I was “the interpreter” who offered to coordinate interpreters for WordCamp Phoenix 2011. I wish I could remain silent, but the blog post I’m responding to has been viewed almost 900 times already and has already been sanctioned by a famous deaf blogger who I believe would think otherwise if he read my side of the story. So, before anyone else is misled, allow me to set the record straight.
I first spoke with Amanda, the conference organizer, on Thursday afternoon, January 14, and offered to interpret and coordinate. She told me the budget was $2,000 for a four–track conference which would need a maximum of eight interpreters. I figured I could get four professional interpreters to earn $50 an hour, get four students to volunteer their services pro bono, and that would still leave $400, half of which might go toward compensating me for coordinating services, and half of which might go toward gift cards for students.
That same night, I found out that Amanda had un–registered a deaf registrant because she didn’t like her attitude. I advocated for the ousted registrant, emailing Amanda, “Deaf people routinely face discrimination and have to fight for their rights. In light of this, I find the registrant’s demands assertive rather than aggressive.” I even followed this up another day and asked Amanda if she would please consider reinstating her. Amanda was immovable.
I should mention that the first deaf registrant had approached me around Thanksgiving about interpreting for WordCamp. I had said I would be interested and asked him to send me more information, but the holidays came and went before I saw an announcement from Amanda on the Arizona RID Yahoo Group. I knew how important it was for this deaf person to attend WordCamp, so I decided to provide for him even though I was not happy with Amanda’s handling of the other deaf registrant.
By the end of the week, I had offers from two other professionals and at least four other students. At this point, all I needed was one more professional if (and that’s a big “if”) there were deaf attendees in all four tracks on Saturday. Continue reading