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Monday, 14 July 2014

The Facebook craze that has swept the online Deaf community!

If you are Deaf or have Deaf friends and/or relatives, you will have noticed that a craze has swept the Deaf community on Facebook. If talk of this “craze” is news to you, you’ve come to the right place to find out what it is!

So what is the craze in a nutshell?

The craze is called ‘Nomination Drenching’! Deaf people are posting videos to Facebook tipping buckets of cold water over themselves. 

Usually the video depicts the person (normally in this order)
a) thanking [sarcastically?] the person who nominated them 
b) mentioning the charity/group who they are drenching themselves for 
c) nominating a deaf friend or friends to drench themselves within a certain time frame (i.e. 24 hours) and finally...
d) The self-drenching commences!

So how did this craze start?

It began in New Zealand last week and became extremely popular. However as soon as it hit our shores, the deaf community adopted it and owned it for themselves.  You will now see members of many community sites, i.e. The Tree House, posting self-inflicted drenching videos on their Facebook page.

Even terptree’s director, Victoria Williams and her husband have gotten in on the action. You can see her clip below.

So should you embrace it?

Whether you think it’s daft, trivial, mocking or condescending, it’s fun! And is definitely raising awareness.

As the ‘no make-up selfies’ proved, we all enjoy seeing something that a) is borderline controversial and b) raises awareness of a cause or charity. And this ‘Nomination Drenching’ craze is an terrific way of getting attention, as long as it people do not go over the top.

A fatality occurred in New Zealand after a man had a cardiac arrest following a “heavy drinking session” and a “bucket of ice tipped on his head” which goes to serve as an example that extreme conditions should be avoided! 

In short, 'Nomination Drenching' should prove to be a safe, amusing and fun way to boost recognition for the deaf community and the issues people face!

So just one more thing... you've been nominated!

Get filming and have fun! :)

Thursday, 10 July 2014

UK star John Barrowman goes Deaf for the Day

Whether you know him as Captain Jack from Torchwood, or mistook him for an American sounding Hugh Grant lookalike, John Barrowman MBE is a popular and well-known British TV personality. This week, John did something significant for the Deaf Community.

John Barrowman has performed in theatre, dance, film and television programmes over the last two decades and is well liked in the UK. Recently he decided to go 'Deaf for the day' as part of a filmed study that delves into the difficulties of being deaf. 

The video firstly depicts John having gel moulds inserted into his ears, leaving him with a 60% hearing loss. What follows is John's gradual withdrawal into himself, his increased feeling of isolation, and his pained frustration of being ignored and treated differently. It is a very powerful and poignant examination of life as a deaf person.

This week he appeared on Good Morning Britain, where he presented this video account and talked about it with the show's presenters. You can see this clip below.

John Barrowman's video experiment has become a visibile headline in this week's news, given John's high profile status in the UK, doing wonders for deaf awareness and the profile of Hearing Dogs in the process. 

John remarked on his hearing dog, Robyn "Having a hearing dog gave me back my independence, made me feel safe when out in public, and best of all, this clever dog provided me with wonderful companionship to alleviate the loneliness I had felt.”

You can also read John's blog here:

Hope you enjoy!

New developments at terptree!

This year, we will celebrate terptree's 8th birthday. Since 2006, we have worked tirelessly to improve the services to deaf people in the United Kingdom. We've grown both a lovely client base and a team of exceptional Communication Professionals, and the time has come for some internal growth too.

terptree logo

So here at terptree HQ there are a lot of fabulous changes on the way!
  • New office from 1 September 2014
  • Recruiting new staff which will double our staff  numbers
  • A brand new website on the way
  • Further improvements to terptree online - our online booking system
We have been growing rapidly over the past year, which means that over this coming year - we have an fantastic opportunity to harness this growth and further extend our offering as a business to both our clients and Communication Professionals.

So watch this space for more exciting stuff from terptree!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Communication professional of the month announced for June 2014!

Communication Professional of the month 
June 2014

Bridget Elliott

 Bridget Elliott photo

Another month on and another fantastic Communication Professional!

Well done Bridget on winning Communication Professionals of the month June 2014!

Bridget is a Registered Lipspeaker and has been chosen this month because she is a pleasure to work, she works consistently for terptree and is helpful, always taking the time to advise of her availability for bookings. She does a great job for both regular clients of terptree and one offs and has recently received outstanding feedback from two much valued clients.

