Interpreting on a Pandemic Wedding

When this COVID Pandemic started wreaking havoc on our entire world order in February 2020, I decided to refrain from accepting any sign language interpreting services despite a few invitations from my colleagues in the community. This was mainly due to strict government protocols of not allowing people to go out unless extremely necessary, as well as fear of getting infected by this unheard-of virus.

To prove that my decision is right, my household is composed of two octogenarian parents and three deaf friends. They belong to the vulnerable sector when it comes to viral infections. And my fear surely happened when I contracted the dreaded virus this April and unknowingly infected my senior parents. Fortunately, my deaf friends were tested negative on the swab test. And even more, blessed miraculously when we were all healed and received a negative result on the re-swab test by May. Although I was not idle for the entire duration of self-imposed quarantine from 2020 until May, still I declined to accept interpreting jobs including the Capitol City Baptist Church Deaf Ministry where I have been volunteering every Sunday since 1996. It should not be a problem for me because interpreting is done online wherein you don’t need to personally go to the venue. You just set up your mini-studio at home. And with a high-speed internet connection, your video will be streamed together with the event in real-time. Still, I declined.

When this venue interpreting service call came up on May 12, I asked myself, “Should I or should I not?” The call came from Ms. Ruffa Saludo. I don’t know her personally but I know a lot about her deaf Dad Michael. He has been visiting our school since we transferred to San Mateo in 2011 because he can easily pass by it before going to his home. Michael has also been working at the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) for 31 years and has just retired a couple of years ago. As a Utility Personnel, he always took care of us every time we have a meeting and other activities in their office. I have not personally met her Mom Loretta whom I was pleasantly surprised was also deaf. Ruffa, a hearing person, requested if I may be hired to interpret for her Christian wedding with Max Suello on May 22.

Michael, Loretta and Me!

But after hearing that Ruffa wants her wedding to be very memorable not only to her but most especially to her deaf parents, I readily accepted the invite. I pondered, this will be very exciting because it’s my first time after more than a year of interpreting hiatus. Also, I’d like to experience firsthand what a wedding setup looks like following strict government protocol. Here are my observations:

  • The attendees and guests are very limited. Only ten persons were allowed at the venue. So the couple chose a garden wedding at “Delicere” in Marikina City wherein they can conduct the ceremony outside while the reception is done in the cozy restaurant inside the place. There is no need to transfer from one venue to another, say a church wedding and a reception in a restaurant. So only the bride, groom, their parents, the officiating Pastor, and his wife who also represented the principal sponsors, the Maid of Honor and the Best Man. I was the eleventh guest. All the friends, Principals, and Secondary Sponsors were able to participate in an online Zoom conference where they watched the ceremony live. “Social Distancing Protocol” was met.
  • All the attendees and guests wrote on the form on the door before entering the venue. “Contact Tracing Protocol” was met.
  • Alcohol was stationed on almost every corner of the venue including the restrooms. “Wash your Hands with Alcohol or Soap and Water Protocol” was met.
  • All attendees and guests wore face masks except during the wedding entrance parade. On the entire proceeding, everybody has face masks excluding the bride and groom. The officiating pastor from time to time wears the mask. I never removed mine during the entire ceremony even when I did sign-to-voice interpreting for both Michael and Loretta. “Face Mask Protocol” was met.
  • At the reception, we have seated one chair apart. Again, the “Social Distancing Protocol” was met.
  • Hugging, handshaking, and kissing except when the bride and groom doing it, was not allowed. Once again, the “Social Distancing Protocol” was met.
At the Wedding Reception….

Despite the challenges of having restrictions and the unusually few numbers of allowed guests which are saddening on occasions like these where joyful celebrations and parties are expected, still, the event was memorable and sweet. The newlyweds heartily thanked their online guests. The regular slicing of the cake, giving of wedding vows, wine-toasting, and of course, the sweet kissing after hearing the clinging of glasses, were still present. The solemnity and joy in celebrating this “once-in-a-lifetime” event were felt by everyone. Even the wedding souvenirs were timely, a black face mask and small alcohol bottle.

Wedding Souvenir Gift to Guests…

So to the newlywed couples Ruffa and Max Suello, congratulations and thank you very much for breaking my interpreting hiatus by inviting me to do sign language interpreting for your deaf parents. And to Michael and Loretto, congratulations too for having a sweet and loving daughter and from the message of Ruffa “I know that you are strict to me, that’s that only way you express your love to me, always waiting for me, preparing for snacks, for being industrious no matter what, because of your actions, I and my brother are now successful in our rights.

