The local Bay Area ABC News “I-Team” (investigative team) ran this news story on Brian Malzkuhn and Michael Johnson, two men — both college teachers who are deaf! — who ripped off deaf people in the process of being ripped off themselves by Nigerian scam artists. These men asked their deaf friends and colleagues for “emergency business loans” so they could come up with the money that the rapacious Nigerian scam artists were demanding in ever-increasing amounts.
I am incensed to read this! This is a prime example of the sort of abuse that led me to decide a couple of weeks ago not to interpret any kind of VRS call — or live interpreted event — that I believe is a scam.
I think the ideology that
it is not up to interpreters to decide what is good for their clients is potentially damaging, especially in the realm of VRS. This belief in “transparency” (which I actually saw signed as “no skin off my back” or “I’m not responsible” in discussions about TRS CA‘s in the ’90s), along with the “mandate for equal telecommunications access” by the FCC, leads interpreters to feel that they are compelled to interpret any kind of call that comes in, regardless of content. Do you know what it feels like to interpret a call that you know is a scam? It is demoralizing to say the least.
I think it is high time that interpreters started standing up for what they know is right and “reserve the right to refuse service” to scam artists!
And deaf people, if you agree with this, please make your feelings known to the FCC.