Spectacular Secrets from Story Crossroads Spectacular – Part 4 of 5

This is the fourth of five parts on tech skills needed to transform the live 5th Annual Story Crossroads Festival into a virtual one called Story Crossroads Spectacular.

Secrets to be Revealed:

  • Part 1 – OBS…Software Worth the Struggle – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Sound and Lighting – REVEALED
  • Part 3 – Trial & Error – Test Runs – REVEALED
  • Part 4 – Involving More Than One Language – TODAY
  • Part 5 – Multi-Streaming and “Scenes”

With so many languages in the world, why would we limit ourselves to only one at a festival? When I attended the largest family history conference in the world, there was a woman who spoke with me about storytelling. She had her Spanish interpreter. I admitted to the woman that I was surprised that this conference did not budget any kind of interpretation services. She vigorously nodded her head.

I was re-committed that having more than one language was and is always part of the Story Crossroads mission. We state this in our by-laws as well.

Since the inaugural Story Crossroads Festival, we have always had Spanish and American Sign Language. By the third year, we added Audio Descriptions for the Blind. We have more plans to add languages with Chinese being the most likely one as there are over 8,800 people in Salt Lake County who speak it. We will some day own translation devices/headsets as part of the Story Crossroads inventory. In the meantime, we have received these as in-kind donations every year…until this year of 2020.

Arranging interpretation services is simple for a live event. What of a virtual one?

That big day came when the Story Crossroads Board decided to transform the live festival to a virtual one. My head swirled with the intense workload with less than a month and a half (closer to one month) to find answers. Normally, we have a year to plan each festival. Sometimes longer.

From watching live-streaming of the National Storytelling Festival and the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, I saw a small rectangle for American Sign Language. Live-streaming is more involved than a pure live performance. Then adding a screen? That meant “tech power.”

However, I wanted a split screen instead of a small rectangle. Depending on the device, the rectangle could be too small for anyone needing ASL. Sterling Elliott, head videographer, created the split screen that matched the look of Story Crossroads Spectacular. It was an “image” that could be added into OBS. Remember we delved a little into OBS with part one of this series?

We dedicated two cameras to the story artist(s) and one camera solely for the American Sign Language. We had two big rugs (normal ones to put near a door/entryway) to cover the cords so that the American Sign Language interpreters would not trip when trading and giving each other breaks.

What was harder than working out live-stream and ASL? Zoom and ASL! At least, it was harder because Story Crossroads pays for a Zoom Pro Account and not the Zoom Webinar package. We had the two 90-minute virtual workshops on Zoom as exclusive events with a sliding scale fee. We could live-stream AND multi-stream out from Zoom, but we did not do this for Spectacular. We will for our June 20th event with “The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities.”

If we were with the Webinar package (expensive, close to $1,500+/year compared to our $112/year plan), then we could assign a presenter/interpreter. With the Zoom Pro, we are allowed up to 100 people at a time. We felt safe in having that for the workshops. A paid account, no matter what level, still offers much more than the limited free version of Zoom.

Despite interpretation services/features not part of the Zoom Pro default settings, you can request without extra cost for the Webinar/interpretation services. BUT, Zoom is majorly backlogged–understandably–and it will be a while before that happens for us. We simply did not have enough time to pursue it.

Here is what I wrote to Zoom:

When reading the Zoom overview on interpretation services, it said to send you a message here to enable this feature. We are registered with Zoom through storycrossroads@gmail.com. Let us know if you need anything else. You can also call/text me at (801) 870-5799.

I sent that request over a month before the Story Crossroads Spectacular. I get automated messages every week reminding of my case number. They apologized for the delay. I am not mad. I love Zoom and am quite loyal.

I have experienced other virtual conferencing and nothing is as user-friendly or has enough features like Zoom. Google wants to compete? Neh. I love their Google Docs and other features, but they are too far behind to catch up to Zoom. And Facebook with rooms? Neh. Cisco Webex? Nightmare. And if someone complains about security with Zoom because of Zoombombers? If you don’t share passwords on social media, then most of the time it will not be a problem. The host can enable features such as the waiting room. Admit into Zoom who you expect. Zoom has been amazing at fixing any issues. Zoom had to build a plane in flight, and they have flown above and beyond what was ever imagined.

We had two options:

  1. Encourage people to “pin” the video of the American Sign Language interpreters. See our Zoom Basics 5-minute video to understand how this works.
  2. Have a breakout room for those needing American Sign Language, but then you don’t see the presenter.

The first option was much easier.

AND, be sure that your American Sign Language interpreters, when possible, can sign from the same place. Even if not in your own home or venue, we had the signing from one of the interpreter’s homes and the second interpreter met her there. They kept proper distancing and made things so much smoother logistically.

Be sure that this one ASL box/screen in Zoom is renamed as “ASL Interpreters.” When someone clicks “Participants” on the lower bar in Zoom, these names tend to list alphabetically and allows for people to find the interpreters faster to pin the video. “Pinning” is what individual attendees can do and does not affect how the other attendees see the Zoom screen. Once pinned, you can even make that person’s box/screen larger by dragging at the lower left corner of that same box/screen.

We had wished to still offer Spanish. It would have been back and forth with the speaker of English to the interpreter of Spanish. The flow would not have been as smooth virtually as what you can do live. Possible, yes. They would both need to be unmuted, which the host/co-host could oversee. Though, with this being our first virtual kick-off—and a big one at that—we wanted to ease on some of the complexity.

Instead of a person interpreting, much like we do for American Sign Language, we considered Spanish closed captioning. You then pay for a third party person to type those closed captioning in the moment. It can cost per minute. Automatic English closed captioning is possible, but it is about 30 seconds behind. That gets frustrating for anyone needing it.

Obviously, any spoken or sign language can work through virtual means. Never even thought about it? Well, now is the time.

Plenty of adventures await me–and you–on these spectacular secrets.

Big thank you to the following:

Want to discover more secrets beyond this 5-part Blog Series? Rachel Hedman will represent Story Crossroads at the National Storytelling Network’s CONNECTED Virtual Storytelling Conference & Festival on Saturday, June 6, 2020 from 3:00pm-4:30pm CDT (2:00pm-3:30pm MDT). You can register for this session only or a conference package.

Check out the the next adventure on Saturday, June 20, 2020 from 9:00am-10:30am MDT from your computer- The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities.

See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

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/.