The Newlyweds with their parents, Ruffa’s brother, and me….

Best wishes to the newlyweds!

Side Note: Ever since my colleague and longtime friend Ma’am Tess Buenaventura suggested this to me during my first wedding interpreting experience wherein we were partners, I never accept interpreting service fees. She said that if the deaf bride/groom/parents are close to me, you may inform them that the amount you will receive instead be used as a special wedding gift for them. So after countless wedding interpreting services I did, I never accept payments including this one. 🙂

Happy International [Deaf] Women’s Month!!!

Happy International Women’s Month, everyone! What better way to celebrate this month than by knowing the Top 10 Deaf Women in History! 🤟🤟🤟

Here are the “Top 10 Deaf Women in History” by Deafniche. I was pleasantly surprised when I shared this in our Facebook feed. It was re-shared more than 50 times with more than 1000 people reached! Click on the image below to view the entire page. Cheers!

We all started to love the deaf by loving their language first

I never dreamed of being engrossed with the deaf, much less being near them. But I was fascinated by their language. It’s soo beautiful. Every movement has meaning. The graceful flow of hands, the moods of body, the flickering of fingers; all suggest a variety of definitions. I believe most of my hearing colleagues would agree with me that we all started to love the deaf by loving their language first.” <- an inspiring quote/experience to end the love month. Cheers!🤟🤟🤟

https://www.fb.com/fdeahp

Want a cheap yet reliable webhosting? Try Hostinger!

I have been designing websites since 1997. During my early web designing years, I dabble only with popular free hosting sites back then like Geocities and Tripod, both of which are still existing as archive pages. Self-hosted websites were very expensive during those times.

Then in early 2000, I started paying shared hosted providers from companies that offer locally. I understand that most of them are just resellers of international hosting sites because I often receive warnings of “unusual bandwidth activity” and upload slowdowns due to the overwhelming of their systems even though I was only updating my websites in active mode. These experiences were very frustrating on top of that having a super slow internet connection.

By the mid-2000s, after learning WordPress and advocating for accessible websites, I started looking for international web hosting providers. GoDaddy was aggressively promoted here in the Philippines thru TV Ads and the like. But the price was in USD which is so expensive. SiteGround was another viable option because the price is a little less compared to GoDaddy. But still, it’s too prohibitive. Then in 2014, I tried Ionos by 1&1, a German-based hosting provider. At first, it was very enticing because you only pay $1 for one year (Php50 in Philippine currency which I paid a little over Php500 due to currency conversion, taxes, etc.) But after a year, I decided to look for a new provider since the Ionos renewal will be USD10/month or USD120/year (roughly Php6,000).

hostingerjojoEnter, Hostinger, a Lithuanian-based company. I started getting their service in 2019 although I have tried using their site in 2013 via their free 000webhost.com. I won’t be doing an in-depth review about their performance and features because they’ve already done that here, here and even comparing it with Ionos here, and here. All of these review sites gave very high recommendations for Hostinger. What I would do is to list down my personal experience in using Hostinger service and how I definitely would give this a “two-thumbs up” recommendation. Here they are

1. Insanely Low Price

Hostinger.com has a dedicated Philippine site Hostinger.Ph. Although they are just identical sites when it comes to content and features, the price range is very different. The first thing why I was enticed to get Hostinger as my web hosting company is because of their localized site approach. The web hosting plan is already converted to our Philippine currency (Pesos). This proves to be very attractive especially if I will market this to our Philippine customers. Converted to pesos, the price per plan is relatively cheap compared to other web hosting companies offering local currency.

hostingerusprice

hostingerpriceph

If you compare the two prices above and focus on the Single Web Hosting, the identical features offer a different price when converted. At Php 50 = $1 exchange rate,

$0.99/month x 12 months = $11.88 x Php 50 = Php 594

Php35 x 12 months = Php 420

You’ll get a discount of Php 174 or $3.48

The discount is even insanely huge when you renew their service. $2.99 x 12 x 50 = Php1,794 <=> Php79 x 12 = Php 948 for a discount of Php 846 or $16.92! That’s a lot of money for us Filipinos!