Well done Bridget and we look forward to our continued working relationship!
This is what Bridget had to say "I was very surprised and proud to receive the award, and really appreciated the lovely comments in the card. Thank you so much.

I am very happy to be associated with terptree, and have found everyone I have had contact with to be very friendly and efficient.  I am always kept informed regarding bookings and it is great working with you - thank you."               

So you can see now after six months of awards - the qualities that we are looking for, maybe next month will be YOU!     

Monday, 7 July 2014

What's it like to be an Electronic Notetaker and now a writer?!

Thoughts from Wendy Turner and her career as an electronic notetaker and now a novelist! 

I trained as an Electronic Notetaker on the pilot course in London run by City Lit and RNID as it was then (now they're Action on Hearing Loss). It was tough!  The standard was high. But it was great, I still have friends made during training.  I am a member of the Association of Note-taking Professionals (ANP) through which some work requests are received.

I took early retirement from my post at London Metropolitan University and spotted an advertisement for the pilot e-notetaking course. I took it to be 'a nice little retirement job' but was amazed at the demand for electronic note-takers. 

For me, working with deaf students is a privilege. All of them have achieved their degrees (so far!) which is a tribute to their determination to overcome barriers and pursue their dream. Courses undertaken by students cover such interesting subjects as Art & Design, Criminology, Sociology, Economics, Law, Psychology, Computer Science and Teacher Training. The students are always enthusiastic and motivated without exception. In business I work mostly for Action on Hearing Loss (AOHL) but have covered assignments in Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Science Museum, Government Departments, HMRC, Social Services, a meeting in a tea shop (with cakes!), Kimberly-Clark and the Andrex puppy; even a Cats Home!  

Among my favourite memories are the teacher who signed to her hearing dog under the table, the hearing dog who got lost and queued up at an ice cream van (they gave him one) and fundraising antics of students which including cross-dressing and a 'man auction' for a night out. Great ideas!

In my writing life, I have been a member of Verulum Writers' Circle St. Albans for around 14 years and serve on the Committee. I love writing short stories, poems, articles and now my children's book 'Adventures of the Time Travelling Friends.' It's about a teenager, Beth, who stays with weird Aunt Hippo (Hypolita) while her mum has a baby. In Aunt Hippo's house, Meg mysteriously appears to Beth one night and explains that she lived there in 1785 and they become friends. Can Beth help Meg find her stolen silver chalice and rescue her family from poverty, all the time avoiding nasty Seawick the Butler and the horrible Fuzzy Ginger Beard who Meg's mum wants her to marry? Find out about Meg's friend Bryan who looks after the four beautiful horses.  

Visit and join in Beth's blog with your comments and ideas.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI)

NUBSLI was recently set up by a group of British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters concerned for the future of their profession. In this economic backdrop of Government funding cuts and general drives to save money, interpreters have witnessed first-hand the severity of the effects on our Deaf clients, colleagues and friends. Access to an appropriate level of interpreting support is being eroded, with recent examples including the cuts to Legal Aid, the Ministry of Justice contract with Capita, changes to Access to Work and the impending cuts to Disabled Student Allowance.

Alongside our work supporting Deaf colleagues to challenge and argue for their rights, we have recognised that our interpreting profession has also become vulnerable and is potentially under threat.

The unique relationship between Deaf people and BSL interpreters means that in working to protect interpreters’ professional standards and working conditions, we will also be working to make sure that there will continue to be experienced, skilled and registered interpreters for Deaf people to work with.

It’s because of all these things that we feel it is useful and important  to have a Union that supports the continuing role of BSL interpreters and translators.

