Category Archives: american sign language

American Language Services Supports the Deaf Community

While our work is often global in scope, linking foreign cultures to ours, there are also cultures within our borders that require language services. The deaf community often relies on us to facilitate their seamless communication.

Providing high quality language services for the deaf community is a unique challenge that American Language Services has consistently excelled at. Selecting the right interpreter can be a difficult task. Deaf communities are close-knit groups. Deaf individuals build enduring relationships with regional interpreters whom they may work with multiple times a year. Deaf clients who frequently work with interpreters also develop highly variable individual and language preferences. Here at American Language Services we respect these unique concerns and go the extra mile to ensure the right match between client and interpreter.

Recently, we provided highly skilled and certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters for a developer learning event hosted by Microsoft in Times Square, an official hearing of the New York State Department of Education, and an Equal Employment Opportunity case in Los Angeles.

The deaf community trusts American Language Services to meet their language needs, contact us now and let us meet yours today.

For over 30 years, American Language Services has been a proud provider of interpretation, translation, transcription and media services to private industry government at all levels, education and non-profit organizations. With more than 240 languages, thousands of linguists around the world and teams of dedicated professionals are ready to serve.

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Mandela Memorial Shadowed by Sign Language Fraud

As tearful eyes around the world looked on, national leaders arrived in South Africa to eulogize the passing of Nelson Mandela, legendary anti-apartheid revolutionary leader and former president. As each dignitary spoke, Thamsanqa Jantjie, interpreted for the deaf. There was only one problem: Jantjie’s strange gestures, were meaningless. His actions were later decried as a mockery, and Jantjie became a national disgrace. But that wasn’t the end of it. Further investigation fanned even greater flames of worldwide outrage.

Coverage of Jantjie continued long after the memorial. Members of the international press delved deeper into how such an obviously incompetent interpreter had come to stand next to the most powerful men in the world and gesture gibberish. Soon it was discovered that he had interpreted for the South African Government before with equally poor results. In fact, after the earlier event, thousands complained, saying Jantjie’s interpreting had been “100 percent inaccurate.” Other news sources reported that the government continued to use him because he was the lowest bidder, charging about $40 less than other interpreters.

Finding good Sign Language interpreters can be challenging anywhere, especially when demand outpaces supply, something now happening here in the U.S. Interpreting for the deaf is growing rapidly in the U.S. as well as worldwide. As more and more individuals needing these services attend colleges, seminars, local government meetings, conferences, etc, organizations are clamoring to secure professional and qualified interpreters. Many organizations come to us, American Language Services, to handle these important assignments. Celebrating 30 years in the language services industry, we have become a trusted resource for American Sign Language.

Governments, corporations and other organizations around the world have been relying on American Language Services for translation and interpreting services, including sign language interpreting. Our vetting process for interpreters is one of the toughest in the industry, and it’s one of the reasons our clients call on us again and again. We have access to thousands of interpreters across the country and around the globe. We provide interpreters of American Sign Language and many other sign language systems, worldwide to go along with over 200 other languages. We meet organizations diverse requirements on a daily basis.

The next time you need to find a sign or foreign language interpreter, contact us. Our helpful, informative customer service associates will be more than happy to answer your questions and guide you through the entire process from start to finish.

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Providing American Sign Language in a Presidential Setting Allows Deaf to Participate

AML-Global Provides Interpretation Services to Reagan Library Visitors

A recent gathering at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library required an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter to assist deaf and hearing-impaired visitors. American Language Services was chose as the ASL interpreter who interpreted speakers’ words and allowed hearing-impaired participants the opportunity to fully experience the program being presented there.

The Simi Valley, Calif., institution was built to contain relevant papers, historic documents and memorabilia and biographical information on the nation’s 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

As a Presidential Library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Reagan Library, under the authority of the Presidential Records Act, is the repository of presidential records for President Reagan’s administration. The Library’s holdings include over 60 million pages of documents, over 1.6 million photographs, a half million feet of motion picture film, tens of thousands of audio and video tapes and over 40,000 artifacts.

Among the most visited exhibits at the library is the Air Force One Pavilion, where you can walk on board the actual Air Force One aircraft, tail number 27000, that flew seven U.S. presidents. In addition, visitors can view a full-size replica of the White House Oval Office.

American Language Services provides American Sign Language interpretation services at conferences, meetings, classes and during legal proceedings. In addition to providing American Sign Language Services, ALS also supplies Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services to the deaf and hard of hearing in a variety of different settings, including classrooms, conferences and in meetings. In addition to providing ASL and CART services, American Language Services also provides equipment for interpretations, including headsets, transmitter/receivers, sound booths and technical support.

