Posted on

Translating ASL into Engrish

I spend a lot of time around the deaf and I have noticed a severe difference between people taught ASL only and those taught English and ASL. Maybe you think there is no difference, but take these two posts from my deaf friends and see if you can tell which one was taught using ASL only and the one who was taught English (both are completely deaf):

example A

i feel make piss off you bs no time enough full up over over please stop!! and my hard hurt cousfed not. i won,t give you say no money only first my baby buy pamper thing dumb than nothing ! my face out away from me leave me alone !!! who fault did daddybaby that period peace.

example B

Fear is Faith pointed in the wrong direction, when you believe that good things cannot happen to you, its the same thing as believing that bad things will happen instead. So since you already BELIEVE choose to believe in the BEST for your life, Point your FAITH in the right direction.

Can you guess which is which?

The problem with ASL only education is that it not only is confusing to the hearing in a world where the deaf use English, it’s also very confusing to other deaf people who use ASL and English. If you are around them at all, you know they text like maniacs. They love Facebook as much as any hearing person. People say that a good interpreter can make out what ASL only people are saying in examples like A, but I’ve had as many deaf people come and ask what example A was really saying as any hearing people – and the truth is, I don’t know. I often have miscommunications with the ASL only speakers. They often have miscommunications with each other (this is why ‘misunderstood’ is such a well used sign, imo).

The deaf that were ‘mainstreamed’ seem to have a serious advantage in this world of high tech, even in such a low level as just posting a Facebook post.

While there are these serious problems with ASL only, one thing the deaf have learned from it that we could probably all benefit from, is to just accept the miscommunications and move on after they have been cleared up. Can you imagine how much better our world would be if only politicians could learn this?

About Noelle Campbell

This blog is about my life and how I see things. I write, I think, I dream, I do. I used to write a lot of fantasy until I realized I was living one. I was married to a deaf-blind Hobbit in a realm we created together. He passed away in 2014, but our life was interesting enough I think you might like it too.