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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Woman with finger on lips

The Three Temptations of a Sign Language Interpreter

The dynamics of working as a sign language interpreter are complex and require that a person be comfortable operating in the unknown with limited information. As a result of navigating these complexities, we are accustom to owning the decisions—or choosing not to own them—that influence the value and outcome of our work. Unfortunately, with this

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Sign Language Interpreting—An Industry Past Feeling?

It is often said that the anonymity of living in a big city and the effort to avoid feeling imposed on by the crush of humanity, makes people hard and unfeeling. After all, it’s only in the big city that a person can be attacked 3 times in a 30 minute period—as 38 witnesses look

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What Characteristics Should the New RID Executive Director Have?

The removal of longtime Executive Director, Clay Nettles, on the eve of the 2011 RID National conference came as quite a surprise.  See the official information release here.  A change in leadership at the top of any organization has many considerations.  It is my hope that—in the end—both RID and Clay can find a mutually

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