Friday, June 21, 2013

That Wu-Tang Interpreter Girl from Bonnaroo

Happy Friday, everyone! I have a few different things to mention today. First, our first group of counselors will be going up to Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp this weekend to get ready for session one of camp. Good luck, and have fun!

Also, Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp's 80th birthday is coming up. MHKC has been around an impressively long time, and such a great camp is worth celebrating. It's a good thing, then, that on Thursday, July 25th, Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp is having a birthday celebration up at the camp! It sounds like it's going to be quite the shindig, with cake, live entertainment, some rad historical photos (like the one at the left), and a barbeque dinner. The festivities start at 4:00 pm, barbeque dinner begins at 6:00, followed by skits at 7:00. Bring your own lawn chair and $10 for dinner. It should be a good time! For more information or to RSVP (by July 5th), email Terri at

And now, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, a little commentary on the most popular ASL interpreter since Lydia Calas. There has been quite a buzz around a woman named Holly Maniatty who interpreted for Wu-Tang Clan, Matt and Kim, and R. Kelly at this year's Bonnaroo music festival. Many have commented that she stole the show and was more entertaining than the performers.

Maniatty has been a certified interpreter for 13 years and a performance interpreter for ten of those 13. This year was her sixth or seventh interpreting at Bonnaroo, and though the attention she has been getting recently is overwhelming, Maniatty says that she is thankful for the positive regard being brought to Bonnaroo as an accessible music festival:

“I guess I am in front of a lot of people but I'm always so absorbed in doing a good job—it's just about the deaf patrons who are there. I hope it spreads the word that Bonnaroo has an accessible festival and amazing interpreters that come from all over the country.”

This video may contain language that is offensive to some viewers.

At festivals like Bonnaroo, teams of many interpreters work together based on skill level, music specialty (for example, one interpreter may be particularly good at signing folk music where another is better at rap), or familiarity with a particular band. Often, multiple interpreters will sign for a single band, going back and forth to reflect different artists' voices. For example, Maniatty was signing with another woman, Jenn Abbott, during the Wu-Tang performance.

Maniatty also notes that it takes a lot more than just interpreting words as they are presented. She spent about 50-80 hours studying Wu-Tang's music, background, and interviews so she could know them as well as possible. That way, she can interpret their lyrics, often filled with metaphors, as accurately as possible. Also, should a member of the group decide to freestyle, she can freestyle, too, and not lose the meaning of the lyrics.

Some of you may know that I'm interested in becoming an interpreter, but, man! Performance interpretation looks exhausting! Have any of you ever been to a concert that was interpreted? What was it like?

Also, don't forget about MHKC's birthday party, and wish the first wave of counselors well!

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