UPDATE AS OF March 1, 2021: The MONTHLY PRICE has been INCREASED TO Php 49.00. So the discount has been reduced to Php 6.00. I don’t know why they increased it. Probably because of this blog. (sigh)

2. Outstanding Support Team

hostingercustomerserviceI currently maintain six sites; the official websites of Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf (mccid.edu.ph), MCCID Online Courses (mccid.edu.ph/online), Philippine Web Accessibility Group (pwag.org), Mark 737 Design and Prints (mark737.com), God’s Grace Overflowing Private Pool (godsgraceoverflowing.com) and MCCIDONLINE.NET. Before Hostinger, all of the websites were hosted on four different providers. After getting the hang of their service, I decided to migrate all of the sites under their server. I even transferred the domain names of MARK 737 and PWAG to Hostinger.

But migrating sites would always entail issues. I’ve had a huge one with pwag.org. The previous domain registrar is giving me a hard time transferring the site. Fortunately, Hostinger Customer Service gave me a walk-through of the process. Also, the email address of mccid.edu.ph is freely hosted by Google under the Google Apps for Education service, now Google Workspace for Education. I’m having difficulty connecting their service to Google. Fortunately again, they assisted me in changing my MX Records and pointing me to links to Google Services.

I also find this response very nice. Emily, the CS Operator, when she felt that her reply is taking a bit long, assured me that,

If you need to be away from your device, don’t you worry. We’ll email you the reply.

Also another cute Signature Comment I received,

P.S. To make my life easier, so I can make your life easier, please include your domain name blush

Btw, they emailed me the conversation notes as soon as we completed the interaction that’s why I was able to save their replies.

3. Incredibly Fast

I don’t need to put some performance metrics and bandwidth speed test measurements here. Take my word for it. Their servers are very fast with no downtime!

4. Everything Unlimited!

I selected their Premium Shared Webhosting Plan so I am currently receiving:

  • UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH
  • UNLIMITED DATABASES
  • UNLIMITED FTP ACCOUNTS
  • “UNLIMITED” WEBSITES – Well, I consider 100 as already unlimited because why would you store 100 websites on one account?
  • “UNLIMITED” SUBDOMAINS – Again, 100 subdomains are almost unlimited.
  • “UNLIMITED” TRAFFIC – Their service says, 25,000 visits/month. But it’s not a restriction but merely a point of reference. It depends on how you optimize your website and resource usage.

They even threw in these freebies!

  • FREE SSL CERTIFICATE
  • FREE DOMAIN FOR ONE YEAR
  • FREE GOOGLE ADS CREDIT
  • FREE WEEKLY BACKUPS
  • FREE EMAIL

5. User-Friendly Dashboard

Ah, the CPanel Webhosting Control Panel. Sorry! Hostinger does not have one. Instead, they have an even better and more user-friendly dashboard where you can find everything you need in one location. In it, you can track logins, update billing information, manage your domains, and monitor emails from your dashboard. The control panel isn’t a traditional cPanel, but large icons make it simple to find exactly what you need and when you need it.

6. Affiliate Offerings

Welcome to the Hostinger Affiliate Family
Welcome Email Image Sent by Hostinger.com

Oh yes, they do have. And I am a bona fide Hostinger Philippine Affiliate Partner! It’s easy to apply and I already included the link to all our YouTube videos, websites, and Facebook posts. I converted my Affiliate link to redirect to Hostinger.ph site.

After a long search, I believe I have finally found the ONE for me. One that will hopefully be “for keeps“. 😉

Note: All screenshot images and links that appear here are owned by Hostinger.Com.

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Things to Consider in Making Online Classrooms Accessible to Deaf Learners

Deaf people around the world have found communication during Covid-19 times quite challenging. Dr. Robert Adams of Cambridge University discusses sign languages, the impact Covid-19 has had on deaf people, and how we can help by making small changes in the English language classroom. I have summarized his post by listing the checklist here:

  1. Do they have better access to the internet?
  2. Do they know how to use online platforms?
  3. Is a sign language interpreter needed?
  4. Can the students see each other clearly?
  5. Can the students participate and interact?
  6. Is there a live captioning and is it accurate?
  7. Do videos used as visual aids accessible?
  8. Do students and interpreters have access to preparation materials?

I have created a simple infographics which you can freely download here.

You may view the originating post below.

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