How Sign Language Interpreters Survive a Professional Shakedown

You’re traveling along, like you do on any given day when suddenly you feel the muzzle of a gun pressed against the back of your head and hear, “give me your high rate of pay, all your premium workplace perks, and don’t forget your abounding opportunity.” It’s a sign language interpreter shakedown. What do you

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Sign Language Interpreters and the Karma of Gratitude

Unemployment, wage reductions, and scant opportunity are just a few things that can describe the last year for sign language interpreters. I believe it easy, given the industry turmoil, for interpreters to stumble into the trappings of ingratitude. Who could blame us, it’s been rough out there. Calling On Karma While the industry has been

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Sidewalk Executive - Sign Language Interpreter

A Sign Language Interpreter is a Sidewalk-Executive?

The sign language interpreting marketplace is peppered with interpreting companies big and small; some are uber successful and others not so much. Let’s be honest, they are telling a similar story and selling nearly the same thing—whether it is Community or Video Relay services. So, what makes one successful and another fizzle? The answer is

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The Goo

The Goo at the Center of a Sign Language Interpreter

If a sign language interpreter could reach inside and scoop out the goo that makes them who they are, a mixture of artistic judgment, emotional labor, and organic creativity would drip from their fingers.  This genuine house blend is the very essence of who they are and why they’ve chosen to do what they do.

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Why Not a Sign Language Interpreter Bill of Rights?

If you haven’t seen it, you soon will.  Due to economic pressures, businesses and individuals hiring interpreters are challenging (and attempting to redefine) our rates, standard practices, and national credentials. In my view, if we handle these challenges poorly we will be putting the foundation of our industry at risk. So, what do we do? 

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It’s Ugly, Uncomfortable and Can Damage Your Reputation

You know the drill… Smile. Make eye contact. Offer a reinforcing head nod. Appear confident and interested. As interpreters, we work hard to internalize the behaviors that help us appear approachable. This is a necessary and required skill in order to accommodate the myriad of personalities we encounter on the job.  Though it hasn’t been

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Your Co-Interpreter Has Fallen and Can’t Get Up

While interpreting a short pro bono assignment over the weekend, I found myself working with an emerging interpreter.  As the meeting progressed—discussions grew more intense and participants became more interactive—I noted that both her confidence and effectiveness as an interpreter began to unravel. I was as supportive of this young interpreter as the environment would

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Should the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Sue?

Is there any merit to the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) litigating to advance the rights of sign language interpreters to reasonable working conditions and employment practices, and laws that defend their eligibility to work? Clearly, litigating has both a financial and a political cost and these costs should not be underestimated. As

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