Deaf Jail

Can you imagine being held prisoner by people you cannot communicate with, with no idea why you are there or when you will be released? That’s what happened to Timothy Siaki, an American man imprisoned in a Colorado jail for 25 days without an interpreter. That’s almost a month!

How did this Kafkaesque situation come to be? Mr. Siaki was staying in a motel with his fiancée, Kimberlee Moore. Ms. Moore is also deaf, and the couple communicates exclusively in American Sign Language (ASL). ASL is Mr. Siaki’s only mode of communication; he can neither read nor write English.

The couple got into a spat that was apparently not that serious but was quite loud. When hearing people fight, they are able to hear themselves, so they know exactly how loud they are being and can tone it down as necessary. Deaf people, on the other hand, can’t hear their own voices. So, it’s easy for them to end up screaming bloody murder without even being aware of it. Read more

Brand Name In China

Thinking of moving your business to China? A word to the wise: hire a skilled translator! As a recent article in the New York Times points out, translating a business name into Chinese requires

much more than Google Translate; you also need a deep understanding of the nuances of Chinese culture to avoid utterly humiliating yourself.

As the Times explains:

“More than many nations, China is a place where names are imbued with deep significance…Given that China’s market for consumer goods is growing by better than 13 percent annually — and luxury-goods sales by 25 percent — an off-key name could have serious financial consequences.” Read more

New York Garbage Grant to Study Gaelic

It’s amazing how much learning another language has the potential to change your life. For example, check out this New York Times article on Ed Shevlin, a garbage collector born and bred in New York.  He’s perhaps one of the last people you’d expect to speak fluent Gaelic, but actually he’s been studying the language for the past few years and can communicate in it quite well.

Shevlin’s mother was from County Cork, and he began learning the language as a way to connect with his Irish heritage. His studies have literally changed his life, bringing him opportunities for travel, romance, and hopefully a new, post-retirement career. Read more

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