Daniel Maffia is 32 years old. He lives in Rochester NY and he works at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) which is housed within the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He is a full time lecturer and the program director for their interpreter training program.
1) How did you become interested in sign language and the world of deaf people?
I was born in the Bronx (NYC) in New York. When I was around 10 years old I went to my first concert which was the Spice Girls. (Funny I know). At that concert they had a male interpreter designated on a giant screen, and I could not stop watching it. Later I found an article in a teen magazine that interviewed the interpreter and the Spice Girls asking them why they wanted to provide access. They stated that they felt it was important that their fans could fully participate in the concert experience. After that I asked my mom for a ASL book. Shortly after that my family moved to Pennsylvania where I was put in a classroom with a Deaf student who was mainstreamed. She and I became really good friends and grew up together. Later I got a volunteer internship at a local school for the Deaf. After graduating high school I went to NTID/RIT for college to get my bachelors in interpreting.
2)What kind of difficulties, if any, did you encounter while learning ASL?
Well like any language it is challenging to learn. I was pretty decent at Spanish, so I think I am pretty good with picking up languages. I guess the hardest part was English influencing my ASL.
3) How did you become an American Sign Language interpreter?
I went to RIT/NTID's interpreter training program. I graduated in 2009. I then worked full time as a staff interpreter at RIT interpreting for college classes. I also have been working as a video relay interpreter for 11 years. I have done various other interpreting jobs such as community/freelance work, K-12, healthcare, and performing arts. I have had the opportunity and honor to interpret for many famous people. I went back to get my masters in interpreting from Western Oregon University and graduated as part of their first cohort in 2014. Here are some samples of my work: https://youtu.be/7N-fy_4Ppvk and https://youtu.be/dt6oJniTWoQ.
4) How would you describe your experience at RIT?
Very fortunate. We have over 1200 Deaf and hard-of-hearing faculty, staff, and students. So I get to immerse myself in the Deaf community often. Plus Rochester, NY has the highest population of Deaf people per capita in the US.
5) Do you engage in PC or tablet video interpretation?
Yes. I have been a video relay service interpreter for 11 years interpreting phone calls for Deaf people (Deaf and hearing people are in 2 different locations). In addition the past year and a half I have been providing a lot of video remote interpreting (Deaf and hearing people in the same location).
6) What type of teacher do you consider yourself to be?
I consider myself to be a teacher who still has a lot to learn. I learn so much from my students. I try to the best of my ability give my students unconditional positive regard. Having been in there shoes I can be relatable. I do not follow the philosophy of as the teacher I am the bearer of all knowledge, but rather as a guide to learning. Here is my e-portfolio which includes my teaching philosophy which may help answer this questions: https://maffiaportfolio.weebly.com/teaching-philosophy.html.
7) Do you ever have the chance to work along with deaf interpreters?
Yes actually. I just had the opportunity to work with one at a press conference on an update about the corona virus. My best experiences working with Deaf interpreters has been working with them in the hospital.
8) Are there, in your opinion, common aspects in both deaf and LGBT communities?
Funny you should say that. Yes. I notice that there is a strong affiliation between both communities, and so there must be common aspects that draw many LGBT members in to the interpreting profession. I am sure being part of a marginalized group causes us to have common aspects.
9) What are your ties to Italy?
My family is of Italian decent. I do not know how far back my family goes in terms of when the immigrated to the US. I know that at the very least my grandmothers were born in the US.
10) What could your motto be?
In general my motto is: "I’d rather regret the things I've done than the things I haven’t done." That is a quote from the actress Lucille Ball.
In questo articolo si parla di cultura, sport, USA, video, fitness, coaching, articolo, Michele Peretti, interpreting, Translation, espressioni, teaching, kick, optimism, adoption, children, husband, school, family, University
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