The self-reflecting interpreter

Original article in Dutch by Lisa Hinderks. Translated and posted with permission.

During our studies Anthropology, we have constantly been urged to be conscious of our own position. Who are we, what kind of environment are we in? What kind of experiences or knowledge do we possess, and in what way do our experiences affect our views? And in what way do we affect these environments that we are in, with our own views? When you do research as an anthropologist about a certain culture, and you are trying to understand a culture, you are to understand yourself first. When you understand yourself, and know your weaknesses, know what your opinions and visions are based on, that is when you are able to (partially) understand a different culture or community. It is even so important to be aware of your own prejudices, privileges, and conceptions. But the fact that you are a woman or a man, a white person or a Black person, and deaf or hearing, will always have an influence on how people react to you.

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TED Talks collection

The TED Talks is a wonderful platform to share all kinds of ideas in front of a present audience, and with the global audience via the Internet. I have been watching many TED Talks since a few years and would like to share several talks on my website that have impressed me, or influenced me in some ways.

This is the first entry in this TED Talks category. I’ll embed the videos in my blog post, but you should really watch them on TED.com itself, where you can see more related videos. To do so, you can click on the red TED logo to open the video on the TED.com site, or just click on the link in the heading. I’ll choose English as the default subtitles language in my posts, but you are able to choose another language if you wish. For my Japanese friends, I have added Japanese links which point to the Japanese TED.com pages.

Let me start with a list of five talks that have been amazing, on vastly different themes and topics: leadership, diversity, religion, education and justice.
Continue reading TED Talks collection

As ‘t myn tiid is

Gurbe Douwstra is a Frisian musician from Drachten, the Netherlands. I ran into one of his songs on a social network, and it touched me. This is because I have lived the first half of my life in Friesland, a province in the Netherlands, with its own officially recognized language, which we proudly call Frysk. While I don’t speak it, it is still close to me.

By no means am I going anywhere – I like to think that I still have the vigor of life in me. But as the text is beautiful, I wanted to share it with those unfamiliar to Frysk. So here is my attempt to translate his song “as ‘t myn tiid is” from Frysk into English and Japanese.

Gurbe Douwstra's song in Frisian
Gurbe Douwstra’s song in Frisian

When it’s my time

When you miss me, have a need of me
or look for guidance, when you daren’t go further
then close your eyes, and stand still for a while
look in your heart, and know that I’ll be there

Don’t be sad, it is as it goes
all that lives, will one day pass away
But just believe me, I mean it sincerely
no single life, long or short, is for naught

So when it’s my time, grieve not too long for me
I’m not far away, I’ll always be near
I’m in your being, I’m in your blood … you’re my blood
Never forget this, my child, and everything will be alright

僕の寿命が来ているなら

僕のことを恋しく想う時、困った時
僕の指導を望む時、道を迷う時
その時は目を閉じて、しばらく足を止めて
僕のことをこころの奥に見つけなさい

悲しまないで、こうなるべきだから
生きとし生けるものがいつか去るんだ
ただ、本気で云わせてこれを信じて
短いも長いも無駄な人生なんかない

僕の寿命が来ているなら、嘆かないでほしい
遠いところじゃなくて、すぐそばにいるさ
僕は君のこころにいるんだ。。。君は僕の一部さ
最愛なる子よ、これを一生忘れるな
何もかも大丈夫になるさ

Vim tips and tricks: HTML table re-ordering

Suppose you have an HTML table on a static website, not dynamically created. It shows a grid of thumbnail photos in table cells. The code was something like the following:

<table>
 <tr>
 <td><a href="photo/photo01.html"><img src="photo/photo01.jpg" alt="" /></a></td>
 <td><a href="photo/photo02.html"><img src="photo/photo02.jpg" alt="" /></a></td>
 <td><a href="photo/photo03.html"><img src="photo/photo03.jpg" alt="" /></a></td>
 <td><a href="photo/photo04.html"><img src="photo/photo04.jpg" alt="" /></a></td>
 <td><a href="photo/photo05.html"><img src="photo/photo05.jpg" alt="" /></a></td>
 </tr>
 <tr>
 <td><a href="photo/photo06.html"><img src="photo/photo06.jpg" alt="" /></a></td>
 <td><a href="photo/photo07.html"><img src="photo/photo07.jpg" alt="" /></a></td>
 <td><a href="photo/photo08.html"><img src="photo/photo08.jpg" alt="" /></a></td>
 <td><a href="photo/photo09.html"><img src="photo/photo09.jpg" alt="" /></a></td>
 <td><a href="photo/photo10.html"><img src="photo/photo10.jpg" alt="" /></a></td>
 </tr>
 <!-- etc... -->
</table>

Yes, ouch!

There are hundreds of photos, spread over several pages in several HTML files, and you want to put them all on one page. You also want to change the number of columns of the thumbnail grid. How are you going to do this in the most efficient way possible, without turning the code into a dynamically generated code? Read on to learn more, using grep and vim!

Continue reading Vim tips and tricks: HTML table re-ordering

How to use Deaf Gain in job interviews

In a previous article I have written about how to positively communicate your deafness towards the job market. I want to expand on this by sharing with you a certain interview question that I was asked, and how I responded.

“Why should we hire you?”

Note: this was for a position that requires analysis and problem solving, involving computer science, programming and statistics.

This is a pretty common interview question. It is usually asked in the last stage of the interview process, as it means that you have passed your skill tests and company culture fit tests. The answer to this ultimate question helps the hiring manager to decide between all the candidates who reached the last stage of the interview process. It is here that you have to make yourself stand out from all the other candidates.

What value can I add to this company by being there? How can I help this company in improving by working there? What special features do I have that can be beneficial to this company?

It was at this moment that I thought about Deaf Gain. Deaf Gain, being the playful antonym of “hearing loss”, is defined as a reframing of “deaf” as a form of sensory and cognitive diversity that has the potential to contribute to the greater good of humanity (Bauman and Murray, 2009). So I responded with the following:

By being Deaf I may have a different viewpoint towards problems. I may see certain issues that are otherwise not visible to most people, such as the need for closed captions in movies and other film media. I may have a different approach to solving problems, such as adding visual cues or details to an interface, or enriching the interface with a different method of input such as sign language or gestures. By working with me, my colleagues will become aware of these issues, these possibilities, and learn from them. They will learn about a minority group, and be made aware of its existence in society. I am an example for others on how it could be different for certain people. By being there, I can highlight human diversity inside the company, and in society. By hiring me, everyone will benefit from the new experience in working with me.

As mentioned before, it was for a position that requires analysis and problem solving. If your case is different, you may need to reword it a little bit so that it is applicable to your situation. It is my hope that this article has given you some inspiration, so that you can take advantage of your Deaf identity in your quest on the job market!