Interpreters only need to know two things:
- Sign Language; and,
- Everything Else.
Interpreters only need to know two things:
Need a Wingnut Spanner? Ask the interpreter. Chances are they have one in their bag.
Will only a Left-Handed Wingnut Spanner do? Hold on for a minute, that’s in their car.
I recently heard from a few readers that they were unfamiliar with my early Rules because they jumped in later and it was just so much work to scroll all the way back to the beginning of the Blog.
I’ve got to figure out a way to make searching the Blog easier.
Project for this summer. Maybe when I finish the book or any of the other thousand projects I have in front of me.
It will happen. The question as always is when it will happen? I am pretty sure I’m not the only one who understands that feeling.
Annnd back to the point.
I have started with Rule 1 and just posted them in order, like a “throwback-a-day” calendar.
I had forgotten that not all my Rules were posted without some controversy (I will confess I never expected so many people were so deeply invested in saying “irregardless.” Supposably it HAS been accepted as an actual word, but it’s my suspection that most people still agree with me. Grin)
Recently my throwback a day arrived at Rule 15
The point of this Rule is that when we begin casually chatting after appointments we risk forgetting the reason we are there and that the CPC is still in full force, that it doesn’t matter if the appointment is over, we are still there as Interpreters (read the amazing work of Robert Lee on Role-Space, it will change your life forever). Many of the hardest conversations I’ve had with Interpreters facing ethics complaints start with, “ok, you need to understand, the appointment was OVER…”
I am not saying that you should break eye-contact with the client and run out of the door the moment the appointment is done. As more than one reader stated, talking after an appointment was a great way to network and it shows clients we’re not just there for the money- but are actually invested in them.
The practical upshot of all these reader comments was, “if I am a conscientious observer of the Code of Professional Conduct I can have a post appointment conversation and be fine.”
Which is true.
Well, true to a point.
Absolutely have a cordial and friendly conversation with the client as you pack it up and say goodbye. What the Rule is saying is that chatting about personal things or sharing stories is best done at Deaf activities and social events, not on the back of your work role.
This kind of familiarity breeds a level of comfort that may not fit the role you are occupying at that moment. Getting that comfortable can lead to lapses in your attention as to where you are and why you are there. Again, when counseling Interpreters before ethics inquiries I often hear, “I thought [the client] understood we were just talking and I wasn’t interpreting anymore,” or “[the client] is the one who started asking me questions….”
As with all the Rules, Rule 15 is an oversimplification of a generalized truth. The true story behind the Rule is a cautionary tale of an interpreter becoming too comfortable with a regular client and the profession line getting fuzzy. The result blew the interpreter’s career, family and life apart.
But I can’t tell you that story.
So, I’ll tell this one.
It is based on a story from the Bible.
Don’t stop reading! I’ve used analogies like this before. As always, the religious text is just the structure upon which I am hanging the story, not the point of the story (not preaching… the story just works to make my point). And usually, whether or not you are in anyway religious, most people are at least familiar with the story, so the context is accessible.
This one comes from the story of David and Bathsheba.
The first time I asked my father if I could take the car and drive my friends to a party on a Saturday night he told me I could, if I could answer one question. He asked me, “what was “David’s first sin?”
David? Like in the Bible?
I thought for a second and I told him it was lust.
He asked, “why do you think that? Show me.”
So, I opened a Bible and read Second Samuel 11 verse 2:
“And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon”
My Dad smiled and said, “that is the result of his first sin, but not the primary sin itself. Read the first verse. Everyone skips to the second verse without paying attention to the first verse.”
Ok, I will admit I was intrigued. So I read Second Samuel 11 verse 1:
“And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.” (Emphasis added)
My father said, “David’s first sin was forgetting the responsibilities that came with who he was, forgetting what he was supposed to be doing and ending up hanging around in a place he knew he was not supposed to be. David was the king and was supposed to be leading his armies. But, he stayed home. He knew wasn’t supposed to be there but he thought, ‘maybe just this once, it’ll be ok just this once’ and the result destroyed his life and shook his kingdom to the core.”
My Father look me in the eyes and said, “David saw Bathsheba and lusted because he stayed too long in a place he was not needed and so he was in a place he should not have been.” Then my father drove the point home. “Most of the real problems we have in life start because we forget who we are and end up hanging around in a place we know we are not supposed to be.”
I got the point. He let me take the car.
Rule 15 is about paying attention to Role-Space. Remember who you are. Remember why you are there. And if your role as an interpreter is no longer needed where you are, Go Home.
At the end of each appointment take a moment to ask the really important question.
“Did you notice, was I wearing a coat when I came in?”
The client will be late? Need to pass the time? Ask if they have a lost and found, then just start describing random things and see if you are psychic.
We have to accept that we can try and try to help someone make their life better, but we can never overcome that person’s compulsion to make their life worse.
If you do mainly freelance or educational interpreting during the school year and freelance in the summer or VRS and have an Etsy store or…
You should really consider sitting down with a financial planner and a CPA.
It costs money.
Its also worth it. Specifically with all the changes in the tax code that are dropping on folks like like an apartment would if revisions in the building codes happen the same way the Trump tax cuts did (the very wealth would be fine. The rest of us would get crushed).
The amount you can save usually more than makes up for the up-front costs.
But you have to remember finding the right CPA or financial planner is like finding the right counselor or doctor or lawyer.
You have to play the field. One date is not a relationship.
If you have a CPA and you don’t feel they are working hard enough in your best interest then break-up and find someone new. See other people and don’t settle for less than you deserve.
When you find the one you really like, the one that works for you, then swipe right.
Famous last words:
1. (Legal Interpreting) “Can I borrow the interpreter for just a quick second…”
2. (Freelance Interpreting) “When you’re finished can you run quick to another appointment? It’s not far and shouldn’t take long…”
3. (VRS Interpreting) Welcome to the Social Security Administration… (well, the last words you’ll hear this shift anyway.)