A few minutes in the life of a sign language interpreter

It’s Friday Fancies!  Let’s have a good laugh and a mash-up of awesomeness.

Here’s a glimpse into the life of a sign language interpreter.  Now, I have yet to experience this personally, but stories abound from my colleagues, so it’s fair to say I might find myself in the following situation.  My answers, though, won’t be quite so blunt.  😉

This is funny, but sad because this has happened somewhere—many somewheres actually.  Once you’re on the “inside,” you can laugh about it, but those on the “outside” who have probably never met a Deaf person before are genuinely perplexed.  Some of their questions seem perfectly reasonable to them.  It’s important to spread awareness.

How much do you know about Deaf culture?  Did you know there is one?  I’m not an expert, though I am pretty familiar with the community since I studied and work in it.  I’ll try to answer any questions people have.  We’ll never be able to break down stereotypes if we don’t actively search for the truth.

Mash-up of Awesomeness:

The benefits of book piracy” by Katy Hulme–Or rather, Neil Gaiman on Katy’s blog.  🙂

Dr. Twuth–Bots Make Me Bonkers” by Kristen Lamb–Twitter etiquette and how to not drive yourself crazy on it.

Tarot: Elements” by Raelyn Barclay–Fascinating research of the elements according to Tarot.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday–Castle” by Amber West–If you’re not watching Castle, you need to be, and Amber will tell you all about its awesomeness.

The Backbone of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’” by Lyn Midnight–Lyn takes a look at the elements that made Buffy the Vampire Slayer the phenomenon and beloved show it was.

My Mom–My Bestie” by Elena Aitken–A lovely post about how her mom is one of her best friends.

Also, for the rest of September, everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing to win a free e-book copy of Elemental Magic when it releases.  Five winners will be selected.

Aileen Donovan wants nothing more than recognition as an elemental scientist by her supernatural community.  What better way to do that than to solve a mystery involving a power-hungry alchemist, hallucinogenic coral, and a homicidal sea dragon?  The hardest part will be working with Coast Guard officer Colin Benson—until the tides turn, and Aileen realizes that love and duty may not have to be mutually exclusive.

17 comments on “A few minutes in the life of a sign language interpreter

  1. Katy says:

    Ha ha! That’s awesome! It’s also slightly sad that Deaf culture can be so misunderstood.
    It would be ‘interesting’, however, if that sign sequence was actually how you say hello…especially the robot part. Lol
    Ooo! And thanks for having me in the mash up! Yay! 🙂

  2. Stacy Green says:

    LOL. Funny but sad. Like anything that’s outside of “normal” culture, it’s misunderstood. I truly hope sign language interpreters don’t have to jump through quite so many hoops.

    • Stacy, it depends. In urban areas with a larger population of Deaf people, there’s more awareness. You wouldn’t believe some of the horror stories from more rural areas, though.

  3. Cheryel Hutton says:

    Ah, so you’re a person i can talk to even when my voice dies, or there’s noise in the room.( I have a paralyzed vocal cord, and the dang thing doesn’t work right all the time.) I love Sign. It’s freeing for me, not that I’m actually fluent in ASL, but I know enough to do basic communication.

    Interesting blog!

    • Hey Cheryel! Sign language is so amazing and useful in so many situations. I can relate to wanting someone to depend on! There have been a couple times where I was so sick I couldn’t talk. It would have been nice if my mom knew ASL so she could translate for my doctor.

  4. Hartford says:

    I have little experience with the deaf community. It’s sad to think though that even those without any experience would have such ignorant questions but I know they exist. Sad. Keep up your great work creating awareness! woot woot!

  5. Sad but true. I’ve had quite a bit of contact with both deaf and blind people, and a number of other handicaps. While I’ve forgotten most of the sign I knew the majority of deaf people I encounter are master lip readers and we communicate just fine.

    Thanks for the shout out 🙂

    • Hey Raelyn, Deaf people being master lip readers is not as common as some might think. Statistics show that even the most skilled lip readers only get about 75%. That’s great you’ve been able to communicate easily.

      And you’re welcome! 🙂

  6. I know almost nothing about the deaf culture but can only imagine a conversation like that being true! As you said, it’s funny because it’s true!

    Thanks for raising MY awareness!

  7. Marcia says:

    What a great topic for a post! What’s sad about that video is that I’ve met peole just as clueless. My late husband owned a restaurant and some of his regular customers were deaf. He learned some sign language so he could hold a conversation with them, with I thought was admirable. I bought a sign language book whne my kids were young and helped them learn a little. I played games with them as if they were deaf and we could only communicate with sign. They loved it and when they met someone who was deaf, they knew how to behave. It didn’t seem so strange to them, as it would if they had never been exposed to the idea that some people’s bodies don’t work exactly the same as ours. I applaud you for spreading awareness, Angela!

    • Katy says:

      I have to say, if more people were as proactive like this with their children as you are Marcia, the world would be a better place. What a fantastic idea to get them interested and involved at a young age! Well done.

    • I agree with Katy, Marcia, that is awesome that you did that with your kids. And kids pick up language so easily at a young age. 🙂

  8. linda says:

    I took a Literature and Disabilities course in college, and learned a bit about Deaf culture through the class. I recently read a great YA contemporary with a deaf protagonist: Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. (Ok, I admit the main reason I was super excited about that book is because there’s an Asian-American love interest! :P) Love the diversity in that book. 🙂

  9. Marcia’s idea is a good one and there are some excellent books for beginning to teach very young (as in before the age of one!) some basic signs. Here’s a link to a popular one.
    I didn’t believe it until I saw it myself. When these little ones were toddlers they could communicate basic requests or expressions (more/all done/I love you/ to list just a few) in signs long before they could verbalize them. Later their speech and reading skills developed earlier too. Add to that an awareness of the deaf culture, it’s a win/win for everyone!

    • Hey Patricia, yep, studies show that kids who learn sign can communicate much earlier than their speech develops, and it improves language acquisition later. The tragic thing is that experts tell parents to teach their hearing children baby sign for that reason, but tell parents with Deaf children that signing will hurt their English acquisition.

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