NUBSLI will be democratic, working through co-ordinated action and with a coherent message, enabling us to earn an appropriate and sustainable wage with terms and conditions that keep us healthy. We will be looking to make contacts and establish relationships with external organisations in order to inform, educate and influence, rather than allowing the profession to continue to be exposed to the decisions of external decision makers. There needs to be greater awareness about when and why Deaf people need access to communication from trained professionals, as opposed to someone with basic BSL skills, and more of an understanding about the complexity involved within the interpreting and translating process.
It is still very early days and we are aware that a Union will not suddenly solve all the issues. However, with many members and by working together we will likely be stronger and more resilient. We have the potential to take some really positive action to safeguard our careers if we unite, and so I would encourage you to join in order to help make this happen.
The first meeting of NUBSLI was held on Wednesday 25th June 6.30pm. Being a division of Unite the meeting will take place at the Unite Head Office on Theobalds Road in Holborn.
More information about the value of being in a Union can be found at:

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Biographies of our terptree's Wednesday Webinar presenters for Communication Professionals

Here at terptree we are thrilled to be launching a training series of Wednesday Webinars for Communication Professionals on a range of topics.

This is an entirely bright new idea for our profession and we are very excited to be showcasing it!

We hope you enjoy this special edition blog giving you an insight into our Webinar presenters:

Jackie Griffiths

Jackie Griffiths
Jackie began her freelance interpreting career in 1987; she has since worked as an interpreter for a London borough council and a large national charity, working her way up to senior interpreter where she supervised junior colleagues who are now prominent and respected members of our profession. She was a lecturer at the University of Bristol during 2003 - 2005 and 2008 -2009, is an ASLI trained mentor, A1 assessor and trainer.
Jackie enjoys attending training and is an active
member of ASLI, including being National Chair from
2005- 2007.
She believes that to support students and colleagues 
through training and assessment is a reward in itself and
often says that she will share her experiences and in return asks them to gift their skills to another colleague, thus we become a supportive profession. Jackie is proud to call herself a community interpreter but also enjoys the variety of interpreting work in more specialist domains.

In her personal time she loves attending the theatre, is a happy Glastonbury camper and enjoying her recent move to Bristol!
Jeni Draper

Jeni DraperJeni has been interpreting for 12 years and has spent at least half of that time working in the Arts, specialising in interpretive theatre, working in BSL and spoken or written English. "My mission is to present plays equally in both languages and we are have just completed our tour of Frozen".

Esther Rose Thomas

Esther Rose Thomas is a freelance interpreter. She has worked for over 21 years and has specialised in Mental Health since 2002. A qualified ASLI mentor, Esther is especially concerned with the impact the field of Mental Health has on interpreters and the impact that we make, just by being in the room.

Previously editor of Newsli, ASLI's magazine and currently volunteering with homeless people. Esther has travelled to over 50 countries and has a passion for those that don't have it as good as we do.
Originally from Australia she has settled now in London.

Susan Grant

Born in Manchester ex RAF, Air Hostie and PA Susan now has 13 years behind her as a qualified BSL/English Interpreter.

After gaining a 1st Class Honours Degree in Interpreting BSL/English from the University of Wolverhampton, she then became the first person to gain qualification via the NVQ Level 4 Pilot Programme. Her research has covered Interpreting in Mental Health Settings, Deaf People's Access to Mental Health Services across Europe for the British Society for Mental Health and Deafness, and Deaf People's Access to the Workplace for the Charity SignHealth.

Her work with Deaf people has given her the opportunity to practice interpreting in other countries including America, Sweden and Finland. Now specialising in Forensic Linguistics, Susan's personal achievement is having partied the night away with the Rolling Stones in yesteryear.

Wendy Ledeux

Wendy Ledeux
Watching interpreters work at a conference piqued my
interest in sign language and I went on to make a Deaf friend who sustained that interest. I qualified as an interpreter in 2005, having started out as a CSW in
education in 1999.

I have been a member of ASLI's AtW working group since 2007 and was its chair for a while. I have provided workshops in subjects such as ethical decision-making, an introduction to office interpreting and telephone interpreting. I love seeing Deaf professionals reach their full potential with the correct support.

I work in a broad range of domains including theatre, social services, medical and legal. I am also an electronic notetaker and a Fitsteps Dance Fitness Instructor.

Gill Behenna

In May 2013, Gill was appointed National Adviser for the Deaf Ministry; a position where Gill supports the Chaplains with Deaf people in the dioceses as well as providing advice and deaf awareness to bishops and diocesan staff. This is with the aim of encouraging the contribution of Deaf people to the church.

