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Blog Articles in Category: Interpreter Tips

Your Interpreter Committee

Your Interpreter Committee

Interpreter Tips   |  Sunday, March 17, 2019

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear BC" interpreter questions.

All of us have heard “little voices” in our head. There may be a voice when you do something you shouldn’t, when you receive praise or when you’re trying to stay motivated. It could be the voice of a parent, a coach, a teacher, a friend, or anyone.

This chorus of voices is sometimes referred to as “The Committee” by interpreters.  It represents our minds talking to us while we’re working, playing and living life. Think about what you hear when you’re interpreting. Is your Committee nice? Are they supportive? Do any Committee members have a louder voice than the rest? Below are examples of possible Committee members:

  • Mr Worry
  • Ms Confident
  • Ms Positive
  • Mr Wet Blanket
  • Debbie Downer
  • The Lifeguard
  • The Cheerleader
  • The Saucy One
  • The Judge
  • The Critiquer
  • The Exaggerator
  • The Discourager
  • The Analyst
  • The Chairperson
  • The Optimist
  • The Compromiser
  • The Perfectionist
  • The Critic

Do you need to silence or fire someone? Do you need to add someone to your Committee?

Who is on your committee? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about BC  |  Articles by BC

Interpreter Q & A: Using Your Phone During a Break

Interpreter Q & A: Using Your Phone During a Break

Interpreter Tips   |  Tuesday, February 26, 2019

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear BC" interpreter questions.

This article is part of our "Dear BC, Interpreter Q & A” series, which answers questions on interpreting and Deaf culture from multiple perspectives.

Dear BC,

During a lull in a staff meeting where I was interpreting, I used my phone to enter some appointments into my calendar (and check my grocery list). Afterwards, my team interpreter told me that she thought doing that was rude and unprofessional. Do you agree?

Sincerely,
Just Multitasking

An Experienced Interpreter's Perspective:

I think each situation is different but I am taking a "lull during a staff meeting" to mean that no interpreting needed to occur. In that case, I think it would be okay to check your phone. It is a good idea to always check with your interpreting partner and your client beforehand. During breaks, I often use that time to discuss how we think things are going and any ideas for the rest of the meeting. We need to be prepared to interpret during breaks as well. This would prevent resentments or misunderstandings like this from surfacing later.

Experienced Deaf Consumer's Perspective:

If by "lull" you mean checking your phone while your partner is interpreting, then yes, it is rude – you should be working. But, if by "lull" you mean "break" and that everyone is out of the room or standing around talking, then no, generally that’s not a problem. I understand when interpreters need to use the phone or check messages during breaks (I do, too). However, if I needed to speak to the “big boss” during the break, and I saw you checking your grocery list, it would make me feel uncomfortable because this is still work time for me. In the future, I suggest checking with your client and partner before doing personal things on work time.

What's your take on checking your phone during a break? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
 

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about BC  |  Articles by BC

Interpreter Q & A: What are our boundaries as interpreters to say something to a Deaf client about their right to request a qualified interpreter?

Interpreter Tips   |  Wednesday, February 20, 2019

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear BC" interpreter questions.

This article is part of our "Dear BC, Interpreter Q & A” series, which answers questions on interpreting and Deaf culture from multiple perspectives.

This article was also published in the Fall 2018 (Issue 35 Volume 4) Edition of VIEWS Magazine from RID. VIEWS is a digital publication distributed quarterly by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and dedicated to the interpreting profession. The magazine includes RID member spotlights, announcements from the RID board, and engaging stories about issues impacting the interpreting community. See this article (on page 28) and more in the Fall 2018 Edition of VIEWS Magazine from RID.

Dear BC,

During a doctor’s appointment I interpreted, the doctor referred the Deaf patient to physical therapy. When we were leaving the office, the Deaf client asked me about my availability to interpret her upcoming physical therapy appointments. I told the Deaf woman my schedule and she said, “Oh well, that’s fine, if you can’t come, my daughter will come and interpret.” Her daughter is a young girl who can sign, but she is not an interpreter. The daughter has no training or certification.

What are our boundaries as interpreters to say something to a Deaf client about their right to request a qualified interpreter? I don’t want to look like I’m just trying to make money. My concern is also that her doctors will begin to think that they don’t need to hire interpreters for her because she can just bring her daughter for free.

Sincerely,
Concerned Interpreter 

The video features a full interpretation of what is discussed in this article.

An Experienced Interpreter's Perspective:

If the patient prefers a relative, that is their choice. At the same time, doctors need to be educated about the hazards of using family members to interpret. Liability issues should compel them to want to avoid lawsuits.