Hewlett-Packard’s Discover Draws International Audience

ALS Was On Hand to Provide Interpretation Services for a Top Technology Industry Event in Las Vegas Attended by Thousands

Members of just about every industry group in the world are likely to attend conferences and other kinds of industry meetings to stay in touch with current business trends, and also to meet new people in their industries and to strengthen ties with those who they are already acquainted. When top technology firms look for conference interpreters, they come to American Language Services to provide the best in language services.

AML-Global was brought on board to provide language interpretation at Hewlett-Packard’s recent conference that was attended by thousands from all over the world. At HP Discover 2012 at the Venetian in Las Vegas, attendees learned how Converged Cloud, Information Optimization, Security, and Risk Management will shape the next decade of IT. Obviously, the level of discussion was quite technical in nature, and those attending the event were all highly knowledgeable about the subject matter, such as cloud computing, that was being discussed.

So, it was of the greatest importance that the interpreters charged with channeling the vast quantities of complex information to attendees in their native languages would be expert in their linguistic skills, and also highly familiar with the technology being discussed. After all, without a good sense of the topics being discussed it would be easy to misunderstand the information being conveyed, and in turn the interpreter might communicate an inaccurate or unclear representation of what the speaker using English were saying.

During the course of the conference, American Language Services provided two Korean interpreters, two Japanese interpreters and two Mandarin interpreters. Interpreters typically work in pairs when assignments are longer than two hours in duration because that allows the interpreters to switch off and rest between demanding sessions of language interpretation. The AML-Global interpreters came through for the conference goers and provided flawless interpretation services.

Sometimes interpretation work requires more than just the skilled linguists who can ably communicate the thoughts and ideas being expressed in the source language and communicate the content and tone of the speech. In conference-type settings interpreters may need specialized equipment in order to provide the optimal experience for conference attendees who are in need of language interpretation, and also for those who do not require those services. That means isolating the translator from the conference attendees AML-Global was on hand to provide interpretation services for a top technology industry so that spectators will not be distracted by the interpreter’s speech while speakers are addressing the audience.

In conference-type meeting the interpreter will sit in an isolation booth, which prevents the sound of the translator’s voice from leaking into the audience and distracting audience members who are listening to the onstage speaker. The interpreter can hear the speaker’s words, but the interpreted language is transmitted to foreign language speaking audience members via radio signals, and the signal is picked up by specialized headsets that receive the message and allow those audience members to hear the interpreter’s words without interrupting the flow of the speaker’s presentation.

To help facilitate the interpretation services, American Language Services provided three encapsulated sound booths capable of isolating the interpreters from the audience, yet allowing them to hear the speaker. Along with the sound booths, AML-Global also provided 25 HED 021 – Deluxe Folding Headsets & 8-Channel WB 3V Receiver, as well as a technician to ensure that all of the equipment functioned properly at all times.

AML-Global maintains its own supply of highly professional transmission equipment, which is stored in locations around the country, which allows us to provide fully equipped, on-the-spot interpretations services. Our strategically located storehouses of equipment also help cut down delivery time and shipping costs.

American Language Services, in addition to performing language and American Sign Language interpreting, also performs language translation services, transcription services, dubbing services, voiceover services and graphic design services. The principal mission of American Language Services is to provide the highest quality language expertise to our valued clients around the world. We believe that by helping bridge the communication gap between individuals, companies, governments, cultures, races and religions around the globe, we can help make the world a little smaller and enhance the overall quality of life.

American language services, in addition to performing language and American Sign Language interpreting, also performs language translation services, transcription services, dubbing services, voiceover services and graphic design services.

President Clinton Speaks to Finance, Tech Pros at Fiserv Forum

AML-Global delivers top-quality interpretation services to international audience

Continuing on its path of providing language interpretation services in some exciting venues for international audiences, American Language Services supplied language interpretation services at another successful event in Las Vegas, Nevada, in April. The event, Fiserv Solutions, Inc.’s Conference at the Las Vegas Venetian. It was AML-Global’s second event this year featuring keynote speaker President Bill Clinton.

Fiserv, a leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, assembled an impressive lineup of speakers to address the audience of more than 3,500 financial and technology professionals at the four-day Forum 2012 spring client conference.

President Clinton, Founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, addressed the conference. His speech was titled “Embracing Our Common Humanity.”

President Clinton’s public speeches typically describe the challenge of globalization, emphasize our growing interdependence, and point the way toward a common future based on shared goals and values. His is a powerful voice for progress around the world as he shares his unique insights and observations.

