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Sign Language Interpretation at a Heavy Metal Concert:

Numerous videos have recently gone viral exhibiting the amazing talents of sign language interpreters hired to perform at concerts. Their visualization of sound is allowing deaf community members the chance to enjoy live music of all genres. Not only are sign language interpreters providing an invaluable service, they are turning heads and getting noticed for their performances at rap, heavy metal and even pop concerts. Lindsay Rothschild-Cross, an American Sign language interpreter and high school teacher told Good Morning America, “I grew up with Guns N’ Roses, and Alice in Chains and Iron Maiden and things like that, I’ve never actually interpreted for death metal though. This is the first time.” Rothschild-Cross likes to prepare for the show by researching the artist to understand their background, she says the performance is about grasping the complete emotion behind the lyrics. Rothschild-Cross in regards to interpreting Lamb of God’s song, “Ruin,” “At first, I was honestly very nervous because I had never interpreted metal. The key is you have to impersonate the singer. The meaning of the song is a lot of anger. I just took on that feeling of someone that has hurt me before.”

Lamb of God singer D. Randall Blythe said, “I am always extremely pleased when I see sign language interpreters at our shows, and the show in Austin was no exception. That day, there were several interpreters taking turns, they were all working hard and doing a great job, but Lindsay’s interpretation of our performance stood out to me enough that I hopped down off the stage and sang beside her for a bit,” Blythe continued. “Lindsay and the other interpreters became a part of that massive exchange of energy that occurs at our shows, just as important as any of us performing on stage. I hope to see her at a show in the future!”

Rights Provided to the Deaf Community Under the Americans With Disabilities Act:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires title II entities (State and local governments) and title III entities (businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the public) communicate effectively with deaf individuals. Covered entities must provide auxiliary aids and services including but not limited to professional sign language interpreters, video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. The ADA places responsibility for providing effective communication, including the use of sign language interpreters, directly on covered entities. Sign language interpreters and remote sign language interpretation services are only provided upon request. This means if a member of the Deaf community is attending a concert, they have the right to request sign language interpreters in order to facilitate a greater understanding and convey the essences of the music in a manner appealing to all senses.

A deaf performance artist named Rosa Lee Timm stated, “As we all know, music can be felt through all of our senses. This means we deaf people can enjoy music in many different ways other than hearing, we can experience the power of music through vibration, visual arts such as dancing, film, lighting, colors, and touching.” It’s important to extend the feeling, understanding and love of music to all people regardless of their hearing capabilities, it’s a step in the right direction for the ADA to encourage sufficient language services and resources be provided at public events. Amber Galloway Gallego is an American Sign Language interpreter and the owner of Amber G Productions, she stated, ”Every instrument has a voice. If we choose to ignore those voices, we are taking away from the experience and deaf people are constantly having things not be accessible” “If you only look at the lyrics, then it just becomes poetry. All the layers of music are what drives us to listen. You have to show all of them.”

“My favorite experience is when deaf people have told me that this was their first time ever truly experiencing music and now have a better understanding of what each instrument sounds like,” Gallego said. “When I see the deaf and hard of hearing patrons signing the instruments with me, it gives me chills every time.” Music is a universal art that should be enjoyed by all who are drawn to it, this can happen through the provision of professional sign language interpretation services at concerts. If you’re in need of professional sign language interpretation services, contact Niki’s Int’l Ltd., a language service company (LSC) who is here to aid in providing the best possible experiences, understanding and communication to anyone in need.

Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 20 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at

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