What We Learned from Timpanogos Storytelling & Virtual Offerings – Part 3 of 9

This is the third of nine parts on Rachel Hedman’s impressions of the Virtual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Although this happened in September 2020, Timpanogos as well as their Encore Offering in December 2020/January 2021. You can follow Timpanogos here.


  • Part 1 – Pre-Recorded vs. Live – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Inside the Program REVEALED
  • Part 3 – ASL & its Presence/Absence – TODAY
  • Part 4 – Emcees & “Making it Personal”
  • Part 5 – Use of the Screen by Story Artists
  • Part 6 – Art of Binge-Watching
  • Part 7 – Favorites from Featured Tellers
  • Part 8 – Featured vs. Guest Tellers
  • Part 9 – Use of Encore Offering

We love and honor the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

Please note that I learn from any experience including this festival in Utah that is cherished worldwide. Any and all of these posts within this series are impressions that are shared with respect despite some differences in opinion.

Timpanogos typically has American Sign Language interpretations for the evening concerts.

While the professional storytellers are wonderful and engaging, I always look forward to the American Sign Language interpretations. Yes, I happen to know one of the official interpreters for Timpanogos, Dale Boam. He is on the Story Crossroads Board over Translations and Academics and extremely amazing in how he interprets and has guided and taught so many other skilled ASL interpreters.

Timpanogos had to make hard decisions when adapting to virtual.

We had to make hard decisions in regards to interpretations for Story Crossroads. We normally offer ASL, Spanish, as well as Audio Descriptions for the Blind. By adapting to virtual, we decided that the easiest way to still offer interpretations was to do American Sign Language with a split screen while live-streaming.

Since Timpanogos chose the Bizzabo platform, I wondered if the videos–which were pre-recorded–would have a closed captioning option or if they would have some kind of split-screen. I did not expect it for each of the 118 sessions, but I figured that the “evening” ones would have something to still be accessible to the Deaf community. Having more than one language involved does require budgeting, though an important part for any festival or event to budget.

But here’s the trick. Normally you can buy many different tickets or packages for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

The online festival meant they charged $25 for the whole package. You could not buy only the evening concerts. Thus, if you are part of the Deaf community or enjoy having the American Sign Language, you had no other choice but to buy the whole package and not have an $8 or $10 evening concert option.

My impression is that Timpanogos was confused on what to do about American Sign Language.

Even though the sessions were pre-recorded, Timpanogos gave the appearance of live-streaming for the normally-scheduled-evening concerts for the festival weekend known as “My Favorite Stories” (Friday night) and “Laughin’ Night” (Saturday night). These would take place on the largest stage of all at the Ashton Gardens in Lehi, Utah with a grassy amphitheater that could seat several thousands of people. A big screen was behind the storyteller for the audience to see facial expressions and gestures, though mainly to see the storyteller rather than the American Sign Language interpretations. The first couple rows are reserved for anyone needing ASL.

The Virtual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival still had sessions labeled “My Favorite Stories” and “Laughin’ Night.” Strangely, only “Laughin’ Night” had the ASL option. And it was listed twice. So people could choose to NOT have ASL or to have it with ASL. Yet, I don’t see ASL as something to turn on or off like closed captioning. I wished “Laughin’ Night” had one listing that included the ASL. Whether or not someone needs American Sign Language, I love all audience members–my family included–to experience other languages. Yes, you have to split the screen and “give up” some space for the videography aesthetics. Yet, I would gladly have dedicated screen space for American Sign Language. I know this is not the message that Timpanogos was saying by having two sessions of “Laughin’ Night,” but it bothered me so much to dedicate a whole blog post on American Sign Language. On top of this frustration, the one that was “featured” at the top of the screen to watch it “live” was the one WITHOUT ASL. You had to scroll to the bottom of 118 session listings to find the one with ASL…if you even knew to look for it. If you are going to premiere a show, please use the version that has American Sign Language.

When Timpanogos offered the Encore for December/January, as it was basically impossible to watch all 118 sessions during the first chance to view in September, I was anxious to re-watch the American Sign Language of “Laughin’ Night.”

Guess what? The American Sign Language concert was gone! I scrolled through all 118 listings that suddenly were 116 sessions. I double-checked with keywords with “American Sign Language” as well as “ASL” in the search bar. This search bar had helped me before for ASL in September. Now…nothing.

This made me more upset than having two listings of “Laughin’ Night” to separate American Sign Language from the one that did not have it.

Why, when it was already filmed and ready, would you take out the ASL version?

I truly would like to know the decision-making that was happening to remove it completely. Yes, that was one offering of ASL out of 116/118 sessions. That was still a bilingual offering.

So what can be done in the future?

I would recommend either more than one ticketing option or even a specific concert offering with the Deaf community in mind.

Even an unlisted YouTube with closed captioning and no American Sign Language would have been something. Or, that one concert with the ASL and split screen could have been available on a password-protected webpage on the Timpanogos website as an individual ticket and not part of the whole package. I could see the latter idea more likely for Timpanogos as the feeling of prestige is not what one gets through YouTube. Though, the benefit of YouTube is the ease of adding closed captioning.