American Languages Services, a top-level provider of conference interpreters, language interpretation, ASL interpretation, transcription services as well as multimedia services, provided two Spanish and two Brazilian Portuguese interpreters to the conference. Language interpretation was conveyed via two encapsulated booths, and 60 headsets and receivers, which were maintained by one technician. AML-Global provided the equipment and the technician for the event.

The proper sort of equipment is crucial in providing effective conference interpretation services, because without professional-quality transmitters, which may include PFM-T32-16 Channel with Microphone Body Pack Transmitter with mute switch, 16-Channel and headsets – the HED 021 – Deluxe Folding Headsets & 8-Channel WB 3V Receiver, for instance — speech interpretations cannot be effectively conveyed, and in all likelihood members of the audience in need of language translation services are apt to miss crucial parts of the proceedings.

In addition to interpretation services, American Language Services also provides language translation services, and can quickly and accurately provide document translations in more than 200 languages. Services include French translation, Italian translation, German translation, Portuguese translation, Spanish translation, Swedish translation, Hungarian translation, Polish translation, Russian translation, Czech translation, Finnish translation, Ukrainian translation, Danish translation and Romanian translation.

Headsets and transmitters allow interpreters who are in charge of conveying the speakers’ words to the audience can provide simultaneous interpretations of the conference proceedings for a multilingual audience, but Fully Encapsulated Booths & Transmission Equipment help ensure that the presence of different interpreters does not become a noisy distraction for the entire audience. Instead, the carefully arranged equipment allows interpreters to channel interpreted speech to the correct spectators. Different radio channels enable interpreters to broadcast the proceedings on discreet radio frequencies, which allows all of those requiring language assistance to tune into the channel of language that each understands. AML-Global also provides Table Top Sound Reduction Booths & Transmission Equipment.

American Language Services owns its own equipment for interpretation, and maintains warehouses of equipment situated in key locations around the country. Because of this, AML-Global can deliver equipment quickly, especially when there are tight deadlines. Also, conference producers save money on shipping when the distance from the warehouse to the conference is short.

American Language Services not only provides interpretation services in Spanish and Portuguese, it also frequently provides services in Japanese interpretation, Chinese interpretation, Tagalog interpretation, Vietnamese interpretation, Thai interpretation, Hindi interpretation, Greek interpretation, Tibetan interpretation, Hungarian interpretation, Hebrew interpretation and Danish interpretation.

In addition to conference interpretation, American Language Services also performs convention interpreting, education interpreting, business meeting interpreting, medical interpreting, legal interpreting and contract negotiation interpreting.

Fareed Zakaria, described by Esquire magazine as “the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation,” shared insights on “The New Global Landscape.” Zakaria is editor-at-large of Time magazine, a weekly host for CNN and a regular columnist for The Washington Post.

A Brief History of American Sign Language (ASL)

ASL is a manual language or visual language, meaning that the information is expressed not with combinations of sounds but with combinations of hand shapes, palm orientations, movements of the hands, arms and body, location in relation to the body, and facial expressions. ASL is not a written language. There is no one-to-one correspondence between words in ASL and English, and much of the inflectional modulation of ASL signs is lost. ASL is used natively and predominantly by the Deaf and hard-of-hearing of the United States and Canada.

Abbe Charles Michel de L’Epee established the first free public school for the deaf in Paris in 1771. L’Epee educated the deaf using a standard sign language that he created. L’Epee’s standard sign language eventually became French Sign Language and was widely used in Europe. The first American school for the deaf was established in 1817 by Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. They are often credited as the inventors of American Sign Language. Like Abbe Charles Michel de L’Epee’s school, children from all over the country traveled to attend this school, bringing their home-signs with them. These home-signs, combined with French Sign Language, became American Sign Language.

Spoken language is not the natural language of the deaf. They naturally defaulted to their native language–sign language. Though no one person invented the whole of sign language, Thomas Gallaudet is regarded as the major figure in its widespread adoption.

From its synthesis at this first public school for the deaf in North America, the language went on to grow. Many of the graduates of this school went on to found schools of their own in many other states, thus spreading the methods of Gallaudet and Clerc and serving to expand and standardize the language; as with most languages, though there are regional variations. After being strongly established in the United States, later in the 19th century the use of “sign”—what we now call ASL– was suppressed, socially and pedagogically. Many considered it to not even be a language at all. This situation was changed by William Stokoe, a professor of English hired at Gallaudet University in 1955. He immediately became fascinated by ASL and began serious study of it. Eventually, through publication in linguistics journals of articles containing detailed linguistic analysis of ASL, he was able to convince the scientific mainstream that ASL was indeed a natural language on a par with any other.

