Oya Ataman

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Since 2000 I freelance as a Sign Language Interpreter. Since 2020 I am a part-time employee at handgold. I live in Berlin and work all over Germany and Europe, in Turkey, the USA and online.

Contact: oya@posteo.de  

See me work in Videos and Action Shots.  

Short Bio: Oya Ataman is a multilingual Sign-Language interpreter, scholar, and activist based in Berlin and New York. Her papers on Coda identity, Coda autobiography, and Third Culture kids have appeared in Hearing, Mother-Father Deaf, ed. Michele Bishop and Sherry Hicks (Gallaudet UP, 2009) and the German Sign Language journal Das Zeichen, as well as in conference proceedings in Turkey and Germany. She trains her colleagues and aspiring interpreters in interpreting in general, remote interpreting,  intercultural communication and interpreting for migrants and refugees. As nationally certified interpreter working among German Sign Language (DGS), International Sign, ASL, German, English and Turkish her many academic specialties include quantum physics, whose DGS terminology she co-developed. A former board member of the Bavarian, and current board member of the Berlin Sign Language Interpreters Association, she holds an MA from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtät, Munich.

Profile: Certified interpreting and sign-to-voice transliteration between German Sign Language (DGS). Other working languages are International Sign, ASL, English, Turkish.   Settings in Community Interpreting include: Business Administration, Law, Medicine, Social Services, Mental Health, Foreign-Language Deaf Persons (esp. Immigrants).

Settings in Educational/University Interpreting include: STEM Subjects, Law, Business, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Digital Print and Design, Medicine, Education.

Settings in Conference Interpreting include: STEM Subjects, Cultural Studies, Linguistics, Medicine, Quantum Physics, Mathematics, Education, Holocaust Studies, World Federation of the Deaf

Other settings: Online Interpreting, Television, Music and Performance Interpreting.


2000-present  Freelance multi-lingual sign-language interpreter based in Berlin and New York, settings listed above.


2020-2022 „Trauma-sensitive interpreting“, regularly repeating 3-hour workshop for interpreters together with Berliner Initiative 

2020-2021 “Remote Interpreting”, regularly repeating 2-hour online-training for interpreters.

June 30th and July 1st, 2018: “Remote Interpreting”, 2-day workshop at Verbavoice Munich.

Summer Semester 2018: Lectureship at Sign Language Interpreting Department of the Humboldt University Berlin “Aspects of Intercultural Communication”

March 10th, 2018: 1-day seminar on basic skills for interpreting in refugee-hearings for the Berliner Initiative co-taught with Stephanie Hopp and Julia Stöber, participants are spoken language lay interpreters with various working languages.

Sept 7th, 2017: 1-day workshop “Introduction into Intercultural Communication” for the Berliner Initiative co-taught with Dr. Margarethe Mehdorn and Hsiu-Ling Chi-Schnöring.

July 14th, 2017: 1-day workshop “Sign Art in Translation” co-taught with Christian Peters at HU, Sign Language Interpreting Department of the Humboldt University Berlin in collaboration with the Deaf-hearing poetry translation project Handverlesen.

July 13th, 2017: 1-day workshop “Introduction into Intercultural Communication” for the Berliner Initiative co-taught with Dr. Margarethe Mehdorn and Hsiu-Ling Chi-Schnöring.

June 24th and 25th, 2017: “Remote Interpreting”, 2-day workshop at Verbavoice Munich.

Summer Semester 2017: Lectureship at Sign Language Interpreting Department of the Humboldt University Berlin “Aspects of Intercultural Communication”

Summer Semester 2017: Lectureshipat Sign Language Interpreting Department of the Humboldt University Berlin “Special Interpreting Settings: Performative Texts”

May 5th and 6th, 2017 “Interpreting Enactment” 2-day workshop in Berlin via BGBB e. V., Third of three modules “Interpreting for Migrants” in collaboration with Ege Karar

Feb 11th and 12th, 2017 “Intercultural Skills for Interpreters” 2-day workshop in Berlin via BGBB e. V. First of three modules “Interpreting for Migrants”

Oct 22nd and 23rd, 2016 “Remote Interpreting”, 2-day workshop at Verbavoice Munich.

Winter Semester 2016/17 Lectureship at the University of Applied Sciences FHM in Munich “Integrationsmanager: Intercultural Communication and Second Language Acquisition” co-taught with Viara Richter

July 1st – 3rd, 2016. “Interpreting for Deaf Refugees”. EFSLI Summer School Kosovo, co-taught with Ege Karar

March 19th and 20th, 2016 “Interpreting for Deaf Migrants and Refugees”, 2-day workshop together with Ege Karar in Berlin, BBB e. V.

May 14th and 15th, 2016. “Remote Interpreting”, 2-day workshop at Verbavoice Munich.

Lectureship  “Discovering Interpreting Settings” with Gudrun Hillert at Humboldt-University Berlin WS 15/16,

July 20th, 2015 “Interpreting for Deaf Migrants: Challenges and Strategies. The Example of Deaf Turks in Germany.” Workshop, together with Okan Kubus, Ege Karar and Hatice Yildirim-Dähne. WASLI (World Association of Sign Language Interpreters), Istanbul.

May 24th and 25th, 2014. “Remote Interpreting”, 2-day workshop at Verbavoice Munich.

