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Interviewing a deaf person

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Has anyone here ever done it?
    Is it something that can only be done in person, either so they could read lips or have someone translate with sign language or is there some sort of technology that can allow for a phone interview?
    I imagine e-mail and instant messaging would work, too, but does anyone with experience in this area have any advice?
  2. cougargirl

    cougargirl Active Member

    I've had to do this - if you're going on-site (I was doing a story on a deaf-school tournament), call ahead, explain what you're doing and ask if there's an interpreter available.
  3. SEWnSO

    SEWnSO Member

    They have technologiy to be able to "talk" via phone, too.
  4. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    What the subject and I decided on was to write and respond to questions on my notepad.

    I write my question, slide it over, then she writes the answer.

    There are phone services that do the trick as well, but at that point you'd be just as well off using e-mail. The sit-down, notepad interview was actually a lot of fun to do.
  5. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I used instant messenger.
    It was a Q&A, so it worked incredibly well. I just copied and pasted, then some editing. Mostly cleaning up the ;) emoticons.
  6. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    Minor thread jack.

    We had a coach in my area that was a real joker. Guy was really cool.

    He had me believing that one of his players was deaf for two seasons. Asshole. ;D
  7. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    I couldn't figure out why the person kept saying:


    Finally I just gave up.
  8. PaperDoll

    PaperDoll Well-Known Member

    It depends on how the individual was brought up, and what accomodations s/he can make.  It could be just the same as interviewing anyone else.

    I covered a deaf school which called in its results via a special operator service (whose employees almost never understood sports, making the reports take three times as long.)  I think it's called a TTD, and it looks a lot like a typewriter.

    I have interviewed deaf athletes who could hear and speak for themselves, thanks to cochlear implants.  I have also interviewed deaf athletes via a sign-language interpreter, though most of those kids could read lips and knew exactly what I said before the interpreter signed anything. 

    Good luck!
  9. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    I used to work near the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind and on more than one occassion did interviews with deaf kids there. There's plenty of ways to do it. If you're trying to interview someone that uses American Sign Language and can find an interpreter, that's the closest thing to a normal interview. And it can be done in person. If you get a bad translator though, i.e., someone who doesn't speak English clearly, it can be cumbersome. Depending on the person's level of deafness and amount of speech therapy, you may not need any assistance in interviewing a deaf person. Some can read your lips just fine as long as you don't speak too fast and are mindful of facing them.

    I've also done interviews via e-mail -- some of the deaf people I dealt with preferred that way -- and by just writing my questions down on a notepad and getting them to write a quick answer. I always found the TTDY phone things to be a bit difficult to understand, but I just may be a moron. It seemed like it always took a long time.

    IM wasn't as popular then as it is now, but I imagine that would be really great for interviewing a high school or college kid.
  10. n8wilk

    n8wilk Guest

    I did this once. I was very fortunate that the interview subject was so well adjusted (that was actually part of the story). She could read lips very well and could speak for herself pretty clearly. I didn't get as much for her as I might have from someone else, but I got enough. If you have a mustache and don't mind shaving it, that will certainly help the lip-reading process.
  11. I interviewed a deaf athlete with his normal interpreter once, and it was a great story.
    The best part was when I tried to ask the interpreter a question and I had to stop him twice when he tried to relay it to the athlete. He didn't understand I was asking him, rather than the deaf athlete, the question.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    You can do it online or via the phone. But if the story is a feature and has to do with the person being deaf (not like its the 10th story you've written about the kid or something) you should go and talk in person.

    That will give you more insigh into who the kid is, how he/she communicates with hearing people, who are the support folks, etc.

    And if the kid is at a deaf school, it's really an eye-opening experience that you would find richly rewarding, I bet.
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