Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rambling About That Crazy World of the Sign Language Interpreter

I'm always a bit hesitant to talk about the work I do.  It has to do with the confidentiality issue and the right of privacy for Deaf Individuals.   But the photos that you will see posted in this blog are all places that I have been in the last months.  Of course there are many more.  And I would never be able to post the individuals in a blog such as this.

But my thought is to depict the variety of places that the Sign Language Interpreter may frequent over the months and years.
I experience variety.   It is the change, the unknown that interest me and keeps me from burn out.   It is the constant learning that keeps me young and growing. 
The places the interpreter frequents:
Schools: all the way from toddlers to University campuses.
Legal Settings....Courts:  from traffic court to jury trials, from municipal to county to federal settings.  And of course Lawyer offices.
Jails, Federal prisons, drunk tanks, or beside the road or in the home calls for policemen to file reports.
Businesses:  from industrial to hi-rise and blue collar to executive.

Performing Arts:  in the school setting all the way to Broadway productions.
Medical settings:   Lots and lots of doctors offices and laboratories, the emergency room to the surgery suite.
Social Services, Department of Human Services,
Housing Authorities, Department of Rehabilitation
Mental Health Settings:  Detox, Drug rehab,
Mental institutions, counseling, lock up
There are funerals, weddings, church settings, staff meetings.
There are calls for the interpreter to serve in the job hiring process, the job training process, the job firing event.
Interpreters deliver good news
bad news, sad news  frightening news.
Yet every job is equally important.   It is a rewarding service that we preform.
It is an important duty.
And I love the work I do.
Over the years, there are some things that]
I choose no longer to do.
I have burned out on educational interpreting.
I will do it as a sub but not ongoing daily jobs.
I have given up performing arts and loud music.
I just can not understand what they  are saying
and have lost the magic and thrill it once held.

And there are new avenues that I have recently taken on.  such as the video relay interpreting.  It
consist of sitting in a call center and interpreting call after call after call of indivudals all over the USA and even other countries.     It holds a fascination and variety but sitting in a cubicle can get tedious.

My first love was always interpreting the Word of God.  However I don't have too many of those jobs right now.

And I always love the labor and delivery room.  But there are so many new, young interpreters coming up who also enjoy the thrill of that setting that I don't
get called for it as much now days.

And Ken made the decision to retire me from the late night "on call" emergency jobs.  Now that I no  longer do emergency middle of night jobs, I see that it was time to leave those to younger interpreters as well.

There are hazards in the interpreting field to consider.
Fatigue (for me it is more mental than physical.)
Wearing out the body in the neck, shoulders, arms and wrists.
Now I battle that ugly arthritis.   I tell it I refuse to have it but it fights me.    What a thorn!

And then there is the driving.  I love those long drives to other towns where I am paid portal to portal and the driving time is my personal time with God.

Can't ask for better than that.

But this driving around the city with every area under
construction can truely be a pain.
The Call Center work eliminates that hassel.
But I still love and perfer the community work.

Interpreters go to a lot of places, into many different worlds. Jobs can be fun or tedious or tiring.  Jobs can be uplifting, rewarding, or they can tear your soul to pieces.  And while we work, our own personal emotions, beliefs and values are expected to be set on the shelf until the job is over. We learn a lot of information as we work and the learning process never stops.  There are days when the interpreter knows they are right on track...doing a great job.  There are other assignments when I personally feel it is time to give it up.

One of the most recent UNUSUAL jobs of the day was at the call center.  I interpreted for a dog and his master.    The communication took place through an animal communicator so "I became the dog"  answering all the things that his master wanted to know about how he was feeling and what his thought were.  Lucky for me, I did not sign in 'bark' language but ASL.    Oh well, the world of interpreting is varied and offers constant interest.
My have times changed.  Cell phones, GPS to help us find the way.
And it is a real blessing to have so many skilled interpreters today.   Many of them trained in our Community Colleges. 

And I end with I LOVE THE WORK I DO!  THANK GOD FOR ALLOWING ME TO WORK.  I am thankful for the strength and knowledge to serve HIM.    May I ever follow his command in that whatsoever my hands find to do that I will do it heartedly as unto the LORD.

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