July 26th and 27th 2013. “Remote Interpreting”, 2-day workshop at Verbavoice Munich.

April 22nd-26th, 2013. One-week Intensive Intercultural ASL Class for German Signers co-taught with Roni Lepore

2002-2003 Basic English teacher for Deaf adult education (SALO&Partner).


2003-present Editor of theses and academic papers by Deaf university students in English and German.

2002  Ulla Haselstein, Berndt Ostendorf, Peter Schneck. Iconographies of Power. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 2003.


2017 – present Mentoring spoken language lay interpreters working in refugee hearings (Berliner Initiative)

2003 – present Mentoring both, aspiring and working Deaf academics regarding presentations, participation at national and international conferences and written publications.

2003-2008 Supervisor of Sign Language Interpreter trainees from Schools of Applied Sciences in Magdeburg and Zwickau, and the University of Hamburg.


2021 Trauma-informed Leadership Course I 4-month online training with Thomas Hübl

2020 Principles of Collective Trauma Healing 4-month online training with Thomas Hübl

2003-2010   Doctoral Studies at John F. Kennedy Institute of American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin.

2003-2006 National Certification as Sign Language Interpreter (German State Exam for Sign Language Interpreters at the Gehoerlosen Institut Bayern, Nuremberg, 2006).

2002 M. A., in American Literature, Art History and Anthropology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtät, Munich, focus on cultural studies and translation.

2000 Bavarian Certification for Sign Language Interpreting.

1992-94 Institute for Foreign Languages of the City of Munich, Certified Foreign Language Correspondent in Business English and French.


2017 “Deaf and hearing interpreters with and without experience with Deaf refugees.” “It’s all Greek to me”. Versatility in the Sign Language Interpreting Profession. Proceedings of the 23rd EFSLI conference, Athens, Greece 09-11 Sept 2016.

October, 2017 Story „Mama“ in In More Words: First International Anthology of Interpreters’ Stories edited and published by Mothertongue.org.

2009  “Virgilian Guides: Esthetic Subjects in Coda Autobiographies.” In: Hearing, Mother-Father Deaf: Hearing People in Deaf Families. Michele Bishop and Sherry Hicks (Ed). Gallaudet University Press, 244-260.

March 2008  Wir sind alle Bi-Bi. Wie stellt sich unsere Profession zur Ethnizitätsdebatte?” Das Zeichen 78, March 2008, Hamburg Signum Verlag (138 -143). Translated into Turkish as „Hepimiz Iki-ikiyiz“ by Tan Bodur, June 2013 and published in my Coda+ blog.

2005 Translation Collaboration with Gary Sullivan, Everyone Has a Mouth: Poems by Ernst Herbeck. New York: Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012


August 1st, 2015  “Growing Up in the Deaf Community: Coda, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Childhoods as a Third Culture Kid Experience.” WFD (Worlf Federation of the Deaf) Istanbul.

March 2014  “Power and the E-terp. Ways out of a dilemma.” Co-authored with Mark Zaurov.  2014 International Symposium on Signed Language Interpretation and Translation Research at Gallaudet University, March 29th, 2014.

July 2013 ”Codas and 3rd Culture Kids”, Bildungskongress des ÖLGB in Wien.

July 2006  “Coda Autobiographies,” IABA (International Auto/Biography Association,  University of Mainz).

June 2005 “Coda (Children of Deaf Adults) Identity,” Identity and Culture, Third Cultural Studies Conference (Group for Cultural Studies Turkey/Koc Universtiy, Istanbul).

April 2001 “John Tanner’s Captivating Gifts,” American Indian Workshop, Bordeaux.

June 2000 “Talayeswa alias Trickster alias Jesus: Leo Simmons and Don Talayeswa’s Sun Chief: The Autobiography of a Hopi Indian, ” ASNEL/GNEL  Annual Conference 2000, Aachen/Liège.

1999 Exhibition text and design for Christine Wawra’s photographs Tanz der Xilonen,  Amerika Haus Munich.

Honorary Work

Oct 2016 – present Berliner Initiative.

Oct 2016 – present  Arbeitsgemeinschaft Allergiekrankes Kind
Hilfen für Kinder mit Asthma, Ekzem oder Heuschnupfen (AAK) e.V.
Gemeinnütziger Verein, Berlin representative

Jan 2014 – Jan 2017 Professional Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Berlin and Brandenburg BGBB e. V. , board member.

2007 – 2009 Alumni Association of the Amerika Institut,,  LMU München, board member

2001 – 2008 Professional Association for Bavarian Sign Language Interpreters, BGSD-Bayern e. V., board member and president.

Professional Memberships

2015 – present SIETAR (Society for Intercultural Training and Research)

2014 – present Professional Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Berlin and Brandenburg BGBB e. V.

2012 – present CODA International (Children Of Deaf Adults)

2011 – 2014 RID Associate (Registry for Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc., U. S. Sign Language Interpreters’ Association)

2004 – present BDÜ Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer (German Translator and Interpreter Association)

2002 – present CODA d.a.ch (German speaking Children of Deaf Adults Network).

2001 – present BGSD-Bayern e. V.,Professional Association for Bavarian Sign Language Interpreters (board member 2001-2008, president)

2001 – present Alumni Association of the Amerika Institut,  LMU München (board member 2007-2009)

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