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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sign Language Interpreter Lydia Callis Brings Sign Language Interpreting to the Next Level

Everyone knew that the superstorm Sandy was coming to New York. It was Mayor Michael Bloomberg's job to make sure that the residents took all precautions against the storm. By his side during the Sandy briefings was a petite smartly dressed woman who blew up a storm. Lydia Callis, one of two official interpreters for the Mayor's briefings became an instant star with her passionate and very emotive interpretation of the briefings.
 

Her Background

Lydia Callis graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technologys National Technical Institute for the Deaf in 2010. The RIT is one of at least seven schools for American Sign Language in the New York City and Long Island area. Lydia worked at the RIT after graduation

Her instant rise to fame has been propagated by Twitter tweets and Tumblr posts. As it turns out she has been likened as the one good thing that came out of superstorm Sandy. Since the start of the Sandy briefings, she has been interpreting beside Mayor Bloomberg, and has headed off straight to become a viral phenom in her own right.

Even with the instant celebrity status Lydia has no plans on riding the bandwagon. She has declined requests for interviews, but did tell the New York Post, I'm here to serve the deaf and hard-of-hearing. I'm just glad, and I'm honored, that I was able to get the message out there... that's what it's all about.

She did not only put the Mayor's words into action, but she also interpreted Bloomberg's dry style into quite a graphic rendering. American sign language (ASL) interprets the words and the meaning of what is being spoken. It is different from Signing Exact English (SEE), which is not used as much. ASL interpreters use facial expressions, hand gestures and body movements for inflection to carry the message. This usually results in more expressive signing. Lydia told New York Post, American Sign Language is a very visual language, so sometimes you have to use pictures to describe what people are saying in English."

Passionate and with all her being

A speaker on TV would deliver warning messages with a straight face and in a dry somber manner –this is done so that the audience would not be alarmed and stay calm even in the face of catastrophe. In contrast, a sign language interpreter has to keep up with the speaker in delivering the message. The hand gestures and actions convey the message as quickly as that of the speaker. Lydia Callis' interpretation has been the focus of the briefings because of the way she has brought the message in a very engaging manner.

Audiences have been kept in rapt attention at her facial expressions, and body movements. Truth is, there is really no way to describe floods, fires, and explosions without involving your whole body. Communicating without speaking seems to be a unique gift of Lydia Callis, and this is a good thing because interpreters and translators are rarely given positive attention. Now that all eyes are on Lydia, people might also look at the art of signing, interpreting and translating in a whole new perspective.

Lydia's passionate and emotion-filled signing was able to send the message of hurricane Sandy's force not only to her target audience, but to each and every person who watched the Mayor's address to New York City as well. She gave a very human face to the fears and apprehensions that the people were experiencing at that time. Now that the worst is over, Lydia Callis will always be remembered as that sign language interpreter who poured out her heart and soul.

When it comes to language translation from one language to any of the more than 100 languages the translators and interpreters of Day Translations, Inc., World Interpreting, Inc. and Your Spanish Translation, Inc. work with, there is no room for guessing games. All of them are native speakers and are located around the world to immediately respond to your translation and interpretation needs.

by: Dine Racoma, Editor
Day Translations, Inc. “The most accurate translations on the planet!”





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