Rule 52

I take pride in clear and effective interpretation, not in myself. If I am messing up don’t bother whispering in my ear, just take the microphone from me, fix the issue and keep going until I am ready to take it back. I will not be offended, I will be grateful.

(I give this speech to interpreters with whom I am working for the first time. The trick is, if you say it, you have to mean it.)

Rule 51

When a hearing person says “if you will not volunteer to interpret, you will leave this client without an interpreter,” the proper answer is:

No. You will.

I’m not refusing to interpret. I am ready, willing and able to interpret, but you are not willing to hire me.

The moment you are ready to pay for my services, I will provide them.

Rule 50

Interpreters! Go for gold medal work, always! But, realize that somedays your best effort earns a silver or a bronze; and accept there will be days when, if you are lucky, your sweat and tears earn a medal ranking somewhere between chewing gum foil and dental amalgam.

Rule 47

When working from ASL to Spoken “Hearing” for a Deaf performer remember: 90% of the audience is Deaf, 9% are interpreters, interpreting students, or hearing spouses and parents who sign and won’t really need your services, almost the entire remaining 1% are ASL students or parents who kinda sign-all thrilled to see ASL and hear any interpretation. Your actual audience are the handful of Sign-Impaired people dragged here by their ASL/interpreting student dates, and they just want this over so they can get to dinner or the making-out part of the evening.

No sweaty palms needed.