Today American Sign Language interpreters offer services in a varieties of fields, catering to each and every need of the hearing impaired community—job interviews, funerals, weddings, legal matters, school classes, and Vegas shows are just some of the various times when ASL interpreters are utilized to facilitate communication with the hearing impaired.

Sign language, since it is not spoken, is in a class unto itself. The interpreters train rigorously, and must keep their hands and arms well-rested and toned in order to keep their performance sharp, and their muscles agile. Sign language interpreters often work in pairs to allow for frequent breaks so they do not develop carpel tunnel syndrome or other, various hand cramps, muscle spasms, etc. Sign language interpreters are also, often very visible and recognizable within their local hearing impaired community, and have a special notoriety and reverence given to them for their work.

To say that American Sign Language is unique and special in relation to the other languages provided by American Language Services, is an understatement—it is a necessity to help a community of people live and function in the mainstream world. No other language is so unique; and as languages come and go in the modern world, one language is sure to stand the test of time—of the times—American Sign Language. Since 1992, American Language Services ® has provided ASL interpreters in every major market and most other markets in the United States as well as around the world. Our ASL interpreters are experienced, knowledgeable and highly accomplished. Some of their most recent activities include a US Coast Guard security response seminar in Virginia, and a US Department of Agricultural meeting in Washington DC; on the west coast, ASL services for a major student meeting for DeVry University in Encino, CA; a public educational meeting for the Lennox Unified School District in Lennox, CA; a public forum on pre-K child development for First5LA in Los Angeles, as well as a class on emergency preparedness for REI Inc. in Las Vegas.

Our depth of local talented certified, qualified and experienced interpreters is crucial in reducing our costs by eliminating expensive travel, hotel and other logistic arrangements. American Language Services ASL interpreters are a talented group, consisting of credentialed professionals who are part of a vast resource base. We have a skilled and friendly staff to help fulfill your requests promptly and cost effectively. Please contact us for a quote or to place an order today.

Sign of the Times

In the world of interpretation there is one special language–highly requested language–that stands apart from the rest: it has no written words, and it is never spoken. So what is this mystery language that has no written alphabet and is never spoken? The language is ASL or American Sign Language and is utilized by many of the world’s hearing impaired communities.

ASL came about largely due to the efforts of Reverend Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, LL.D., who opened the first permanent institution for the hearing impaired, American Asylum for Deaf-Mutes (now known as the American School for the Deaf). It was there that attempts to reach out to the hearing impaired community were fashioned into what we now know as American Sign Language.

Sign language, in the western world, gets its roots from France, from what we call Old French Sign Language; although many American settlers witnessed the use of similar “signing” techniques in the indigenous communities of the Plains Indians, it didn’t influence the European settlers version of the same idea. Reverend Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, LL.D., at his institution, is credited with crafting American Sign Language into what it is today—the most widely-spoken version of sign language in the world.

ASL, though now the most commonly-used version of sign language in the world—including the non-English speaking sector of the world—is a prominent and respected language now, but this has not always been the case. During the latter half of the 1800’s, debates within and around the “deaf” community sparked concern on whether or not signing should be used. Manualists (pro-sign language) and Oralists (anti-sign language) debated on whether or not the hearing impaired community should continue to sign, or assimilate into mainstream society by learning to lip read and vocalize. It was not until William Stokoe, a respected college English Professor at Gallaudet University, studied, analyzed, and dissected ASL; and through rigorous articles and documentation, legitimized the language for the world in 1955, over one hundred years after its incarnation.

Today American Sign Language interpreters offer services in a varieties of fields, catering to each and every need of the hearing impaired community—job interviews, funerals, weddings, legal matters, school classes, and Vegas shows are just some of the various times when ASL interpreters are utilized to facilitate communication with the hearing impaired.

Sign language, since it is not spoken, is in a class unto itself. The interpreters train rigorously, and must keep their hands and arms well-rested and toned in order to keep their performance sharp, and their muscles agile. Sign language interpreters often work in pairs to allow for frequent breaks so they do not develop carpel tunnel syndrome or other, various hand cramps, muscle spasms, etc. Sign language interpreters are also, often very visible and recognizable within their local hearing impaired community, and have a special notoriety and reverence given to them for their work.

To say that American Sign Language is unique and special in relation to the other languages provided by American Language Services, is an understatement—it is a necessity to help a community of people live and function in the mainstream world. No other language is so unique; and as languages come and go in the modern world, one language is sure to stand the test of time—of the times—American Sign Language.