Workshop/Course Description: 

What are the challenges we face when taking someone else’s words and expressing them in our own voices?  This is the essential question for interpreters while voicing for Deaf consumers, and it is the essential question an actor faces when performing a text.  Interpreters and actors are both responsible for taking someone else’s language, finding its meaning, and presenting it in a new form to an audience; and the voice is their common tool.  This workshop teaches professional sign language interpreters how to improve their voicing production by using the skills of the professional actor: vocal control and power, character study, text analysis, and physical presentation.  Participants will also study elements of voicing particular to interpreting: processing, translation challenges and English-language proficiency.  Interpreters have long debated whether or not interpreting is acting.  It is.  It just shouldn’t be bad acting.

Educational Objectives


  • Identify the similarities between the interpreting and acting professions.

  • Ascertain and use given circumstances, objectives.

  • Convey emotions through action.

  • Practice proper posture to aid vocalization.

  • Alleviate physical tension throughout the body through exercises they can use on the job

  • Learn how to support their breath through vocal exercises to increase vocal power

  • Free the voice of blockages and tension.

  • Use script analysis, finding beats, choosing superobjectives, scene objectives, and moment-to-moment objectives, while locating obstacles and determining given circumstances


To be provided by host:

  • Digital projector (compatible with an Apple laptop) and projection screen

  • White board, markers, and eraser

  • Stool (preferred)

To be provided by presenter:

  • Apple laptop and remote

  • Digital handout (to be emailed to participants after the workshop)

Evaluation & Assessment

  • Understand and identify “The Voicing Problem” and “The Acting Problem”

  • Ascertain and use “given circumstances,” “objectives,” and “beats”

  • Participate in the acting exercises

  • Debate the definitions of “interpreting”

  • Identify their physical habits and learn to adjust to healthier choices

  • Recognize the problems with “Interpreter English” and use tools to overcome them

The effectiveness of the presentation will be evaluated by the presenter’s ability to:

  • Clearly express the voicing challenges that the acting tools are used to overcome

  • Lead the acting exercises in a way that makes students comfortable and able to learn

  • Define the acting techniques and terms so that interpreters can easily apply them

  • Give interpreters the resources to use and build on the workshop’s lessons

  • Guide discussion, create a comfortable and open environment, understand and appreciate interpreter’s concern, and tailor the instruction to the specific needs of each group of attendees