by – Lynne Wiesman
The original impetus for this project was to address an issue of compatibility for asynchronous distance classes of an activity called “The Purple Ball”, fulfilled for years in traditional, face-to-face classes and blended, hybrid classes. This synchronous activity requires that students be in one place able to toss around a number of balls all of varying sizes, colors, shapes, and dimensions. The debrief of this activity seeks to challenge new students in Introduction to Interpreting on the implications of the activity to their future, potential career as an interpreter.
However, with the course being fulfilled at a distance, the opportunity to have students in one place at the same time isn’t possible. The goal was to seek out a compatible activity that could help students make connections between the “game” and the rigors and complexity of the interpreting process.
A series of games was used from Luminosity (www.luminosity.com) for the purpose of testing the students on a variety of skills/aptitudes such as memory, attention, speed, problem-solving, and mental flexibility. All characteristics required to be successful in the interpreter training program and as an interpreter.
The students enjoyed the “games” and the debrief which had them make connections to the game and interpreting which is, ultimately, the most important aspect of the process. A few of the comments from students who completed the course were:
“Speed match was labeled as information processing. This goes hand in hand with the color match. As interpreters we have to be able to hear spoken English or see ASL and know exactly what message they are trying to convey, process it quickly, and interpret it into the Specific language. This is a VITAL part of ASL. I did pretty well on this test 92%. But To be the best I have to be 100% and I aim to be the best at anything I do. So Again, just like with the color match, I need to immerse myself in the Deaf community, events, gatherings, meetings, study other interpreters, study ASL and really learn what all the different registers, facial expressions, signs, body language, etc. how it is all used to convey certain messages in ASL so that when I am interpreting them, I can not only see them and be able to interpret to English, but I can take English and be able to interpret it EFFECTIVLEY to ASL with the use of my signs, facial expressions, NMM, and body language! And in interpreting you have to be quick, you can’t stumble behind or you might miss the whole message.”
“Which number is greater. I overall did really well in this. It requires quick shifting of focus between two values and being able to evaluate them both. this is important for being an interpreter because you receive several different inputs and you have to be able to see what’s going on and act accordingly. “
Conversely, a few of the comments from students who did not complete the course were:
In relation to interpreting, this assessment was testing how accurately and quickly I could shift my focus from one topic to another when interpreting. Relating to skills needed for interpreting, this relates to one’s ability to focus and pay attention, spatial awareness (peripheral vision), and being ready to appropriately respond to the information being given at any one time. This assessment might symbolize skills. I did fairly well on this result (only missed one), so I feel that switching focus when necessary when interpreting may come easier to me than other aspects. I personally feel that my focus is not as great as I wish it were, so I will continue to work on that anyway. I can find some video games that particularly cater to assisting in focus.
This assessment was testing your attention by having you plan ahead to make a correct choice. When interpreting, it’s important to understand the context of what the person is signing fairly quickly so you can translate it accurately and in a timely manner. You must also stay prepared for any personal or unexpected information given to you. These results also relate to focus, but more so being able to stay on task with what is being discussed. It relates to physically being attentive and alert and being emotionally calm and neutral, so you are not distracted while interpreting. This assessment might symbolize knowledge. Being able to know the information being given/received and accurately translating it are crucial for interpreting. This game was the most difficult for me, so I will continue to work on this.
This assessment tested how fast you processed sudden information. When interpreting, you may come across sudden unexpected information or sudden noises/movement. It’s important to stay on topic and react appropriately to these things. These results relate to processing information and reacting appropriately, staying alert and unbiased, and keeping emotions calm and neutral while interpreting. The part of interpreting this assessment might symbolize is aptitude, attitude, and professionalism. I did fairly well on this assessment and feel this is one of the aspects of interpreting I would do best on. I still feel I should work on this despite that, though. Remaining calm might be difficult to overcome.
The Luminosity results have potential for aiding interpreting students and educators with predicting success and fitness for the course, the program, and ultimately interpreting as a career. These initial results will be maintained to assess the correlation of these initial results to completion of the program. They will also be used to ascertain if they are an effective predictor of success in the program and as an interpreter. If so, they will be used for incoming students as a way to self-assess fitness for the program and interpreting.