Performer, Presenter, Writer, Advocate, CODA, Interpreter

Windell “Wink” Smith Jr


Wink, NIC Master, enjoys researching and creating various workshops that focus on skill building through deliberate practice (RID Views, Winter 2012). Presenting workshops the last five years at national conferences (NAD, RID, Silent Weekend) regional conferences (RID I, II, III, IV), state conferences, and local workshops across the nation has given Wink experiences to enhance applications for interpreters of all levels. Wink is widely noted for the comfortable atmosphere he creates and the passion he exudes. Currently Wink travels full time performing, presenting workshops, and managing Winkshop, Inc, through which he has developed a dozen training DVDs. A fun fact: in 2013 alone, Wink’s professional travels covered enough miles to circle the Earth over three times.

Professional Career

Having Deaf parents brought Wink access to countless other members of the Deaf community including

Deaf leaders and interpreters, as well as resources that taught him all of the requirements to become an

interpreter... Or so he thought.

Wink began his quest to become a sign language interpreter at a very young age. He became a certified interpreter at the tender age of 17. He achieved the highest state level awarded and started working with the local interpreter agency in Oklahoma City, (Sign Language Resource Services SLRS, Inc). There he met his lifelong mentor and owner of SLRS, Stephanie Nichols. His first few steps were to learn as much as he could from all of his peers. Wink has since achieved his NIC Master certificate from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). He has a fondness of legal Interpreting and he aspires to achieve his Specialize Certificate Legal from RID.

Wink believes that everyone in the interpreting field can contribute his or her viewpoint and words of wisdom to help promote an understanding of both the interpreting profession and the Deaf culture and further enhance professionalism in this field.He  aspires to network and attend every interpreter/Deaf event possible in order to increase his knowledge of the interpreting profession and the Deaf community.

Wink’s father instilled into him a love and respect for the Deaf Community. Because of this love and respect, Wink seeks to always put them first and serve them, not oppress or control them. and within his global community he found his interest and passions were shared.

Wink has always been fond of teaching. He loves the field of interpreting and Advocacy for the Deaf and enjoys sharing his experiences and findings with anyone willing to listen. This passion for teaching has lead him to develop workshops and speaking engagements to further peoples’ interest and knowledge of this profession, and most of all, the beautiful members that comprise the Deaf community.

Wink provides one-on-one mentoring for interpreters, training them to be effective and knowledgeable in the cultural norms of the Deaf Community. In these mentoring sessions, Wink incorporates his experiences growing up as a CODA. These mentoring sessions focus on different types of needs such as skill development, ethical decision making, Deaf culture awareness, and ASL story telling. Wink enjoys meeting with others and tries to help them achieve their “Pah!” moment (In English, they call it an “AHA” moment) that leads them to an understanding of interpreting into ASL with respects to the Deaf community.


Wink grew up seeing his Deaf parents needing sign language interpreters as provided within the Americans with Disability Act, Section 504 of the Rehab Act and various state laws. However, frustration seemed to hit at every corner when his parents were denied one. His advocacy for his parents spurred his professional career as a full time advocate for Deaf rights, pursuing equal access according to the aforementioned laws. However, Wink does not focus solely on legal matters, but he seeks to also bridge the gap by educating the hearing world about the Deaf community. Wink has given ADA workshops and presentations for numerous agencies nationwide. To learn more about this workshop please go to the “Winkshops” page under “ADA, an ASL Guide.”

From early childhood Wink watched his father and mother recount their life story countless times. He got to see firsthand ASL storytelling, living the experiences and feeling the jolt from the twist and turns, even if it was the hundredth time he had seen the story. Seeing and feeling these ASL stories lead Wink to create a live show in order to share his parents’ beautiful story along with the twist and turns he beheld growing up in a Deaf home. Audiences get a taste of various emotions: laughter, joy, sadness, hurt, frustration and uplifting moments. The conglomeration will leave the audience with courage, interest, and hopefully can put not only their lives in perspective, but also adjust the audience’s perspective of the Deaf Community and CODAs. For more information, (including how to book a show) please click on the “Show” link.


Windell “Wink" Smith Jr
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