Effective Sign Language Interpreters
Updated on April 6, 2015
There is no doubt that there is something fascinating about sign language interpreting. As Hurricane Sandy raged in 2012, Americans were captivated by the sign language interpreter for the New York City mayor during his press conferences. The interpreter, Lydia Callis, was all over the media for some time and was even spoofed by TV programs such as “Saturday Night Live” and “Chelsea Lately.” She was praised for her accurate interpreting by deaf people and fellow professionals.
An example of sign language interpreting
At Nelson Mandela’s funeral in November, 2013, a sign language interpreter gave the media weeks of fodder. Deaf organizations condemned the interpreter, saying his signing was inadequate. The media had a jolly time reporting that he was schizophrenic and digging up his past for other juicy tidbits.
Deaf advocates and interpreters used the media firestorm to educate the public about the need for qualified sign language interpreters. In spite of more exposure to the deaf community on TV and this kind of publicity, the public does not know much about this challenging profession.
Here are some insights in the characteristics of effective sign language interpreters. Please note that I am deliberately ambiguous or have slightly changed details to protect the privacy of those involved in some cases.