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Information for Interpreters

Hi! My name is Oliver Stabbe (pronounced stab-bee; see name sign in gif to right). In English, I go by Stab (much like my name sign) or Oliver.
I hold a a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley (MPH) and dual Bachelors degrees from the University of Rochester. I am a hard of hearing/Deaf public health practitioner focused on the intersection of policy and social determinants of health. I came to public health from an eclectic background, with my career path touching on activism, linguistics, neuroscience, mental health services, policy, and litigation. I am broadly interested in how the social barriers and systems we navigate affect quality of life and health. Much of what I work on is the embodiment of commonly recognized social forces (e.g. racism, poverty, how our environment affects health), but discussed from theoretical and applied public health lenses. This page is to provide context as to what those environments may look like. 

To see an example of my signing style, click here:


Demonstration of name sign. HS: S. pinky finger side of hand makes tapped contact with torso, proximal to the dominant side of chest.  

Language background

  • I am hard of hearing and identify as culturally Deaf given my bilingualism and involvement in the Deaf community. I alternate between spoken English and ASL. I am also proficient in other languages that will almost never come up in professional contexts, so they're mostly just fun facts for me to throw out at this point.

  • I was exposed to ASL at a very young age. After I began signing, I started talking in full english as well. I subsequently grew up oral and dropped ASL until I later relearned it in college. In one-on-one or small groups in quiet environments, I can follow conversations well. At times, I struggle with speaking loudly enough. Sometimes you need to let me know if I'm too quiet and need to speak up. A good rule of thumb is to proactively slide in behind the speaker and begin interpreting if it's a loud environment.

Interpretation preferences

  • All that having been said, I do prefer going more ASL receptively when the context and shared vocabulary are clear. You may see my expressive style as more english within academic settings, but that doesn't always align with my receptive preferences (which admittedly changes based on the day). 

  • I will mostly default to speaking for myself in academic, hearing settings. I usually do not ask interpreters that I'm new to working with to voice for me. If I choose to sign (usually a result of tiredness), I will be clear about that. I'm usually bad about making (and following) a script for any presentation I do. If you don't feel comfortable voicing for me, even if I want you to, let me know as I will switch to voicing. I don't mind.Usually, if there's at least one D/HoH person, I will sign for them and expect you to voice for sign-language impaired people. 

  • Context and shared vocabulary will often not be clear, because they're research or academic discussions! If you aren't familiar with the jargon, mouth the word and guess at the phonetic spelling, and we'll get it. If I know the word, I'll quickly feed you a sign to replace that word if it comes up often, so you do not need to fingerspell over and over again. Do not assume that's the official sign. 

  • When meetings are more formal/working with new people, please introduce yourself to everyone, because I'll forget. If I'm with a meeting with peers or people I have more casual relationships with, they're used to seeing me with interpreters by now and usually introductions are not needed.

  • I often work with hearing people who have never met a Deaf professional before. Please let me know how you feel about educating hearing participants about sign language and interpreting. I know "empowering the Deaf person to explain this stuff themselves" is a thing, but I've also answered that question fifty thousand times before, and delegation is an empowered act (if you're comfortable with it).

Other things to know

  • You'll find a lot of things about me and my work if you google my name. This website and my CV may be helpful, but you can assume that my wording/register/patter/sense of humor, etc is reflected in this website section. I am very good at puns (though admittedly I'm not a fan. It's a curse.) 

  • Much of the time, I am an informal, sarcastic, and goofy person and chatty with most everyone. If you do not want to chat, I respect that and will try to pick up on your cues. If I'm not picking up on it, feel free to be direct. However, when the environment calls for it, I will turn on that "professionalism" switch. 

Credit to Giordon Stark for letting me use their page as a template! 

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