Workshop/Course Description: 

The Presidential campaign is upon us, and it brings with it democracy and democrats, the election and the electoral college, constituents, primaries, the commander-in-chief, and of course, gerrymandering. In short, the election presents unique interpreting challenges from the language of politics. This workshop is for interpreters who believe that if there are people willing to talk or teach about American politics, we should do a super-heroic job interpreting for them. This is a brief, but deep dive into elections, government, the constitution, ideology and parties, and presidential power.

Educational Objectives

The goal of this workshop is to prepare interpreters for the challenging language that appears during the electoral process.  But language doesn't exist in a vacuum, and in order to truly interpret for meaning, one requires a deep understand of the material.  While stopping at points all along the way to develop interpreting strategies for difficult concepts, participants will be ableto:

  • Interpret 26 key political terms from English into ASL or conceptually accurate Signed English

  • Define (and be able to express in ASL) the role and structure of the U.S. Congress.

  • List 9 presidential powers, and be able to describe (in ASL) 3 powers in detail.

  • Identify the stages of a presidential election, from primaries and caucuses, through the general election.

  • Explain, in ASL, the purpose and procedures of the Electoral College

  • Catalogue the linguistic differences between ASL and English that make "political interpretation" challenging


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


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

  • Clearly express the challenges of interpreting in the election season

  • Challenge students to question their own knowledge of the political system and American history

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

  • Guide discussion, create a comfortable and open environment, understand and appreciate participants' concerns, and tailor the instruction to the specific needs of each group of attendees.