We’re committed to investing in interpreters.
My Raison d'Être
A raison d’être is a “reason for being” – it’s the driving force behind why someone does what they do.
For me, being an interpreter presents a marvelous opportunity to connect people through language so that they can engage in the rich conversations that define our lives. When deaf and hearing people come together, interpreters must have sharp linguistic skills and be adept arbiters of conversation. An interpreter’s presence should always be facilitative, rather than distracting.
My job is to ensure that interpreters have the tools they need to be facilitative – location or connection information, prep documents, attendee bios, etc. – in short, supporting interpreters in the ways I would want to be supported.
Work samples are the best way for anyone to get to know your work product. Just as an architect would show off renderings of recent projects, interpreters should have recent samples of their skills. I suggest interpreters have at least one prompt in each language direction of approximately 5 minutes.
Recording Your Work
Modern smartphones are perfect for producing sample videos. For work into English, just set your phone to record video and point the camera at the video of the signer, speaking clearly in the direction of the phone so that it records your voice. For work into ASL, find a video you like of someone speaking in English and play it in the background while you point your phone’s camera to you.
Here are some prompts that I feel are indicative of the type of upper-register work that my clients engage in. Feel free to watch a few minutes of a prompt to get a feel for the language, then start interpreting.
- Black ASL by Joseph Hill
Linguistic terminology, quasi-academic.
- Considerations in legal interpreting with Gino Gouby, Carla Mathers, and LeWana Clark
Legal terminology, interpreting decision-making.
- “Deaf People: Tell Me More” featuring Claudia Gordon
Disability rights, personal stories.
- “The Science of ASL Storytelling” by Melissa Malzkuhn
Translation of science, new technologies.
- Senator Harkin Delivers Floor Speech in American Sign Language Upon Passage of the ADA
Disability rights, American policy.
- AI Fairness and Bias with Lydia X. Z. Brown
New technologies, disability justice.
- European Union Speech Repository
A collection of real-life and mock speeches specifically for interpreters.