The Countdown To The Resurrection

The Countdown Begins In Search of

11: Here We Go Again!

Posted by ridor9th on August 29, 2008

Thousands of Deaf people tuned in last Tuesday night to watch the premiere of fourth season on Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency mainly because they wanted to root for Martin ‘Marty’ Ritchie. Not only that, there were encores of that show repeatedly all night long on Oxygen Channel and twice the next day.

Naturally, many of us were concerned about the legitimacy and fairness when it comes to reality shows which often squared the residents against each other — look at Amazing Race, Survivor, America’s Next Top Model and so on … competition can be so brutal, especially in the field of reality shows.

Needless to say, I hoped that Marty had the qualified one to interpret for him throughout the series on Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. The guy who was interpreting for Marty is not qualified. He is not even certified to interpret! The only credential that he knew American Sign Language is because his mother is Deaf. That’s it.

That so-called interpreter’s name is Jerry Ferris — the same guy who competed on the third season of The Bachelorette — in that show, Jerry was one of two finalists vying for a girls’ hand in marriage. Jerry was the one who acted as the policeman that interpreted for the dectectives on CSI: NY along with Deaf actor, Russell Harvard not a long time ago! Jerry Ferris did make a brief appearance on The Real World: Back to New York.

It is evident that the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency hired Jerry not based on his qualifications but on his looks. A certain friend of mine from Los Angeles muttered to me last night, “Jerry Ferris tends to brownnose Hollywood industry, using his looks to get his god-damned 15 minutes of fame! Did you notice that Martin seems to be bit lost at times? It is obvious that Jerry is trying to get himself on the show, using Martin to advance his career!”

I nodded. I also told my friend that I noticed one scene where Janice asked if it is OK to use the term ‘Deaf’ without offending Martin at all? Before Martin could respond anything, Jerry spoke for him. He did not allow Martin to respond to Janice’s question — Jerry did it for him. It was such an awkward moment that prompted Janice to wrap Martin in her arms. You can see the odd reactions to the whole thing.

That critical moment when I saw it — it raised a red flag for me. I did wonder whether if this so-called interpreter was qualified nor certified to interpret based on the fact that Jerry spoke before Martin could address Janice’s question.

And I was right.

Jerry Ferris is CODA — the Child of Deaf Adult — this is classic example of what is wrong with CODAs out there, they think that by living with their Deaf mothers and/or fathers, they knew everything about Deaf Culture and American Sign Language. Not even true at all. I know what I’m talking about because I have five siblings, and 2 of ’em are CODAs — not only that, I also observed hundreds of CODAs in the past. The pattern is there.

The truth is that they lived the experiences but they generally do not know the rules, history or customs of our language and community beyond their parents and/or siblings! That is major difference.

Obviously, Janice wants to scuffle all hot and good looking people on her series — they took Jerry despite the fact that he was not good at interpreting. It is possible that the series hired Jerry because his so-called ability to interpret is much cheaper than the qualified interpreters would charge.

Martin deserves the best. Martin deserves the qualified interpreter to ensure that he survives the competition throughout the fourth season. With Jerry Ferris speaking and answering things for Martin, I cannot help but be worried about Martin’s chances on the series!

The CODAs has the tendency to take over the conversations and run the whole thing for Deaf people. Not all CODAs do that, but many do. Very few CODAs had to re-learn and re-train themselves in order to be certified/qualified interpreter — many were too proud to admit that they simply are not good at interpreting.  This is not a unique problem, it may be a common trait among many CODAs.  This has happened one too many times but by no means, not all CODAs do that but simply, too many CODAs.  You dig what I mean?

I am willing to bet that Jerry will not step aside in the best interests of Martin Ritchie. Jerry probably will dispatch his friends against me via emails as soon as I post this entry up.

Like it or not, Jerry is not qualified nor a good signer at all. Just look at the way he signs, that is the important thing, right?




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11 Responses to “11: Here We Go Again!”

  1. *Boston said


    Well written article!! I cannot agree more on this. In fact one coda at my work tried numerous times to screw me because I knew what she was up to. Thank God she’s no longer there and the workplace is much calmer.

    I totally agree with you Ridor. Again well written article!!

  2. MartyFan said

    I SO agree with you.

    I Did see that (what you mentioned).

    I even noticed that he didnt even pay attention to his “interpreter”.

    Just out of curiosity, are you Hearing Impared? I just found this site, and I think It’s awsome. I’m definately adding this to my favorites 🙂

  3. This is a great article about CODA and interpreting. It’s a myth that CODAs make the best sign language interpreters. It doesn’t follow that just because CODAs may have no problems understanding ASL incoming from the deaf person, they should be be champs at translating the message into spoken English.

    Interpreting is a very difficult job and so much more complex than how many deaf people give credit for. In order to learn interpreting well, all of them must go through a competent Interpreting Training Program (ITP) to learn how to properly translate and get the necessary practice using the methods. More importantly, they will also understand and incorporate the right ethics when they are working as interpreters in the real world. Without the full understanding of the ethics, they will often fail in carrying out their obligations as an interpreter (as you pointed out in the example above).

    Born a CODA != Good interpreter
    Being a CODA + graduate from an ITP + following the ethics = Good interpreter

  4. Barb DiGi said

    This is making my eyes roll! Although I am not one of the thousands to tune in to watch the show (I forgot!), I will definitely check it out! You know America’s society values are based on looks, looks and looks! It is ust sickening to see the priorities screwed up since the show affects Marty, not Jerry. He answers the questions? Scoff! I just hope that Marty will speak out and to prevent this from happening. Wont be surprised that you wrote a leter to the network about that. Who is responsible to evaluate, I wonder?

    MartyFan: It is ok to ask someone if he or she is DEAF since the term hearing impaired is much more offensive, IMO.

  5. ridor9th said

    MartyFan: I’m not hearing impaired. I’m Deaf.


  6. ridor9th said

    Jared Evans, you wrote this:

    Born a CODA != Good interpreter
    Being a CODA + graduate from an ITP + following the ethics = Good interpreter

    I think you meant:

    Born a CODA != Good interpreter
    Being a CODA + graduate from an ITP + following the ethics = Outstanding interpreter

    Am I right?


  7. Disagree said

    Either way.

    I ain’t watching this show. I call this show as.. what British would say this.. rubbish.

  8. dog food said

    “Disagree”, you don’t have to be beautiful to watch the show.

  9. MartyFan said

    Sorry, it’s just that I’ve never really used the term in english before. My cousin is deaf, but when we talk about her (Not bad, only like when she got married & we talk TO her at partys) we usually say it in spanish.

    Sorry If I offended anyone 🙂

  10. samantha said

    hey martin i am deaf iam samantha haley

  11. RLM said

    You could check out my RLMDEAF blog what we could do about this interpreting issue on the Oxygen TV’s “Janice Dickerson Modeling Agency”.

    It’s time for our real action, instead of sitting on our rear side and discuss about this voilate matter.

    Robert L. Mason (RLM)
    RLMDEAF blog

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