In May 2020, The Odyssey Filming Project premiered on YouTube. This ten-part video series features the first American Sign Language (ASL) translation of Homer's The Odyssey, interpreted by St. Mary's University alumna Leigh Ann Cowan, who earned her MA in English literature and language in 2020. Cowan's ASL adaptation draws upon the 2017 translation by Emily Wilson, professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the first female scholar to translate the classic into English.
"Literature has had such an impact on my life. Students with hearing difficulties do not always have the ASL keys to works of history such as The Odyssey and Beowulf. I want to create more literature interpretation projects to raise awareness for a wide audience, not just the Deaf and hard of hearing," said Cowan in a recent article in the Hot Springs Village Voice.
The completed translation and film project—which has accrued over 1,800 views to date—is fully accessible, offering ASL for Deaf viewers; voiceover for low vision and blind viewers; captions for non-signing or international-signing hard of hearing, D/deaf, and non-native English speakers; and transcripts generated from captions for screen readers. You can read more about The Odyssey Filming Project in St. Mary's University's online magazine and watch the full series on YouTube.
This program was made possible in part by a Humanities Texas grant.