Oh, please, anyone reading this far, please look at offering American Sign Language interpretations for your events and programming. You can expect having two interpreters for an hour show (to switch out, give breaks) and pay each about $40/hour. That is only $80 and then times that amount for any prep time or the actual length of time needed. Is this really so hard to budget? Then, to film and merge the ASL is affordable, too. Yes, interpreter rates can vary and you can have qualified ASL interpreter students with rates closer to $20/hour…but to at least give you an idea that this is something that any event of any size can do.

Let us aim to expand the accessibility of storytelling.

Coming next, in Part 4, we will talk about how Timpanogos had emcees be part of this virtual experience.

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See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here. Feel free to explore our All Things Story virtual workshop series.

Bilingual Bond – A to Z Blog Challenge

Kazakhstan ladies--Steve EvansVersión en Español se puede encontrar a continuación o haga clic aquí para ir allí. Haga clic en mí para saltar a la parte española.  Come to the free Story Crossroads Festival on April 15-16, 2016 at the Viridian Event Center (8030 S. 1825 W., West Jordan, UT).

This post is part of the A to Z Blog Challenge.  See more at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/.

Languages are beautiful.  When I hear or see another language, I am in awe and want to listen or watch for as long as possible.  I may not know the meaning, but I can sense the feeling intended.

So here is some advice on how to provide translation services as well as how a story artist can individually choose to have bilingual repertoire.


Providing Translation Services

  •  Connect with Local or National Humanities Group

Although Humanities Groups can be leery around performance-centered events, there is a great support for people connecting together with one or more languages.  We received a $1,910 grant from the Utah Humanities specifically for the Spanish and ASL interpretations of the evening concerts.

  • Work with College or University

Universities already have Foreign Language Departments.  Depending on if your event is nonprofit could determine the degree of help and if there are chances for reduced fees.  Often, professors could use performance events for pre-qualified students to use it in the “real” world.  Dale Boam, an official ASL interpreter for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, is also working with the Story Crossroads Festival.  Dale told me, “We can pair a certified interpreter with a student and get quality with a good educational experience.  We have done this with some of the local theaters and it works well.”

  • Discover Assistive Technology Organization

You can rent or reserve assistive technology such as headsets so that Spanish or other languages could be shared at the same time during a performance.  You will still need an interpreter though it is helpful to get the equipment for free or at a reduced price.  Check to see if your local, national, or federal government has an official assistive technology organization.  For the Story Crossroads Festival, we are working with The Utah Center for Assistive Technology and received the augmented listening devices for free due to our  nonprofit status.

Choosing Bilingual Repertoire as Story Artist

  • Learn Language (at least phrases and words)

As a story artist, I have contacted the Brigham Young University Foreign Language Department for help with the pronunciation of some Arabic lines in an Iraqi folktale “The Sparrow’s Wife.”  Not only did I get an email that had it written phonically, but I also received a short audio file I could play over and over to get it right.  I should not have been surprised with this service.  Yes, it was free.  The Brigham Young University Foreign Language Department is one of the most diverse in the world due to many young men and women who return from national and international missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Even without contacting a university, sometimes adding a few constant words like for “boy” or “mother” or other common ones already adds a bilingual flavor to the experience.

  • Create Partnership with Interpreter

Get to know your neighbors and find out if they or someone they know would be interested in working with a performing artist.  This best way is by word of mouth.

  • Share All and Repeat vs. Do Line by Line

Whether you do this by yourself or with an interpreter, some story artists do it in the most common language of the audience (usually English) and then repeat the entire story in another language.  Holly Robison, who will be performing for the 2016 Story Crossroads Festival, tells a marriage story song with birds told in English with enlarged gestures so that when she tells it again in German, people connect the gestures and the memory of the story together.  I also attended the 2004 National Storytelling Conference in Bellingham, Washington and watched as Margaret Read MacDonald stood next to an interpreter and they went line by line like a storytelling wrestling tag team.  Well, minus the wrestling.  Though I watched, mesmerized.


Recommended Books (in order of applicability):

  1.  Tell the World: Storytelling Across Language Barriers, compiled and edited by Margaret Read MacDonald (Published by Libraries Unlimited, 2008)
  2. Building Communities, Not Audiences:  The Future of the Arts in the United States, by Doug Borwick (Published by ArtsEngaged, 2012)
  3. The Courage to Create, by Rollo May (Published by W. W. Norton & Company, 1975)


We are pleased that the Story Crossroads Festival will have Spanish and ASL translation services available during the evening concerts.  We aim to have this available throughout the event, though felt it was important to establish this tradition from the beginning.  We are also exploring Audio Descriptions to help those who are blind.  We wish you well on your individual and community endeavors with developing those bilingual bonds.

We appreciate Steve Evans granting permission to use the picture he took in Kazakhstan.  You can find all of his images here:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/babasteve/.


Aquí lo tiene.

Kazakhstan ladies--Steve Evans
Bond Bilingüe

Las lenguas son hermosas.  Cuando puedo ver u oír otro idioma, estoy asombrado y desea escuchar o ver durante tanto tiempo como sea posible.  No puedo saber el significado, pero puedo sentir la sensación de intención.

