For “a better understanding of what deaf culture is and what it means to be an interpreter,” the Alabama deaf community, interpreting students and professional interpreters will join Friday through Sunday in a conference called Alabama Interpreting Metamorphosis (AIM).
AIM is an annual student-led, student-run conference from March 21 to 23. It will be held in Hawkins hall. It is part of the deaf celebration month organized by the American Sign Language Interpreting Training Program (ITP).
“We have been planning this conference for a year,” said Caren Carr, an interpreting training program senior from Cincinnati and the event coordinator.
“We are the only school in the country to offer a conference like this. It’s a lot of work, but the connections we’re making are ones that will carry through to our professional lives,” Carr said.
According to Cynthia Dodzik, lecturer of ITP and the faculty adviser for AIM, attendees of the event include the Alabama deaf community, working interpreters and interpreting students from Troy and other regions.
“This conference is unique because the students decide everything,” Dodzik said. “They decide which professionals to contact. They conduct the negotiation about the fee and price. They also handle marketing and advertising. It’s a great leadership opportunity.”
An ITP former director named the conference Alabama Interpreting Metamorphosis as a reference to students bursting out of their cocoons into their professional careers. The event is designed as a bridge between the students and the professionals.
The conference includes a series of workshops, Dodzik said. Throughout the event, working interpreters mentors students.
According to Dodzik, workshops will be on various subjects such as interpreter business practice, how to interpret in legal and K-12 settings, and how to interpret in science, math and the performing arts.
“The workshops and events will be great tools and great environments to learn about deaf culture,” said Jessica Long, a student attendee and ITP sophomore from Ozark. “It will have a great impact on our signing skills and our knowledge.”
Special events will also be on the conference agenda, according to Dodzik. On Friday evening, there will be ASL Idol, a sign language storytelling and performing arts competition open to all students. A panel of deaf judges will determine the results.
This is the first year AIM is partnering with the Troy drama department to put on a performance of an excerpt from the play “ The Good Doctor” on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the black box theater in Malone hall.
“It’s a great opportunity for student to interpret in the art field,” Dodzik said. “It also helps encourage the drama department to make performance more visually accessible to the deaf community.”
The play is a passport event open to all students, with a $1 donation requested from non-AIM registrants.
“The conference will be live streamed via Blackboard Collaborate to be accessible to online students,” Dodzik said. “I love seeing the interaction among the interpreters, students and the deaf community.”
The ITP program welcomes students and faculty, as well as the Troy community to attend the conference.