students

Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman spoke to about 100 students at Tacoma's Baker Middle School yesterday. Coleman lost his hearing when he was just three-years-old.  KING-TV, channel 5 has a video report (no captions, but you can read the story here).

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

ASL program growing at UA

The popularity of sign language classes at the University of Arizona is bringing some changes to the program, according to the school's student newspaper. The Educational Interpreting Program has been adding a couple of dozen students each year, so administrators are getting more selective about who gets into it. An essay and ASL test will be given to applicants and a practicum requirement is being added to the program. Learn more about it here.

China sign: American = Crazy

Cantonese Sign Language uses the same gesture for American as it does crazy, according to a South China Morning Post article. Read the full story about national stereotypes in Chinese sign language here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

iPads help children with implants

"My therapists are passionate about this,” said Kathleen Sussman, director of the Weingarten school. The California program run by the school uses iPads to help children who've had cochlear implant surgery. The Jean Weingarten Peninsula Oral School for the Deaf in Redwood City is working with the Stanford School of Medicine‘s Department of Otolaryngology on the “teletherapy” project. Read more at the Science Blog here.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lubbock church gives deaf opportunity to worship

A Lubbock, Texas church is reaching out to the deaf community in its area. KJTV has a video report posted below. No captions, but you can read the story here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gallaudet admin to lead Midwest school

A Gally administrator is leaving to become president of a private school in Kansas. Lynne Murray will take over at Baker University from its retiring president. Right not, Murray serves as Gallaudet's vice president of development and alumni and international relations. Read more from the Baker University website here. You can see a video of the announcement below.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

African TV network to add sign language interpreters

The President of the African country of Tanzania has ordered TBC, the Tanzania Broadcasting Cooperation, "to use sign language experts in its programmes" according to The Citizen. Read the story here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Shootout Near Gally

Image from Google Maps
A shootout with DC police took place last night just a few blocks from Gallaudet University. A suspect was killed in the exchange and an officer was wounded around 9pm, according to DC media reports. The altercation took place after police stopped a car driving throughout the area.

Students Make History in Hong Kong

In a "city where sign language is still banned from usage in most classrooms and where there are only 10 officially licensed translators" seven deaf students are the first to complete a new program. They each have linguistics diplomas from Hong Kong's Chinese University. Read the story from the South China Post here.

Iowa School Super to Retire

The superintendent of the Iowa School for the Deaf is retiring. Iowa's Gazette reports that Patrick Clancy will end his less than two years term in the post on June 30th of next year. The board was criticized when it appointed Clancy because he does not sign and did not seek input from the deaf community when making the decision. The search for a new superintendent begins early next year.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Louisiana Agency Makes Shift

The Deaf Action Center in Shreveport has shifted its focus in the last three years. Find out what the organization is doing in an article in the Shreveport Times here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tribes Opens in Chicago

Tribes opens this Thursday in Chicago at the Steppenwolf Theatre. The play is about a family struggling to understand deafness. Billy is deaf but doesn't learn about sign language or deaf culture until he meets Sylvia--and his world begins to open up. The Chicago performances run through February 9 and you can find out more here. Below is a video interview from WLS-TV with some of the cast members.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Terp's moves a concert hit

ASL interpreter Holly Maniatty work at music venues is profiled in an Associated Press story here.

A look at Gally from the Middle East

An Arab new site explains to its readers what it's like to be a student at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Arab News, a Saudi Arabian publication, has the story here.

Made for iPhone hearing aids

Apple is partnering with a Danish company to create something new for iPhone users--hearing aids connected directly to the iPhone. The ReSound LiNX was developed by hearing aid manufacturer GN ReSound. It will work like a bluetooth, allowing users to get sound right from the phone--without a connecting device. There's more information from GN ReSound here.