Así que aquí hay algunos consejos sobre cómo proveer servicios de traducción, así como una historia artista puede elegir individualmente para tener repertorio bilingüe.


Proporcionar servicios de traducción

  • Conectar con el grupo local o nacional de Humanidades

Aunque las humanidades grupos pueden ser recelosos de eventos centrados en el rendimiento, hay un gran apoyo para las personas que conectan conjuntamente con uno o más idiomas.  Hemos recibido un subsidio de $1.910 el Utah Humanities específicamente para los españoles y ASL interpretaciones de los conciertos por la noche.

  • Trabajar con un college o universidad

Las universidades ya tienen departamentos de lengua extranjera.  Dependiendo de si su caso es una organización sin fines de lucro pueden determinar el grado de ayuda y si hay posibilidades de tarifas reducidas.  A menudo, los profesores podrían utilizar los eventos de rendimiento para pre-estudiantes calificados para utilizarla en el mundo “real”.  Dale Boam, un funcionario ASL intérprete para los Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, también está trabajando con la Story Crossroads Festival.  Dale me dijo, “Podemos emparejar un intérprete certificado con un estudiante y obtener calidad con una buena experiencia educativa. Hemos hecho esto con algunos de los teatros locales y funciona bien”.

  • Descubra la tecnología asistiva Organización

Usted puede alquilar o reservar la tecnología asistiva tales como auriculares, de modo que en español o en otros idiomas podría ser compartida al mismo tiempo durante una actuación.  Usted todavía necesitará un intérprete, aunque es útil para obtener el equipo de forma gratuita o a un precio reducido.  Compruebe para ver si su local, nacional o el gobierno federal tiene una organización de tecnología de asistencia oficial.  Para la Story Crossroads Festival, estamos trabajando con el Center of Utah Assistive Technology y recibido los dispositivos de escucha aumentada para libre debido a nuestro  estatus sin fines de lucro.

Elegir Repertorio bilingüe como artista Historia

  • Aprender el idioma (al menos frases y palabras).

Como una historia artista, me he contactado con el Brigham Young University, Departamento de Lenguas Extranjeras para ayudar con la pronunciación de algunas líneas de árabe en un cuento tradicional iraquí “Sparrow’s esposa.”  No sólo recibí un correo electrónico que había escrito phonically, pero también recibí un breve archivo de audio he podido jugar más y más para obtener el derecho.  Yo no habría sido sorprendido con este servicio.  Sí, era gratuito.  El Brigham Young University, Departamento de Lenguas Extranjeras es una de las más diversas en el mundo debido a que muchos hombres y mujeres jóvenes que regresan de  las misiones nacionales e internacionales de La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días.  Incluso sin entrar en contacto con una universidad, a veces añadiendo unas palabras constantes como por “niño” o “madre” u otros problemas comunes que ya agrega un sabor bilingüe para la experiencia.

  • Crear asociación con intérprete

Conozca a sus vecinos y averiguar si ellos, o alguien que conocen estaría interesada en trabajar con un intérprete.  La mejor manera es por medio de la palabra de la boca.

  • Compartir todos y repetir vs. hacer línea por línea

Si usted hace esto por sí mismo o por medio de un intérprete, algunos artistas hacen historia en el idioma más común de la audiencia (normalmente en inglés) y luego repetir toda la historia en otro idioma.  Holly Robison, que vayan a realizar para el año 2016 Story Crossroads Festival, narra la historia de un matrimonio con aves de canción en inglés dijo con gestos ampliada para que cuando ella dice de nuevo en alemán, las personas se conectan los gestos y la memoria de la historia juntos.  También asistí a la Conferencia de narrativa nacional de 2004 en Bellingham, Washington y observé como Margaret Read MacDonald estaba junto a un intérprete y partieron, línea por línea, como una narración wrestling tag team.  Bueno, menos la lucha.  Aunque he visto, hipnotizados.


Libros recomendados (en orden de aplicabilidad):

  1. Decirle al mundo: contar historias a través de barreras idiomáticas, compilado y editado por Margaret Read MacDonald (Publicado por bibliotecas ilimitado, 2008).
  2. La construcción de comunidades, no el público: El futuro de las artes en Estados Unidos, por Doug Borwick (Publicado por ArtsEngaged, 2012)
  3. La valentía de crear, por rollo de mayo (Publicado por W. W. Norton & Company, 1975)


Nos complace que la Story Crossroads Festival tendrá español y ASL traducciones disponibles durante los conciertos nocturnos.  Tenemos el objetivo de tener esta disponible durante el evento, a pesar de que consideró que era importante establecer esta tradición desde el principio.  También estamos explorando las descripciones de audio para ayudar a aquellos que están ciegos.  Le deseamos éxito en sus empeños individuales y comunitarias con el desarrollo de esos bonos bilingüe.

Agradecemos Steve Evans conceder el permiso para utilizar la foto tomada en Kazakhstan. Usted puede encontrar todas las imágenes aquí: https://www.flickr.com/photos/babasteve/.