Saturday, June 20

Stickin' it out...

Differentiating from your typical ASL-English interpreter, not only I am a Deaf interpreter but I am also a Deaf consumer. I team with hearing interpreters one day and they are interpreting my doctor's appointment next day. How could they look in my eyes and confide me as their peer interpreter when all they see is a Deaf consumer? This conundrum has been disrupting my world lately.
Don't you see?

Because I have spent almost a lifetime as a consumer of sign language interpreting services, I understand more about how to empower the consumers in an interpreting situation.
What does “interpreter experience” mean? This baffles me-- is it asking me about my experience as an ASL-English interpreter or generally my experience with ASL-English interpreter? Damn you, connotation!
The more I think about it, I realize that my twenty years of interpreting experiences is hard to beat when a large population of ASL-English interpreters usually have at least two years of ITP under their belt... so my interpreter experience is going to take several pages to type out!
Don't you see?
But don't you see,
don't you see,
Every ethic discussed so far in the graduate program, I have a flashback of an interpreting situation-- usually bad, and use it as my prototype-- how do I avoid that situation from occurring, and how do I, as a Deaf team interpreter, resolve the situation? I use the good interpreting situations as my goal as an Deaf interpreter-- how do I make sure it will happen for the Deaf and hearing consumers when I work as an interpreter?
Nobody has just a goal-- if you think about it, everybody has two goals-- a goal to become something and another goal to avoid something else. Setting the bar, that is what we are doing with our two goals. The high bar to reach for and the low bar to avoid tripping over...

Don't you see?
Every ethic has at least one personal story behind for me.
For all 7 tenets in RID's code of professional conduct, I can give you seven, fourteen, twenty-one anecdotes to serve as learning experiences-- hell, let's call it all an interpreter experience. With those anecdotes, I learn all strategies and approaches--which all go into that “filing cabinet” in my head so when I find myself in a very, very familiar situation, I can just pull that drawer out and flip through my folders to get that flashcard/flashback because I have been through all interpreting situations, even ones you read in your interpreting textbooks...
But don't you see,
Don't you see,
I know what it is like-- I have walked more than a mile in Deaf consumers' shoes-- and I want you to acknowledge it-- and look in my eyes and trust me as YOUR team interpreter.
Don't you see?
I am your team interpreter... with a lot of interpreter experiences to share.

Working as an interpreter with them knowing me as a Deaf consumer been difficult for me as I attempt to change the hearing interpreters' perceptive of me-- I am no longer a consumer, but now I am one of them... regardless they like it or not. Something in their eyes tell me that they are not taking me serious. Something in their eyes... All I know that they do use me. They only ask me for feedback on their ASL interpretation. Nothing else... no quid pro quo.
I am just an ASL tutor to them...
I am YOUR team interpreter. Yes I am Deaf, but dammit, I know way more and you should consider me as your interpreter colleague! Embrace the diversity... and you will learn much more in this field.
Don't you see...?

It is not only the hearing interpreters. But it is my own people-- the Deaf consumers. They smirk, “Interpreter? How is it possible? You are DEAF.” “Why are you wasting your time with a master's degree in interpretation? They are not even requiring Deaf interpreters to have a BA degree!”
Oh, please don't tell me... et tu? Don't give me your grimace face as I utter “Deaf Interpreter”
Don't you see?
Oh, but don't you see?

Roll with the punches, stick it out.
Keep telling myself that
It will pan out in the end...
Way back in my head, I wonder
When that end will come?
When you will look at me,
and see a Team Interpreter.

Don't you see?

(C)2009, KMG.L


Anonymous said...

Very interesting perspective, Gnarly -- I do see it. Would be good if the ITPs also read this post.

Anonymous said...

I'll be your team interpreter any day!!!