Overview of the Project
"Welcome to the World!” This phrase is often used when greeting a newborn baby. It seems an appropriate phrase to also use in this welcome; if there was ever a project that paralleled pregnancy and birth, it was this one! (Although the gestation period for this CD was more like that of a small herd of baby elephants than that of human babies!)
From the time the idea for this CD was conceived, we had many hopes and dreams for its development. And as we worked to make those dreams a reality, benchmarks along the way – like ultrasounds marking a baby’s development, have forced us to make adjustments in those expectations. As the filming came to a close and it was time to enter the hard labor of pulling it together and making the final product a reality, we toiled over editing the material and dealing with technical upgrades in the software that forced us to breathe deeply and push forward. We recognize with special thanks those “companions” listed on the Credits page, as well as colleagues along the way who helped us deliver this project.
In keeping with the format of previous CDs, you will find this CD contains excerpts from conversations with two doulas, Deaf and non-deaf, discussing their work in their native languages. Persis Bristol-Dodson, a non-deaf interpreter colleague from Georgia shares her passion about the work she does with both Deaf and non-deaf moms-to-be. Jerri Middlebrook-Vogel, a Deaf woman doing similar work in Minnesota, talks about her work and goals in the area of supporting Deaf women during their birth experiences. Each came to this work on a different path, but both share their passion for the work they do as Birth Companions. In addition to the interview with these doulas, we have filmed each of them meeting a mom-to-be eager to learn about the work of doulas and how working with them can help make their upcoming childbirth experiences what they want them to be.
Another birth companion is the nurse midwife. In addition to caring for women in childbirth, nurse midwives may provide care through all stages of a woman’s life: pre-childbearing, primary care, menopausal, post-menopausal and normal gynecological care. Because of their heavy focus on childbirth and the role they play in many deliveries, we filmed an appointment mom-to-be Amy Wolff has with her midwife, Maria Wolff.
There are many exciting elements of this CD. If you are not familiar with the work of doulas or midwives, or childbirth, you may prepare for your work by utilizing the many internet resources available on the subject. We have noted a few that were recommended by the women on this CD and those we have found helpful.
The information shared by the doulas is in a question / answer format. So after you have explored the internet resources, you may work from English to ASL, or ASL to English with the material. Each response is a manageable chunk of information that will give you plenty to work on given the particular skill area you want to develop.
The doula interviews with expectant moms are great to use, particularly if you want to work on managing the discourse exchange of two people. This goal can be accomplished with the midwife and mom appointment as well, with more medically related, technical material exchanged.
The potential uses of this CD in interpreter skill development are endless, much like the potential of a newborn. You may work with this material using the suggested activities or other activities you find helpful. For example, for each of the interviews you may want to do a Demand / Control analysis of the situation using the work of Dean and Pollard. What are some of the demands of an appointment in a small exam room? What demands are presented when the two women talking have an existing relationship? Or are meeting for the first time to begin developing that relationship? What are some of the demands when, as in the example with Persis and Kim, a sweet baby is at the appointment finding her voice? What are some of the responses we as interpreters can make to these challenges presented? (Watch the interview with Persis and Kim to see the control utilized by the mom and the cameraman when baby Selina presents an unexpected demand!)
As with nearly every newborn baby, with the arrival of Birth Companions came an unexpected joy. When looking at this material in one piece, we realized what a rich resource this was in showing how women talk. The words that are chosen, the strategies for building rapport, how women overlap their discourse and so much more can be found in these examples. Doing research on the topic, particularly the work of Deborah Tannen, Ph. D. with analysis of these exchanges would make for a fascinating project!
And so, it is with great pride that we announce the arrival of our newest CD-ROM: Birth Companions: Perspectives on Doulas and Nurse Midwives in ASL and English. We hope you will find this useful material to help you improve the interpreting work you do. Enjoy!