An Experienced Deaf Consumer's Perspective:

The NAD has a position paper on this topic. It explains the cons of using family members to interpret. This is an on-going dilemma, especially in rural and remote areas where there are few interpreters. It is unfair to put the burden to interpret on family members, regardless if they are qualified/certified.

What's your perspective? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about BC  |  Articles by BC

Interpreter Q & A: Will Technology and Cochlear Implants Make Interpreters Become Obsolete

Interpreter Q & A: Will Technology and Cochlear Implants Make Interpreters Become Obsolete

Interpreter Tips   |  Sunday, February 3, 2019

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear BC" interpreter questions.

Dear BC,

I am currently in an interpreter training program, but I’m starting to have doubts about the viability of my choice of careers. My concern is twofold. I’ve heard several experts say that interpreters will one day be replaced by technology! I also am aware that cochlear implants are a big deal for parents with young deaf children, so I’m wondering if maybe interpreters will become obsolete. What do you think?

Sincerely,
Having Second Thoughts

An Experienced Interpreter's Perspective:

I too have concerns about all the technological advances we see continuing to creep into our lives. It seems like I’m always reading or hearing about new gizmos and inventions that sound pretty unbelievable and the unknown can seem scary and daunting. In fact, I just read an article about children and adults who received cochlear implants and interpreters are still very much in demand to augment what they still can’t hear or when they are in group settings.

Admittedly, technology usually intimidates me, but technology is only as good as those who are trained to use it. While these advances may invariably lighten our burdens, my sense is that Deaf people are still going to want a real live person rendering the message to them. The subtleties of facial expressions, non-manual markers and the brain’s ability to sift through the morass of our language to come up with the kernel, the concept, the essence of what a speaker is saying just can’t be done by a computer.

I may sound naïve here because I know that technological improvements and discoveries are going to happen despite any protests or fear. I’d like to think, though, that these new innovations will ultimately be positive in ameliorating situations for deaf and hard of hearing people. We are human, after all, and communication replicated artificially is prone to misunderstandings. It cannot compare to the connection or the very human bond that is possible in person with a real live person. Perhaps we need to reframe our apprehensions and instead look at technology as something that will hopefully make our jobs easier, better, more efficient and complement our craft.

Experienced Deaf Consumer's Perspective:

After reading your letter, I understand how you might be concerned about the viability of your future career choice. However, speaking as a Certified Deaf Interpreter, I feel more than ever that we (the Deaf community) will need ASL interpreters in schools, jobs, and theaters, various performances, judicial settings, medical visits, etc. for many more years to come. As to your concerns about the prominence of technology eradicating the need for interpreters, you need to realize that not all Deaf children will benefit from these advances. For example, children with profound or severe hearing losses will receive little to no advantage if they undergo cochlear implant surgery. Years ago, I considered getting a cochlear implant but my doctor advised against it because of the severe nerve damage to my ear. I strongly believe that ASL interpreters will be needed for many more Deaf generations to come. I cannot and will not depend on technology to “cure” my deafness – that is impossible. Deafness is caused by a variety of factors, so finding a cure-all using technology is highly improbably. While it is true that the future is not “set in stone,” I cannot imagine a world where ASL interpreters or the profession of interpreting will become obsolete.

What's your perspective? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
 

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about BC  |  Articles by BC

Interpreter Q & A: Is it ok to eat at a work event once my assignment ends?

Interpreter Tips   |  Friday, November 16, 2018

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear BC" interpreter questions.

This article is part of our "Dear BC, Interpreter Q & A” series, which answers questions on interpreting and Deaf culture from multiple perspectives.

This article was also published in the Summer 2018 (Issue 35 Volume 3) Edition of VIEWS Magazine from RID. VIEWS is a digital publication distributed quarterly by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and dedicated to the interpreting profession. The magazine includes RID member spotlights, announcements from the RID board, and engaging stories about issues impacting the interpreting community. See this article (on page 26) and more in the Summer 2018 Edition of VIEWS Magazine from RID.

Dear BC,

I was asked to interpret for an art department showcase. Food was served during the presentations. After it was over there was an announcement that there was tons of food left and for everyone to "eat up!" My client encouraged me to get some food. My interpreting duties were finished, but I still felt strange about it. I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate?

Sincerely,
Hungry Observer

The video features a full interpretation of what is discussed in this article.

An Experienced Interpreter's Perspective:

As long as the assignment is truly over I think the interpreter can partake of the food.

An Experienced Deaf Consumer's Perspective:

I think the interpreter should politely decline offers of food. You are not a member of the organization hosting the event.

What's your perspective? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

View/Add Comments (2 comments)

About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about BC  |  Articles by BC

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