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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Deaf Strong Hospital 2015

Actors needed!


Seeking Deaf persons age 18 and up interested in participating in Deaf Strong Hospital, an all-day activity for first-year medical students at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry that will teach them what it feels like to be Deaf in a hearing hospital.

DSH 2014 group pic

This is a role-reversal exercise, which means all of the doctors, receptionists, and pharmacists are Deaf and only communicate in ASL. The medical students will become patients and will have to learn how to communicate with Deaf doctors and nurses to get the health care they need. This fun and exciting event will take place at the University of Rochester Medical Center on August 28, 2015 from 8:30 to 3:30pm.

You will be paid about $50 for your participation. Free lunch and a t-shirt will also be provided to all participants.

Interested? Contact

Ian Deandrea-Lazarus