Overview of Project
Staff of the RSA Region V Project
Childbirth is a universal experience –one that is shared by millions of women around the world, regardless of their country of origin, ethnicity, socio-economic background, sexual orientation, ability, disability or hearing status. And while this event is shared by so many, the birthing process and experience is as unique to the parents as the baby being born.
Health care appointments, including prenatal care, birth, and postnatal care, are some of the most challenging for interpreters. Not only do they demand that the interpreter be technically skilled, highly professional, and ethical but they also must be keenly sensitive to the personal nature of the interaction.
The RSA Region V Project at the College of St. Catherine in partnership with SLICES continues to develop innovative CD ROMs in an effort to help interpreters develop and hone the technical skills needed to interpret in these demanding, personal and potentially life-threatening situations. “To the Heart of the Matter” and “Stomach This!” were our first projects of this nature. We are in the process of releasing two more CDs which offer appointment settings and model interpretations in cardiology and gastroenterology so that interpreters may apply the information learned in the first two CDs to “real life” interactions.
When discussing the plans for this CD addressing the birth experience, we wanted to use the same format as the first two: to present the topic in spoken English by a native English speaker, and in American Sign Language by a native ASL user. The original plan to produce one CD has now become a project with several phases. The first phase is this two CD set featuring the birth experiences of six Deaf couples. The stories they share are rich and represent a variety of factors and complications that occurred before, during and after the births of their children.
We’d like to extend a special thanks to the parents who so generously shared their experiences with us: Heidi and Jeff Branch, Stacie and Scott Miller, Brandi and Tim Rarus, Melody and Russ Stein, Christine and Roger Kraft, and Egina and Jimmy Beldon. We were touched by their willingness to share details of such a personal experience so that interpreters could learn from their stories. Thank you so much! A special thanks also goes to Ann Marie Mickelson, who generously opened her home to us so we could film these parents in a comfortable environment.
Since the perspectives, goals and language use is often different for the medical personnel involved with a birth, the next phase of this project will include filming various health care providers, including deaf and non-deaf doulas, midwives, doctors and childbirth educators.
This CD has the potential to be used in a variety of ways to develop your knowledge and skills in the realm of interpreting in obstetrics. You will find some ideas on page 6 to start your work with these stories. On page 7 you will find a listing of various internet resources that will help you prepare for your work with this material (and with ob/gyn appointments you may be scheduled to interpret.) Many of these websites offer very clear pictures and explanations of concepts you will find useful.
We are thrilled to offer you these resources and hope you find them helpful as you develop your skills for working with health care providers and parents-to-be.
Staff of the RSA Region V Project