She is also a freelance interpreter and a Fellow of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters.  She has previously served as Chaplain in Exeter Diocese and is a Trustee to the Deaf-led charity Go ! Sign also working voluntarily for Signs of God, a Christian training organisation.
"Interpreting in Church can be some of the most challenging and difficult. It includes poetry and music, sometimes drama and often very complex language. I am so glad that Signs of God is helping people to prepare for this very important work."
Anthony Mitchell

I am a Registered and Qualified British Sign Language Interpreter and I’ve work in the Deaf community for 27 years. The domains of Business and media is where I have most experience but I am also experienced in health, education, community, politics and law.
After studying and qualifying with CITISERVICES and the University of Bristol I began a career in interpreting with the Deaf Community.
I have previously worked as a fund raiser for charity, Breakthrough where I gained a great amount of knowledge, history and understanding of the Deaf community, the language and the culture. My mentor and boss, David Hyslop, was the best beginning I could have hoped for. David was intellegent, witty and generous in sharing with me what was culturally
appropriate to do and say. Under his watchful eye I gained qualifications in British Sign Language before embarking on the first ‘Communicator’ course to be established in the UK in 1986. This venture was administered by the Birmingham Institute for the Deaf (BID) and Bournville College of further education. I became a member of the register for sign language interpreters in 1990.

I started to work as a ‘live news interpreting’ in the early 1990’s before the BBC News Channel came into being. The BBC back then would show a simultaneous transmission of their BBC1 8am news programme, Breakfast on BBC2 for just 15 minutes each week day morning with an interpreter in vision. I was one of those interpreters. This opportunity came my way because I was already an interpreter for the BBC’s then, flagship programme for Deaf and hard of hearing people, SeeHear.

Helen Fuller

Working as a BSL/English Interpreter since 1992, I qualified in 1996 and have a broad range of interpreting experience.

I am a qualified assessor, internal verifier and external verifier.

Since 2010 I have worked at the leading VRS (Video Relay Services) provider in the UK, with responsibility for training.

Together with colleagues I have delivered seminars on Video Interpreting at the ASLI conference in 2012 and at EFSLI 2013. I am registered with NRCPD (qualified) and a member of the Chartered Management Institute.

Paul Michaels

Paul started to learn BSL in 2001 after his niece was diagnosed as profoundly Deaf. He completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Interpreting with the Deaf Community at Durham University (2009) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Interpreting and Translation at UCLan via SLI (2011). 

He is a member of ASLI, EFSLI and WASLI. He is undertaking an MARes at Durham University (due for completion June 2014) examining the identity, culture and language of the Deaf gay male community. He starts his doctoral research in October focusing on the characteristics and disposition that gives rise to a greater number of females and gay men entering the sign language interpreting profession. 

Since registering as an interpreter in 2009, he has undertaken numerous assignments within the social domain including weddings and christenings, sports events, the arts, social networking, and various ceremonies including a Mayoral Robing!

Jill Newlands

Jill NewlandsJill is an interpreter based in Derby. As well as working as a Registered Interpreter (RSLI), Jill runs Deaf Matters Training CIC, which provides training for CSWs and Interpreters. Jill worked for many years as a CSW as well asn an interpreter in HE serttings. Her knowledge of educational interpreting combined with her passion for raising standards has led Jill to offer training in this area.

She is also a former National Chair of the Association of Communication Support Workers (ACSW), the former Continuous Professional Officer at NATED, the founder and Chair or Derby BSL Practice Group and a CSW for Deaf Access at Derby College.

Jill was involved in the development of the new CSW qualification and now provides training through Signature for those who wish to teach the new Signature 'Level 3 Certificate in Learning Support (Communication Support Worker)' qualification.

Melanie Pendrick-Wright

Melanie Pendrick-Wright photo
Hi. I'm Mel Pendrick-Wright, I've been an interpreter for 13 years since graduating from Wolverhampton University. I completed the NVQ Level 4 Language and Interpreting units becoming fully qualified in 2008. I have over 12 years experience of specialising in the mental health domain (five years in house) and since becoming freelance in 2007 I have continued my work in this field out in the wider community and the various settings that the diversity of the deaf community brings. 

I've learnt that being freelance you can't get complacent in preparing for assignments, whether that's from accepting the job in the first instance to making sure you know where you're going and which train to get. Let alone the bit in between!! It's all part of the job! Preparation is the key!! But we are all human and things sometimes don't go to plan, so sometime it's worth having a Plan B!