Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You're either IN or you're OUT!

Being an interpreter makes you a part of a language community. Make that...being an interpreter "should" make you a part of a language community, since my previous statement assumes that you use the language in social situations as well as business.

Using ASL simply as a source of income is, in my opinion, an abuse of a privilege and is,in essence, exploiting a language community.

It is a privilege to be invited into the deaf community and to be trusted enough to be present in situations that impact their income, their health, their business, their families and their very personal issues.

Being a part of the ASL community doesn't mean that you "love" all deaf people, participate in the "long goodbye," or tell everyone where you are going when you get up from the table. It means that you understand that the language belongs to the people who use it as their primary means of communication, it means that you value and respect the language users and strive to have as fluent abilities and as complete an understanding of that language as possible.

In my experience, those interpreters and students who are not part of the language community, often plateau early and rarely develop skills that are valued or sought after by deaf people.

So, are you IN or are you OUT?