Yes…. I care!
Being an interpreter is an odd job. Many get into the carer through deaf family or friends. Not me though. I was drawn to the language. The beautiful and mesmerising intricacy of British Sign Language. Is that why I studied for 8 years at university? no… not the only reason.
Like many other interpreters, I am not just about the language or just about my family and friends. I have core drivers and deep longings that have kept me in a demanding career. This is what I want to express. Sign language interpreters are more than just their job.
Our codes of practice prevent us from showing our caring side. We have to be impartial yet the very reason we stick at this career is the absolute opposite of impartial!
We care about discrimination, we care about the little guy / gal, we care about children who are deprived of language, we care about poor health and we care about lack of opportunities for the people we work with every day.
It’s not even about them being deaf…. it’s about injustice!
This is what drives me. Watching injustice happen to people everyday and not being able to do anything about it. I can communicate that the injustice is happening or has happened. I can even privately air my grievance with a client who shares my views.
But what does that really do?
Nothing… we just finish our job, go home, maybe complain to a friend or partner, then start the whole cycle again!
Well… I have decided to make a change. No more hiding behind the rules of interpreting. No more swallowing my feelings, ignoring the obvious and giving in to the powerlessness of my situation.
I want to do something that will actually make a difference. I know I can’t do this in my role as interpreter. But guess what? I am more than just my job!
I know there is a certain expectation that interpreters are interpreters 24 hours a day. That we are expected to keep quiet, not be noticed and maintain that all important professional distance.
Well guess what… I am NOT an interpreter 24 hours a day. That is just my job. The rest of the time I am free to be me. The passionate, caring and determined person I have always been. The wife, The mother. The business woman. Me.
I know I can’t change the world overnight; but I am willing to try. I may annoy a few people along the way and I may make some important allies. That is the way of life and I am grabbing it with both hands.
Don’t worry, you will still see me interpreting and translating, after all, it is my first love. But beware…. when the interpreting is done, I will be wearing a different hat. I can no longer be impartial to injustice, impartial to discrimination or impartial to lack of opportunity.
I fully intend to do something about it.
Watch this space!