Translation Working Group (TWG)

TWG icon

RPRC:NCDHR approaches the translation of English measures through the use of both ASL and English-based Signing Working groups, collectively labeled the Translation Working Group. The Translation Workgroup (TWG) is made up of bilingual (ASL and English) individuals who have extensive experience in English-ASL translation and a high degree of Deaf cultural competency. TWG members come from a variety of backgrounds, including psychology, medicine, social work, ASL/English interpretation, education and research. The TWG is comprised of both Deaf and hearing individuals. Once items are translated and filmed, they are subject to back-translation review by independent, well-qualified individuals, as well as cognitive testing with the target audience for each measure.

Current Members

ASL Translation Group

Matt Disch Robart Pollard Julia Rood
Matthew Disch Bob Pollard Julia Rood

English-based Sign Translation Group

Donna Gustina Vincent Samar Patrick Sullivan
Donna Gustina Vincent Samar Patrick Sullivan

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Projects Supported


Deaf Health Survey 2013 - an adaptation of the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Deaf Weight Wise - a healthy lifestyle program adapted from Weight Wise, a program of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Prevention Research Center (PRC)

Deaf Healthcare Survey - an adaptation of CAHPS ® (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems).


Deaf Health Survey 2008 - The Deaf Health Community Committee (DHCC) and the National Center for Deaf Health Research (NCDHR) at the University of Rochester worked together to develop the Deaf Health Survey. The TWG worked for months translating written English questions from national health surveys into ASL.

Deaf Health Survey FilmingDeaf Health Survey Filming

In the photos above is Patrick Graybill signing Deaf Health Survey questions in ASL during studio filming at RIT. Robyn Dean, Julianna Aggas, and Susan Demers Postlethwait act as "coaches" in the background to ensure that each person's signing matches the standardized ASL video "script."

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Graybill P, Aggas J, Dean RK, Demers S, Finigan E, Pollard RQ. A community participatory approach to adapting survey items for Deaf individuals and American Sign Language. (Article) Field Methods 2010; 22(4); 429-448.

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Demers S, Schlehofer D. The process of the ASL-English Translation Working Group. Presented to the American Sign Language and Interpreting Education Department, National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY; 2008 Aug 7-8.

Aggas J, Chapel S, Dean R, Demers-Postlethwait S, Finigan E, Graybill P, Gold-Brunson J, Haynes S, O’Hearn A, Pollard RQ. Adapting surveys and educational materials for Deaf audiences. (Poster)Deaf Health Poster Session, NTID Brown Bag Research Series, Rochester NY; 2007 Feb 19.

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Research Opportunities

Focus Group Meetings


Seeking Deaf persons age 21-40 interested in participating in a one-time two hour focus group meeting in Rochester!

Focus Group Meeting Flyer

The interviews are limited to Deaf people who are now living in the Rochester (NY) area. The focus group will be conducted in ASL. We need your feedback on developing Deaf Weight Wise (DWW) 2.0. We will be asking about healthy eating and physical activity. The purpose of the group is to continue to develop culturally and linguistically appropriate healthy lifestyle research programs for Deaf people. Each participant will receive $30 dollars cash.

Interested? Contact

Jackie Pransky

(585) 568 6534 VP